Playing By the Rules - December 2011

Holiday Edition

Playing by the Rules (Issue #28)
This month would normally feature the holiday Rules quiz ……. well, lucky for you I have something more important I want to share with you this year.
I became a part of the New England Section in 1973, thanks to George Wemyss who helped me get my first job in golf. Around that time, George was also encouraging someone else to get more involved with the NEPGA.
Someone, who back then, I did not know, but someone who would become one of my most valued and trusted friends, John Miller.
Over the last 17 years if you have played in almost any of the Championships that I have been responsible for administering, whether you know it or not you have been under the watchful eyes of John Miller. There is no better feeling than having someone you work with who cares as much as you do, and takes the time and effort to make sure things are done correctly. I have been lucky enough to have that person working with me and it has allowed me to do my job better.
However, recognizing John for what he has done to help me over the last 17 years only tells a small portion of the story. Going back to the days when I was getting my start, George Wemyss was already using John’s knowledge of the publishing and advertising industry. You see John’s real job was working for Arnold Advertising and turning out all those Titleist win ads you would see on Mondays in all the newspapers and later in the week in Sports Illustrated, Golf World and Golf Week following all the major Championships. If you have been around as long as I have, you will remember the yearly New England PGA Yearbook/Directory that we used to receive every spring. That was John’s labor of love, and hours and hours of work, for him and his wife Jane, proofreader extraordinaire.
It was John’s tireless work and attention to detail on the yearbook that lead George to ask if he would like to be involved with the NEPGA tournament staff. George encouraged John to learn the Rules and get involved by helping out at events and within a couple of years, he was working as a Rules Official at NEPGA events along side Buddy Young and Jack Bates.
When I first started helping out at NEPGA events in 1993 I was able to get to know John better and when I was hired on a full-time basis in 1995 as the NEPGA Tournament Director I already knew who I wanted to try and get more involved, John.
Luckily, for me, he could arrange his schedule at Arnold and by using vacation days come out and help at many of our events. I hate to think how many days we have spent together, somewhere in New England, spraying paint and pounding stakes, then grabbing some dinner, before heading back to wherever we were staying, hoping we could get the Red Sox game on the TV that night. You get to know people pretty well when you spend as much time together as we have and I can honestly say John is as good as it gets. Best of all, what you see, is what you get, to put it bluntly, no BS. That quality is very refreshing in an age where so many people say one thing to your face and something different as soon as you leave. I appreciate honesty and loyalty and I knew John always had my back.
John told me at the end of this season that he felt it was time to step away, the long days and long drives to and from events were becoming too much. I totally understand, the days get longer for me every year and I have a twenty-year advantage on John.
Thinking about next season, without John there to help me is not a comfortable feeling. I have already made him promise he will work a couple of our major events in a lesser role and lucky for us he has said he will.      
I am proud to say that many years ago our Executive Committee was wise enough to make John an Honorary Member of the NEPGA, not many people have done or cared more about this Section than he has over the last forty plus years, we all owe him a huge Thank You.
If you are lucky enough to be participating at one of the Championships that John is working next year, take the opportunity to say Thanks, he deserves it. 
I am going to say it now, Thank You John; I could not have done it without you!
To all of you, my Best Wishes for a Happy Holiday season for you and your families.
See you next month,