“I always said that when I couldn’t get excited about a major [tournament] then I’d know it was time to go,” Rubenstein said. “But when I got to the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club [last month], I just found I couldn’t get engaged with the pro game any more. It was an easy decision to make that way. If I’m not engaged in the subject it’s not fair to the readers and to the paper.
“I’ve had a fantastic relationship and opportunity with the Globe these past 32 years, and I’ve had the chance to cover the greatest people in the sport. It has been very special. I might do some work down the road depending on my engagement with the material. But for now it’s time to move to the next phase of my life.”
I’ve come to know Lorne better over the last few years, and my wife edited his most recent work, the best-selling Moe and Me. He’s an intellectual, a man who thinks deep thoughts about the game of golf, and who has many interests outside of it. I’ve always enjoyed our conversations about the sport — but even when I spent a few days with him at his home in Jupiter, FLA, last winter, I wondered if his interest in the PGA Tour was waning. Nonetheless, as we watched Kyle Stanley implode in San Diego, Rube’s passion for the game, and his continued fascination in the stories it supplies, were present.
I wonder if there will ever be another golf writer like him in Canada — one with such a longstanding connection to one newspaper. The answer is probably no. Bob Weeks has long been connected to ScoreGolf, and Rube has had a longtime link to that magazine as well, but that’s about it. Most papers don’t even cover the game any longer — something that will surely hurt the sport going forward.
For a while I considered Rube a competitor when I was writing golf columns at the National Post. I recognize now that I was naive in that regard — Lorne was never a competitor and while we looked at the game in a similar fashion in many cases, our opinions are very different in many other ways. Once I got to know Lorne he was always helpful and often sent me kind and considered notes after my features appeared. I always appreciated that — he was thoughtful in a profession where few acknowledge their peers.
In many ways I owe Lorne a lot — as does every other golf writer in Canada. He pioneered the notion that golf writers could exist in this country. He proved that readers were passionate about the sport and wanted to read about it regularly. He demonstrated you could take a thoughtful, intellectual approach to the sport and make it translate onto the page.
I always turned to the Globe and Lorne’s column to see what he was writing about. These days, more often than not, I would check his writing out when it was reprinted on Golf Canada’s website. He always has a unique perspective.
I wonder if the writing of Moe and Me, which has a decidedly autobiographical bent, and its success (it has been a huge seller) suggested to Rube that it was time to do exactly what he wants to do for the rest of his writing career. Pursuing your passions always results in better writing, and it is clear from his remarks that the PGA Tour isn’t where Lorne’s heart is at any longer.
It’ll also be interesting to see what the Globe does following Rube’s departure. It is one of the last papers with a regular golf writer — something even the Toronto Star no longer has. Hopefully they’ll continue to cover the sport — it is good for the game.
In the meantime, congrats to Lorne. I’m sure this isn’t the end — just the set up for the next chapter.