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Stuck holding the (golf) bag 

When it was announced that the U.S. Senior Open golf tournament would be played this summer right here in our own little village (motto: Fore ... The Number of Streets We Plow After a Really Big Blizzard), you probably had the same reaction I did:

Now there's a terrific idea. Let's send Grandpa out in the sun and watch him gasp for air at 6,000 feet during our thunderstorm season as he waves a lightning-magnet graphite golf club over his head and drags himself up the steep hills to play a game where they talk about strokes and sudden death.

Not that the spectators won't have some health issues, too. The tournament will be played at Broadmoor Golf Club. And I don't want to say that most of the spectators trudging around The Broadmoor will be old, but a lot of them are, well, veterans of the war. And by war, I mean the Ottoman Conquest of Rhodes.

Luckily, our city-owned Memorial Hospital will have a huge presence at the course during the week of July 28 to Aug. 3. This is because the hospital gave Broadmoor organizers $250,000 to help pay for the event. In return, the hospital gets 200 free tickets to the tournament each day. So, expect to see a lot of highly trained medical personnel at the course doing what they've been trained to do: downing a lot of free liquor and then blowing into each other's stethoscopes.

Here are some other things you might see:

A Memorial Hospital hospitality tent, which is confusing.

A lot of Memorial ads ("We Heal. We Care. We Hope You Don't Mind Paying $1,200 for a Wooden Tongue Depressor Until We Get Our $250,000 Back.").

Memorial CEO Dick Eitel taking advantage of his position by having staff insert a urine catheter just prior to his Executive Beer-Chugging Showdown with Broadmoor CEO Steve Bartolin.

This is no ordinary city-owned hospital, of course. This is Colorado Springs Memorial, which doesn't exactly take orders from the city.

"Ultimately, we are responsible for the running of the hospital," says City Councilman Scott Hente.

And how did Council find out about the gift?

"I'm embarrassed to say it," Hente says, "but we all found out only after Memorial had already given the $250,000 donation. We read it in the paper."

Hente's words are shocking. Not so much because Memorial answers to nobody, but mostly because our entire City Council can read. (Footnote: This even includes Mayor Lionel Rivera, although he can't have reading or writing material at his desk since that 2005 Council meeting where he ate six crayons and half the jar of paste.)

And not that it matters or that it would perpetuate the belief that our village is run in back rooms with a wink and a grin, but CEO Eitel didn't send $250,000 to just any hotel. He gave it to The Broadmoor. You want coincidence? Guess where Eitel's father, Karl, served for many years as general manager?

That's right: Klaus' German Bakery.

No, actually, he was president of the very same Broadmoor.

This doesn't trouble everyone.

"If Memorial wants to spend some of its marketing money at the golf event, so be it," says Councilwoman Jan Martin. "They might be using it to attract doctors from other parts of the country, and that makes it good for the community."

Nice thought. But Memorial is not running any TV ads during the tournament and is not making any attempt to recruit doctors.

"Not really," says hospital spokeswoman Rita Burns. "It's just an opportunity for us to interact with people."

CEO Eitel paid a salary of $444,000 last year declined to answer any questions about the $250,000 gift. He's kinda quiet like that.

As another example, right after word escaped about the Broadmoor donation, Eitel also declined to speak to Council about another issue. Instead, he sent a hospital trustee to deliver this message: Later this year, Eitel will quit.

He won't be an easy man to replace.

Especially since Marcel Marceau died last year.

Rich Tosches appears Thursday at 8 a.m. on the Darren and Coba Show on MY99.9FM. Reach him at rangerrich@csindy.com.

  • Our city-owned Memorial Hospital will have a huge presence at the U.S. Senior Open.

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