A year ago at this time, I was defending the selection of Mike Weir as an inductee into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.
While nobody argued that Weir deserved to in the Hall of Fame, some believed his selection last year was premature and that his induction might have been more appropriate once his career ended.
From the flip side of that argument, the question arises that if a player is a slam dunk, why wait years to induct him? Induction into the hall of fame doesn’t mean a career is over, only that somebody is exceptional, which Weir is with eight wins including a green jacket.
Whether Thursday’s announcement of the latest entries into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame stirs such debate remains to be seen, but there has already been speculation on the identities of the people going in, with Jim Nelford, Dick Zokol, Gail Graham and Jerry Anderson among the names being mentioned.
While all of those names are certainly worthy of consideration, none are a slam dunk as Weir was, so one thing catches my eye about all the pre-announcement speculation – and it is merely speculation at this point.
Is the media so preoccupied with touring pros that they first assume that one or two will be among the people nominated each year?
To be fair, Bob Weeks of ScoreGolf also expanded his thoughts to deserving people such as former Royal Canadian Golf Association executive director Stephen Ross who I wrote about here as a potential candidate. Weeks also mentioned the amateur side of a player’s career is also important and Robert Thompson mentioned briefly that side of Zokol’s career yesterday.
I agree with Weeks on both counts. If we only paid attention to tour pros, then Marlene Streit wouldn’t be in the hall. All she did was move on to become the only Canadian now in the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Fla.
So, we need to pay attention to amateurs, whether they were lifers on that side of the game or compiled impressive results before they turned pro.
Some players may have spent time on the various tours, but made their mark in other aspects of golf after returning home.
We can’t forget the builders of the game. While someone such as Ross would fall into this category, what about a Canadian PGA member who made unique and important contributions that still affect the game?
There are so many dimensions that make it difficult to define a hall of fame member and while a touring pro with an outstanding record is difficult to deny, so too should be an outstanding amateur.
There are also so many ways to positively contribute to the game from inside the golf industry whether the person is a club professional, course designer or administrator of the game.
Whether a touring pro is part of Thursday’s announcement remains to be seen, but there are so many other ways to contribute to Canadian golf in a big way that one high profile profession within the game should only be top priority if that focus is shared among other important contributors.