Just hours before Mike Weir was scheduled to tee it up at the RBC Canadian Open, he was at Weston Golf and Country Wednesday evening to speak at Bob Weeks’ induction into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to say hello, although I did have a chat with his brother Jim. Looking very relaxed, Mike was a big draw in the room, looking happy to be home in Canada.
The feeling was mutual, judging from the well-wishers chatting with Weir prior to the ceremonies getting underway, When he got up to speak, Weir talked about how his and Weeks’ career synched up over the years.
When the guest of honour got up to make his speech, Weeks alluded to the fact that writers aren’t supposed to get too close to their subjects, in this case media guy and player. He admitted, however, that it’s tough not to become friends with people you’ve covered for decades.
He is correct. We’re all human after all and when somebody is a good guy, as Weir is, it’s a challenge to not become – dare I say it? – friends with him. The true test of your professionalism is will you be honest with your readers when everything isn’t rosy with the player.
If he’s struggling, will you say it instead of trying to put sugar on it and make excuses? Weeks laughed about a few snarky incidents between him and Weir over the years, yet there was Weir to celebrate a milestone moment with Weeks.
It’s obvious that Weir is professional enough to realize that any observation of his play is never meant as anything personal. It’s would be an outright lie and a credibility-killer to tell anything but the truth during Weir’s struggles the past few years, yet he’s been gracious enough when answering countless media queries about that and his future.
It isn’t easy, but it has to be done if a media person is to stay at the top of his/her game as Weeks has done in print, radio, television and internet.
One tweet after the ceremony said that no one has done more to promote golf in Canada through his professionalism than Weeks. That one I would disagree with, but only due to the use of the word promote.
I think well-known teaching pro Mark Evershed said it better about Weeks on a Comment to the GNN story we ran about the induction.
“I don’t think Bob gets enough credit for really having an impact on bringing the game of golf to the people,” wrote Evershed.
There’s a difference between the promoting tweet and what Evershed wrote. It isn’t the media’s job to promote because writers/broadcasters need to call people out if they see fit.
That isn’t to suggest that everything be negative, just that there are always issues and incidents, and they are numerous, that require more than a sugary presentation. Anything but honesty and intelligent commentary is a disservice to readers/listeners.
It’s a similar fine line to the friendships between players and reporters and it’s a very thin one.
The intention shouldn’t be promotion, but I’ve always felt that a well-crafted story about a player or an event can promote the game by piquing interest.
The majority of the stories you read or watch are positive in nature, but media needs that pass to get into controversial issues that some see as negative in nature. It’s simply being unbiased without leaning either to positive or negative.
The reality is that if a media person is willing to go outside the comfort zone and perhaps draw fire for a story, then that person is willing to do what’s best for the game, but it wouldn’t be seen by many as promoting the game.
It’s just doing the job the way it’s supposed to be done and some don’t believe that media should be named to halls of fame, but Weeks and Lorne Rubenstein, who also spoke Wednesday evening, have had an impact on the game, as Evershed pointed out.
There are ways of doing that, and making it interesting, without being classed as a promoter.