Monday, June 18, 2007

Sorry I wasn't there

I see from reading Don Treat's golf column today that the Herdegen (Ulster County Men's Amateur golf championship tournament) named the Freeman's late sports editor Charlie Tiano as the first inductee into its new Hall of Fame. Also named yesterday at Wiltwyck Golf Club were the Freeman itself (for its sponsorship and coverage) and Bob Casavant (Charlie's successor as tournament director).

Charlie invented the Herdegen and ran it year-round like the proverbial top. His goal was to make the Herdegen a true test of golf -- 72 holes of medal play, 18 each at four different courses, with strict entry requirements and iron-fisted decision making. He succeeded. When it came to the Herdegen, Charlie didn't suffer fools gladly. This was serious business. And it's why the event long has been among the best amateur sporting competitions of its kind here and anywhere.

It was Charlie who hired me as a sportswriter in 1970. I learned the ropes from the guy. His mentoring served me well while he was still working, as well as after he retired, first when I succeeded him as sports editor, then as I moved into my other positions at the Freeman.

I didn't know Charlie and the Freeman were going to be honored yesterday until I read Don's column this morning. I feel like I should be have been there. In fact, I played golf at Wiltwyck Sunday morning -- if you can call it golf the way I play. I even ran into Dean Palen, the current tournament director, who thanked me for the newspaper's sponsorship, but never mentioned the post-tournament ceremonies.

I go to a number of functions in the region, some with less enthusiasm than others. This was one I truly regret missing.
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