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WEST NEWTON, Massachusetts – Every year, the Massachusetts Amateur Championship features more than 25 Volunteers assisting with tournament operations.
Leading this year’s Rules Officials as the Officials in Charge are brothers George Pendergast and David ‘Hector’ Pendergast, as both officials are in charge of the men and women who assist the players when they have questions or run into tricky scenarios with The Rules.
George, the Head Golf Coach at Tufts University and a Past President of Mass Golf, said the duties of an Official in Charge have significantly changed over time.
“OICs in 2021 are not what it was 20 or 30 years ago where we had to do all the work,” George said. “[Mass Golf’s Director of Rules and Competition] Kevin Eldridge and the staff prepare the course so well and do everything else so well that we just show up and act as OICs. We just show up the day of the event, and our job is to assign the officials and make sure the job is getting done on an officiating basis out on the field.”
Steven Yatrousis, Mass Golf’s Championship Coordinator, commended the brothers on their resumes to oversee the event. “George and Hector are two of our most dedicated officials in the greater Boston area and Massachusetts,” said Yatrousis, who also oversees the Volunteer program for Mass Golf.
“George is a member of The Country Club and knows a lot of people in this area and does a good job of managing the volunteers and adjusting on the fly, changing assignments and keeping everybody happy,” Yatrousis added. “Hector, same thing, he does what’s asked of him.”
George has a wealth of experience when it comes to officiating. He estimated that he’s been a Rules Official for at least 30 years, but likely closer to 40. In that time he has also served on Executive Committees for the 1988 U.S. Open and the 1999 Ryder Cup.
In addition to those experiences and serving as a Rules Official for numerous USGA events, George also recruited his own brother to join the ranks of rules officials. Hector has been a Rules Official for close to 15 years and it came at the suggestion of his brother.
“It was getting to the end of my career as an investment advisor, and I was looking for something to do,” Hector said. “He talked me into it. I liked it a lot. Right off the bat, I went to Rules School down at the USGA headquarters.”
George’s suggestion to his brother about being a Rules Official helped him stay involved with golf in a much more enjoyable manner than another option he considered.
“I went out once and thought about being a course rater,” Hector said. “I didn’t like it. You walk around and you ought to be an accountant, it’s a lot of math and stuff. I said, ’Give me The Rules any day.”
Like his brother, Hector maintains a healthy balance of being a Rules Official and getting out to play golf. He has also worked several USGA qualifiers and run numerous events as the OIC.
Between the brothers’ work and the help of the staff and volunteers on hand, it’s been a smooth operation so far for the OICs at the Mass Amateur.
“Brae Burn is excellent,” Hector said. “The club is really good. Generally, I’m amazed at how good host clubs are to give up their course for a big event like this. This is a really big, old historic event. Clubs are really nice to give themselves up to us.”
Mass Golf is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is dedicated to advancing golf in Massachusetts by building an engaged community around the sport. Made up of 90,000 golfers statewide, Mass Golf is one of the largest state golf associations in the country. Presently, more than two-thirds of the 360-member clubs are public-access facilities, while nearly one-half of member golfers are enrolled at public facilities. Mass Golf offers its member’s services including handicapping, event access, youth programming and exciting golf content.