Gary’s October 22, 2012 Update

Golf season winding down in these parts around Greater Boston, but still some beautiful days to be had, like today.  Enjoy them while you can. But, more to the point, a few observations:

  • The Patriots rank as one of the biggest disappointments in the NFL after seven games — no offense in the fourth quarters, putrid secondary. Need I say more? I’m convinced head coach Bill Belichick has lost his touch. Horrendous draft choices in recent years in the secondary and his sidekick, Josh McDaniels, can’t figure out how to make the offense properly productive when the heat is on. It appears Tom Brady is on the downside of his career, which is no surprise at the age of 35.
  • Golf Digest magazine’s Jerry Tarde was right on the mark with his list of the “top 10 candidates for having the best year in golf,” 2012, led by Condi Rice, who was accepted as a member at Cypress and Augusta National. Locally, hopefully we can add Salem Country Club’s membership to the list if the USGA accepts their invitation to host the 2017 U.S. Senior Open before New Year’s Day.
  • Visited Highland Links in Truro, Mass., for the first time recently. A wonderfully quirky nine-hole course (opened in 1892) hard by the Atlantic Ocean that’s a “must play” when I return to Harwichport in 2013.
  • Poignantl tributes held recently to mark the passing of Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky. The Boston Globe ran a photo of Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez attending one of those farewells, but the caption left out the other chap pictured — none other than local (Peabody, Mass.) hero John Tudor, who pitched well for the Hose but took his game to another level firing away for the Cardinals and the Dodgers.
  • Congrats to old boss Bill Kipouras, who will be inducted into the Massachusetts Hockey Hall of Fame on November 14. No sportswriter of our time loves the game, at all levels, more than “Kipper,” another Peabody product.
  • The game of golf will thrive with remarkable destinations like Bandon Dunes, Hawaii and the British Isles/Ireland, but it may continue losing players if it does not bring its prices down on equipment. Four hundred bucks for a driver?? Two hundred and change for a putter? Heaven help us.
  • Brandel Chamblee continues his rise as a prominent voice in the game both in print and on television. He wrote a terrific article in the October issue of Golf magazine comparing Tiger Woods’s achievements to Jack Nicklaus’s. Interesting… both last names end in “s.” Anyway, Chamblee makes several valid points while making the case that Jack’s playing record is superior to Tiger’s, including the argument that Jack faced far better competition in his competitive years. Amen to that.
  • National Hockey League players are dumb, but the owners are dumber. Haven’t we been down this “lock-out” road  recently? How can both sides be so dumb? Bottoml ine: the owners can’t be saved from themselves. Idiots.
  • Congrats to David Lane for winning the NEPGA Massachusetts Chapter championship at Vesper with an even par 72; and to Renaissance’s Kirk Hanefeld for finishing T-8 at the 24th Southworth Senior PGA Professional National Championship in Virginia, the same event the former Salem CC golf director won a year ago. His T-8 shopwing earns him a berth in next year;s Senior PGA Championship at Bellerive outside St. Louis.
  • Andover-bred Rob Oppenheim needs to win this weeks Championsip, or finish in the top five, to finish in the top 25 money list and earn his PGA Tour card for 2013. After a terrific first half of the year, the Indian Ridge favorite has stumbled the second half and stands with $124,000. The player in 25th place has $168,000. So newly-wed Rob needs a great week to avoid dealing with Q-School the next couple months.
  • Lost a special man recently with the passing of former Boston Bruin and long-time club professional Bill Ezinicki. “Ezzie” lived in Danvers, on Lindall Hill, next to the former Hunt Memorial Hospital, for a few years while serving as the first professional at Topsfield/Ferncroft Country Club, starting in 1969. Peter Dalton, later a golf equipment/apparel salesman par excellence, was his assistant. Bill moved to The International in Bolton in 1974 and served as head pro through 1996. He was a terrific competitor on the ice and the fairways. He won two NEPGA titles and three NEPGA Senior championships. He played deliberately, spoke in a slow cadence that you never forgot, dressed like his idol, Ben Hogan, and made every acquaintance feel like a new friend. He will be missed.
  • It came as no surprise to me, nor to any of the millions of others who have been a patient at Massachusetts General Hospital over the last quarter century, when “The General” earned the No. 1 ranking, slightly ahead of Johns Hopkins Hospital, in U.S. News and World Report’s  annual “Best Hospitals” issue for 2012. You only need to have one complete patient experience at MGH to understand why it has been among the highest rated hospital in America — and the world — for many years. Bravo to all at MGH, epsecially to my docs: Richard Bringhurst, David Rattner, Patrick Ellinor, Erica Riley and Denna Nguyen. We are blessed beyond words to have such remarkable medical institutions in Greater Boston, including Brigham and Women’s (No. 8 on the magazine list this year) and Beth Israel Deaconness. IF MGH could only improve upon its unedible food.
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