I beg your apologies, dear readers. I’ve been overtaken by events — namely the writing of a couple of large magazine stories. But I have lots of blog posts in mind upcoming, including a detailed account of my trip next week to LA to see all of TaylorMade’s new gear, as well as making a stopover at a couple of courses you might have heard of in Monterey. You’ll want to come back next Friday to hear about the perfect day of golf. Of course it could rain. Then it would be less perfect.
One thing I’ve been remiss in following up on was the post about Mike Weir’s induction into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame. Those casual readers of this site might say: “What? There’s a Canadian Golf Hall of Fame?” Yes, there is Sally, and even 38-year-old PGA Tour pros ranked in the Top 20 in the world can get in.
First there was the revelation that golf writer Ian Hutchison nominated Weir. Kind of strange, but certainly well within the nomination process regulations. There’s nothing that says a golf writer can’t nominate someone. In fact, anyone can nominate anyone, as long as the nomination is seconded.
Now the question is about the timing. Lots of people seem to think this is a tempest in a teapot. No one, they say, cares about whether Weir — who is certainly deserving — gets in now or 11 years from now. He’s getting in — and that’s all that matters.
While I agree he’s getting in, it strikes me that the timing on this is still wrong. I argued this point with Karen Hewson, who runs the hall of fame for the RCGA (among other things.) Karen said timing isn’t an issue with baseball or hockey. Players simply retire and can be admitted after a certain period of time. Golfers, however, often fade away as opposed to retire. And some — like Marlene Stewart Streit and Graham Cooke — actually excel into their senior years.
So how does one create a system that doesn’t elect players too early in their careers, like what has happened with Weir? I’d argue that an arbitrary figure — let’s say the age of 50 — is used. Up until that age, no one can get in. Would Weir get in right at 50? Sure. Some would argue that he would get now, so why wait. Of course that same point could be used for athletes like Babe Ruth or Hank Aaron or more recently a ball player like Greg Maddux. Would Maddux have gotten in five years ago? Without doubt. But it strikes me that a HOF nomination needs some reflection and that putting in active players makese the hall less of a shrine to past accomplishments. Why does Cooperstown work so well? Baseball is obsessed by history and all the greatest players are recognized there. There’s also more than a hint of nostalgia.
But by putting active players in, that period of reflection, the time in which a player might be removed from his best golf days, is removed. It becomes less about nostalgia and more about current successes. What happens if Weir wins another major? Will they alter the wording on his plack at Golf House in Oakville?
The main point here is there was no harm in waiting. There are some deserving types that are past their prime (Richard Zokol, Brent Franklin)_ or deceased (AV Macan) who should be recognized. Wouldn’t Weir’s selection have been more compelling had we been able to reflect on his entire career, including how his win at the Masters changed golf in Canada (or failed to change golf)? Wouldn’t it have been more interesting had Weir, who is not a reflective person by nature, been given the distance from his competitive play to actually provide perspective on his accomplishments? Wouldn’t it have been better if he had time to breath, as opposed to jamming this induction into the busiest point of the year for him?
Under the current conditions, Hutchison was surely right in nominating Weir. I just think the conditions for the nomination process are wrong.
Lost in the news of Weir’s induction was the official announcement of his design firm and his partnership with Brantford’s Ian Andrew. The pair spoke to CP’s Chris Johnson about what they hope to accomplish (story is here):
Weir’s newest initiative is a course design business that will see him work with Brantford, Ont., architect Ian Andrew – a partnership that was officially announced Thursday after a lengthy selection process. Those men have already made plans to create some affordable courses for young Canadians, giving them a chance to trace Weir’s own roots in the game.
He first played golf on a par-3 course at the local Holiday Inn in Sarnia before moving on to Huron Oaks, which provided a modest test as he started to progress in the game.
“I got used to scoring well on that golf course,” said Weir. “I remember shooting 63 when I was about 16 years old and getting used to that aspect of really making a lot of birdies.
“When your swing develops, you already have that mentality of not being scared of shooting 10-under par because you’ve been used to making those birdies.
“I think that’s a good progression for a kid.”
While he and Andrew also hope to create resort courses, they appear just as committed to public designs – if not more so.