It’s over 20 years since an interview I conducted with Ben Crenshaw in Florida turned into an in-depth discussion with one of the true gentlemen of the game and after I shook hands following that fascinating chat, he called as I walked away.
Thinking he might have another pearl of wisdom for me as I turned to him, it was instead a request.
“Say hello to Lorne for me,” said Crenshaw, knowing that a last name was unnecessary.
At no point in our previous conversation had the name Lorne Rubenstein been mentioned, but knowing I was from Canada, Crenshaw knew I would know him and he was absolutely correct.
You didn’t have to be a golf columnist, or even be in the golf industry, to know Rubenstein. Those who follow golf, to this day, appreciate his work and I daresay many of those not as in tune to the game as others, admire his contributions as a chronicler of sport, even if golf is his focus.
Long before that Crenshaw interview 20 years ago, Rubenstein’s reach, with good reason, had expanded beyond Canadian borders, but his name has always been synonymous with this country, which reacted with pride last week when another honour, this one of international significance, came his way.
Rubenstein will receive the PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism at the Golf Writers Association of America awards dinner prior to the Masters. You can read more here.
The positive reaction from inside and outside Canada was swift on GNN and social media. That, his bio and his growing list of honours indicate that it’s time for a serious discussion about Rubenstein joining a small group of writers/broadcasters who have been inducted through the Lifetime Achievement category into the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Fla.
News of Rube’s latest honour came in a bittersweet week that saw the passing of Montreal sportswriting legend Red Fisher at the age of 91. You can read more here.
I must confess that I knew more of Fisher through reputation than personal relationship, although I did meet him a couple of times when I covered the NHL years ago.
Fisher was at the top of his game long before the Internet, so his work wasn’t as readily available when my own career was in its early stages, but I did make a point of checking out what he had to say whenever I was in Montreal, or whenever one of his contributions found its way to Toronto.
The impacts of both Fisher and Rubenstein forever linked their names to the games they focused on, both eloquently capturing the essence and feel of the games they covered and doing so without telling people how good they are – their work over the decades pointed that out and let their readers decide for themselves.
What they accomplished couldn’t happen in a quick tweet or a series of social media posts. Indeed, their work, their efforts and their deportment make them shining examples for generations to come in their field.
As the links I’ve provided point out, each of them are, and in Rubenstein’s case, he remains relevant and is looked upon with admiration by people of all ages coming up behind him.
Whether a Rubenstein or a Fisher comes along again is in question. We can only hope, despite the rapid pace of evolution in media, cuts to budgets and staff, and we’re not only talking print anymore, but broadcasting, as well.
That’s for a new generation to decide going forward, but Rubenstein and Fisher, in their respective efforts, were part of sport’s soul and each has been rightfully recognized for their positive impacts.
Rubenstein has reached the pinnacle of his craft on both the national and international stage in a variety of mediums. There is one more celebration down in St. Augustine that would befit Rubenstein his accomplishments.
What’s Ahead This Week
The focus will be on the return of Tiger Woods at this week’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, but the field will also include Canadians Corey Conners, Adam Hadwin, David Hearn, Mac Hughes, Ben Silverman and Nick Taylor … After two events in the Bahamas to start the season, the Web.com Tour is off for a week before playing the Panama Championship … PGA Tour Champions is also off. It will resume its schedule on Feb. 9 at the Boca Raton Championship in Florida … With the minimum wage in Ontario and Alberta eventually rising to $15 an hour and hikes sure to be coming in other provinces, last week’s GNN Poll asked if raising the price of green fees/memberships is a viable way of dealing with the extra cost, or will it mean lost business? The majority, or 43 per cent of respondents, said a small price hike might work, but it won’t be enough, with another 24 per cent saying it will lead to lost business. About one-third, or 33 per cent, said it’s a good way to deal with it … This week’s PGA Merchandise Show at the Orange County Convention Centre in Orlando is the topic of this week’s poll, asking readers how many times they’ve been to the show. As of this writing, 36 per cent said two to five times, while 19 per cent said never and another 19 per cent said 10 to 20 times. Another 13 per cent of voters said five to 10 times, with a similar percentage saying more than 20 times. You can vote below or on the GNN home page if you haven’t done so already.