Mike Weir Enters Canadian Golf Hall of Fame

That was the word that came down from the Royal Canadian Golf Association this morning.

Let’s start here — Mike Weir, at 38, is the best Canadian golfer in history. He’s the only male winner of a major, and he continues to be among the best players in the world, currently ranked in the Top 20 in the World Golf Rankings.

Certainly he’s a lock for the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame. He deserves to be there. But at 38, while he’s still active? How does this make sense?

I’ve said this before, a couple of years back when Lorne Rubenstein — still an active reporter — was inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame. Do we have so few worthy entrants that we need to induct people who are still in the midst of vibrant careers?

weirI wonder why the RCGA and its inducting committee wouldn’t wait a while to put Weir in. Since the hall seems to be down with having anybody with a couple of wins on a pro tour in the HOF, like Lisa Walters last year, what about someone like Richard Zokol, who is clearly done with his competitive PGA Tour golf now at the age of 50? Or poke back into the earlier days of Canadian golf and pick noted designer/player Vernon Macan? ]

Or how about this for a thought: Don’t induct anyone if no one fits the bill. Do you have to induct someone every year? Even the baseball HOF doesn’t do that (though it is admittedly rare).

Truth is Mike Weir is far from museum material. I spoke to Weir a couple of weeks ago for a magazine profile and he talked about his legacy as a golfer being consistency in big events and longevity. He truly believes he’ll play better in coming years and will win numerous times. Is he right? Who is to say. But does that sound like someone at the end of their career? Surely Weir wouldn’t agree.

Truthfully for this to make sense one has to look at the popularity of Weir in Canada and at the timing relative to the Canadian Open. Canada’s top tournament celebrates its 100th playing this year. That’s right, you remember 2004 when the RCGA celebrated the 100th anniversary? Well some wars got in the way, so we’re celebrating the 100th playing this year. Call it a celebratory do-over or an anniversary mulligan. Either way, the RCGA sees this as a reason to celebrate the Canadian Open.

Now I’m all for promoting the Canadian Open. But there seems to be some sort of tangential link between Weir and the 100th anniversary celebrations.

None of this is Weir’s fault. What’s he to do? Turn the induction down? It is a big honour for him — even if the timing seems off. He’s done tons to promote Canadian golf and the Canadian Open, and has been a strong supporter of communities in Canada in recent years. Call this a premature election, but a worthy candidate nonetheless.

One thing I’ll be intrigued about — where will the induction take place? At his boyhood home in Brights Grove where he learned to play the game? Or among the pomp and circumstance of Toronto, where the corporations that support the game reside?

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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.

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I think Mike qualified for Hall of Fame the minute he won the Masters. Why make him wait until retirement to enjoy the recognition he deserves?

    Same with Rubenstein; if they are deserving of nomination they should get in regardless of age. It’s a hall of fame, not a hall of famous retirees…isn’t it?

    Sure his career will continue and presumably flourish, and his hall of fame bio will keep getting updated accordingly. But frankly, to not have Canada’s only Masters winner in the hall seems like an oversight to me.

  • Thanks for covering the Hall of Fame election and I really appreciate your restraint in waiting until after we made the formal announcement.

    Your blog covers a lot of valid points and certainly could be a starting point for considerable debate.

    Golf is a challenge to enforce an age limit, or an activity limit, on when it comes to recognition. You mention Lorne Rubenstein still being too active, but to that end, I wonder what the definition of “too active” is. There are lot of writers of all topics that write until their death bed. Beyond meeting the necessary criteria, I would think a nominee would be honored to be considered for Hall of Fame induction at at time when they are still relevant to their peers and to Canadian golf fans.

    As far as being mid career, it certainly is a fair point. But when would you have determined Marlene Streit should go in the hall of fame? Or Doug Roxburgh? Or Gary Cowan. They were all in their 30s and had lots of potential to win again. I can’t count how many updates we have needed to make to Marlene’s record even in the last two decades – and honestly 20 years ago she was 55 – is that old enough?

    I’ve been asked for years – ever since Mike’s first win on the tour, and constantly since his Masters win – when he would be in the hall. And my answer has always been – when someone formally nominates Mike Weir, the Hall of Fame selection committee will consider the nomination and have that discussion.

    He was finally nominated this year. As per the selection criteria and process, the nomination was evaluated on merit and put to a vote.

    As you say – there is no doubt he is qualified. Since we don’t enforce an age criteria, (for several reasons mind you), right or wrong, Mike received the necessary votes to be elected as the 64th honored member of the Hall.

    Is the timing convenient? Sure. Not because it’s the 100th playing of the open, or that it’s good marketing for the open. It’s nice that we can hold his induction during a relevant championship in his life, much like we did with Dawn Coe-Jones or Lisa Walters, and ensure that his family and friends can be present. The bonus in Mike’s case in 2009 is that the RBC Canadian Open will take place on the same grounds as the Hall of Fame building here at Glen Abbey .

    Maybe convenient timing is one of the many things that pushed the nominators to submit Mike for consideration. I don’t know. Perhaps your blog will spark more of your readers to consider the Hall of Fame nomination process and the opportunity for they themselves to actively submit a potential nominee. There are so many individuals who’ve touched the Canadian golf landscape who would certainly warrant consideration – if only they were formally nominated rather then casually discussed.

    It’s unfortunate that you perceive Mike’s induction as a marketing move – I guess it would always appear as such when we have an inductee such as Mike with so much profile and national recognition. Having said that, current profile and national relevance should most certainly not preclude a most worthy nominee from receiving a much deserved honour.

    Karen Hewson
    Director, Canadian Golf Hall of Fame

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