In all of the debate last week about whether it’s too early in his career for Mike Weir to be inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame, one media colleague nicely took me to task when I admitted that it was me and another person who submitted the original nomination.
My colleague’s theory, and I respect this opinion even if I disagree in this case, is that media shouldn’t be involved in such things because it can be seen as creating news instead of being impartial which, in theory, is the foundation of journalism.
I say in theory because impartiality is compromised quite often, particularly in the golf media.
First of all, submitting a nomination isn’t creating news because any name that is submitted goes through a long period of discussion by a hall of fame selection committee.
The nominator has no idea what happens in those discussions because he/she is not a part of the committee, although the person who makes the submission may get called to explain the reasons for putting it forward.
Otherwise, the original nominator doesn’t know for sure if the person that was nominated will get in until the final announcement is made.
People who have covered the game for a long time can use their working knowledge to submit legitimate candidates for consideration. One of the challenges faced by the hall of fame is that few people realize that anybody can nominate a player or builder of the game.
Weir isn’t the first player I’ve nominated for the hall. One player who has since gone in waited a couple of years before getting the call. Others that I’ve nominated are still waiting and I’m not sure of their status with the selection committee, so how can this be perceived as creating news?
In Weir’s case, I would have preferred to stay anonymous, but as I said in Friday’s blog, I admitted it publicly when it was suggested that Weir was going in as part of a plan to market the 100th playing of the Canadian Open. The conspiracy theories were running wild despite a Weir record that nobody can argue.
In other sports, notably baseball, media regularly are involved in hall of fame selections, but apparently golf is different, according to my colleague’s theory.
If that’s the case, then how is it that golf media in this country are regularly involved in ranking golf courses, publishing most influential people stories and other arbitrary lists that are designed to create controversy, stir debate and grab the attention of readers?
Here’s a good example. At a recent Canadian get-together at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, the Golf Journalists Association of Canada announced various people that it had selected as players of the year in different categories and nobody took that group to task.
With a hall of fame selection, there are several checks and balances after the original nomination goes in, with the person who made that submission usually fading into anonymity. As mentioned above, there are other more blatant ways for golf media to create news than simply submitting a form.