Lots of reaction on — Tiger Woods and CanAm team stir the pot

Well, there was lots of action and reaction on Score Golf, some of it caused by me and, well, some of it caused by Andrew Ross.

Let’s start with me. My satirical column on Tiger Woods foray into design went up yesterday and already has generated a couple of very strange remarks. My favourite is this, from reader “Dan”:

I started reading this thinking you guys had some sort of exclusive interview, but since you don’t have any pull I guess you had to fabricate a funny story trying to pawn it off as the real thing. A waste of my time reading this !!!

Right, Dan — because every interview starts with “the setting,” and includes a “cast.” Just like every movie includes a program so you can keep the characters straight…. Oh, and I have Tiger on speed dial. You want his number? Okay, 408-545-3…. Come on — you’ve got to be kidding, right?

But the real fun happened on Score editor Bob Weeks’ blog, where the Internet monkeys battled over the inclusion of Andrew Ross on the RCGA’s National Amateur Team. Ross, if you didn’t know, is the son of Stephen Ross, the executive director of the RCGA. To some this smelled like an inside job. BC Golfer said:

Secondly the Ross son is the lowest ranking player and falls into the discretionary process. If I were Stephen Ross I would demand for the optics alone that my son, unfortunately, be one of the 5 selected from the ranking places in order to be selected, thus eliminating any signs of nepotism. As well, last year or in the past 2 years another one of his sons was put on a major RCGA team. Wonder what the selection process was for that team?

That led to an onslaught of comments from a wide variety of people. Among those that weighed was Victor Ciesielski, Doug Roxburgh, Phil Jonas, and a variety of others, including several former strong amateur players.

Ciesielski, the hit at the Canadian Open this summer, had lots to say on Ross’ merits:

With all the Andrew Ross comments…1 question have u guys even came out to watch a junior or amateur event? probably not! Andrew and I are great friends have have competed against each other since I was 15. Every single year he has either been in the top 10 in Ontario or top 15 in Canada? is that not SOLID? It seems like every single year Andrew has an outstanding tourney! 2005 he had the lead or tied for the with Canadian Hall of Famer Warren Sye and played with Warren at his home course of Weston where they both finished second. This past summer Andrew finished second by a shot or two in Nova Scotia for the Canadian Club Champions of Champions! To get in to that tourney u need to win your Club C. and winning that at Ancaster is a accomplishment on its own, there are tons of talented players there! My point is Andrew is just as deserving as any of the other 5 rookies this year on the National Team including myself!

I tried to get to the bottom of all of this and called Roxburgh in Vancouver. Turns out that hidden in the RCGA’s website is a national order of merit for amateur players.

Here’s the top group through to Ross, the lowest ranked player on the national team:

Richard Scott, Ontario 1295
James Love, Alberta 965
Andrew Parr, Ontario 770
Kris Wasylowich, Alberta 725
Graham DeLaet, Saskatchewan 655.5
Rafael Lee, British Columbia 637
Todd Halpen, Alberta 625
Ryan Yip, Alberta 620
Keven Simard, Quebec 603.75
Victor Ciesielski, Ontario 525
Graham Hill, Ontario 505
Brian Toth, British Columbia 500
Louis-Pierre Godin, Quebec 499
Greg Machtaler, British Columbia 449
Jordan Irwin, Alberta 443
Andrew Ross, Ontario 436.25

Many of the players on the above list, like Scott, Love, Parr and DeLaet have all turned pro, meaning they clearly can’t be on an amateur team.

Here’s the actual team:

Victor Ciesielski
Keven Fortin-Simard
Louis-Pierre Godin
Todd Halpen
Graham Hill
Jordan Irwin
Andrew Ross
Kris Wasylowich

Once you take the players that turned pro into account, and place the golfers on the team who get exemptions according to the RCGA’s rules, it turns out some players are picked through what Roxburgh called “dicretionary” or “subjective” choices. Apparently some of this is decided on how golfers played in matches against one another, how well they played in provincial and national events, and other factors. The important word here is “subjective.” The rules are layed out here. Some of this is tedious, but in my mind, here’s the key section:

If considering/applying the Subjective Selection
Criteria, the Selection Committee shall consider and
take into account each item of the criteria. The
subjective Selection Criteria shall only be used in
naming players to the RCGA-MNAT in the following
3.1.1 To select the remaining team member(s) from
players identified on the MNAOOM and who the
Selection Committee feels are worthy of
3.2 When applying the Subjective Selection criteria, the
Selection Committee will review the following
performance factors
3.2.1. Head to head results at national
championships and other Significant
Tournaments as outlined in the Criteria
for 2006 International Team Selection –
3.2.2 Injury or Illness
3.2.3 College (Golf week ranking / Golf Stat
ranking) / Present

So, in the end, there are clear indications as to the selection of some players, though it is less clear on others — at least as I read the rules and as Roxburgh explained them. Does this mean Andrew Ross should not be on the team. Of course not. Roxburgh is an exceptional judge of talent and his character is beyond repute — if he feels Andrew Ross should be on the team, so be it. But does it look awkward? Indeed, like many things the RCGA does these days.

I’ve only met Andrew Ross on one occasion — and there are many people who have told me he is an exceptional golfer. Any issues people have with his father should not be taken out on him. Yes, the optics are bad on this one — but I’d hate to see something as silly as optics get in the way of a genuine talent.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Robert
    Thank you for taking the time to make the process a little clearer. The problem I have had is that once Andrew Ross was selected everyone just assumed that he earned his spot. He is, I am sure a fine player, however the idea that the lowest ranked player is selected subjectively, as from Doug R, and that person is the Directors son seems distasteful and disconcerting. Why am I then and others attacked as being predators bent on picking on Andrew Ross. Nothing can further from the truth. We just ask for transperancy at every level. Please call the people directly behind Andrew Ross and tell them why he was chosen. As well being an Ontario player he has had a better chance to play in more point gathering tourneys. Take away his second at the Club Champions event, an event that many or most young players cannot afford or even get to, and he falls further down the list. It is just distasteful and tells you how Stephen Ross feels about his constituents. I am not sorry for a good young man who is a member of Ancaster and has a powerful father in golf, I am sorry for the eqaully or more talented kid in Saskatoon who dreams of playing a tournament outside Saskatchewan.Ask him if he thinks this form of RCGA support is fair. And finally please do not tell me that Doug R was not the least bit influenced by the paycheck signed by Andrew Ross father. This whole process is another indictment of the RCGA and the Blue Blazers. Rather unseemly. I cannot wait until Ross gets one of his kids an exemption in the Canadian Open.

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