Richard, as I liked to call him, passed away today. He recently turned 91, but was still thoughtful and sharp, if quite frail. In recent years he was often accompanied by Mike Watt, a senior exec at SCOREGolf and a longtime friend who drove him so Richard could make it to events. He’d had a number of illnesses in recent years, but still remained a vibrant mind.
I recall being at the end of one of Richard’s commentaries a few years ago at a GJAC event where he took “a writer” to task for calling the Canadian Open “an event,” as opposed to a tournament. I’m pretty sure the writer was me. He was probably right — and I’ve often thought of his comments before writing “event” about a golf tournament ever since. Of course he didn’t centre me out — that wasn’t Richard’s way. He was gentleman, but he got his point across nonetheless.
I suspect there are plenty of people who, like me, became involved in the game in the last decade who don’t know Richard well. That’s not surprising, as his tenure running the Canadian Open is more than two decades in the past. But he was held in high regard, and his opinion still mattered to those in Canadian golf. He had such depth of knowledge of the sport that his opinion couldn’t be ignored.
I recently talked to my colleague, Rick Young, about Dick, as the GJAC hands out its annual “Dick Grimm Award” each year. Richard was very much involved in the process and was planning to come to Montreal to hand out the award. There was some concern that he was too frail to travel all the way to Montreal, and that perhaps we’d have him hand out the award in London at the CP Women’s Open instead. That’s where we left it — and it is a shame Richard won’t be there to give the award to the recipient.
However, his personality and influence on the game will be there — it will likely not disappear for years to come.
I don’t know if I ever got to the point where I’d have called Richard a friend — though we were always friendly. However, I feel greater for having known him.
He’ll be missed.
Click here for Dick’s Canadian Golf Hall of Fame details. This piece by Irv Lightstone on Richard is also worth a read.