Time to do the Right Thing
This is normally the time of year that the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame announces its annual inductees. It’s hard to say precisely when they do so, because they didn’t induct anyone last year, and the last news release posted on its website is from 2011. So I’m working from memory here.
Readers of this blog will know that I wrote a very critical column or two about the Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee a couple of months ago. I won’t go back over that story here… what’s done is done, and I will admit that pretty much anything I write about the Selection Committee from here on will be negative.
But my opinion of that body, and the Hall of Fame it supports, will be somewhat positively altered if they announce, right around now, that they have elected the late Ed Ervasti as a member. I wrote a column about Ed last May, about two weeks after he died at the age of 101.
For those of you who didn’t see that piece, I mentioned that Ed was a Canadian golf legend. Here’s how I described his record:
Ed won at least 60 golf championship titles in Canada and the U.S., including: six Canadian Senior Golf Association Championship titles; Canadian Senior Amateur Champion; Ontario Senior Amateur Champion; four London Hunt men’s club championship titles; and 17 London Hunt Senior Invitational Championship titles from 1967 to 1993. He won the 1949 Michigan State Amateur, and the 1978 and ’83 North and South Seniors in Pinehurst… a tournament that ranks just below the U.S. Senior Amateur in prestige.
At age 93, Ed shot 72 at Sunningdale, one of his home courses in London… hardly a pitch-and-putt layout. When he was 85, he won another club’s senior championship with a similar 72.
Ed shot his age or better – usually much better – more than 3,000 times in his life, and pretty much every time he played. It’s unknown, but highly doubtful that anyone has ever come close to that record of achievement.
I mentioned that Ed had been nominated for induction in the Hall of Fame in 2014, at the age of 100, by a very prominent and respected golf writer. (Frankly, I’m shocked that no one ever took the time and trouble to nominate him dozens of years before, but, alas, no one did.) You might think a group of otherwise intelligent people on the Selection Committee might have looked at that nomination in 2014 and thought, “hmmm, this gentleman probably doesn’t have a lot of years left, let’s put him in the Hall while he’s still alive to enjoy the honour.”
But no. The Selection Committee elected no one last year.
Again, frankly, it seems ludicrous to me that the Canadian Hall of Fame, whose mandate is to celebrate excellence in golf by Canadians, does not permit itself the mandate or the luxury of simply CHOOSING people who are worthy, rather than stubbornly waiting for worthy individuals to be nominated by outsiders, through a complex and time-consuming process.
I mean, honestly, the members of the Committee are all prominent people, all involved in Canadian golf… can you folks not just bring up a name on your own, and vote him or her in? Why is your process so archaic and complex, why do you arbitrarily keep some people un-inducted for years before finally allowing them in, why do you operate in such Vatican-like secrecy? You may argue that it is what it is to ensure the “integrity” of the Hall, but come on… is so-called integrity more important than common sense? Who benefits when you keep worthy people out of the Hall?
But more to the point, why on earth would you not have elected Ed Ervasti before he died? And if he is not elected this year, what possible reason would you have for keeping him out?
I can name at least a dozen members of your Hall whose credentials, in my view, do not compare in prestige to Ed Ervasti’s. But out of respect for their records, their legacies, and their honour, I wouldn’t do that. Keeping Ed Ervasti out of the Hall, however, degrades the honour of the Hall, in my view, and therefore, the honour that you’ve bestowed on those who are there.
I sincerely hope that, sometime in the next few days or weeks, your announcement of this year’s inductee(s), if there is one or more, will make me eat these preceding words.
It would have been nice if you’d done the right thing last year, but I suppose it’s never too late to see justice done.
(P.S. I should make it clear that I never met Ed Ervasti, and was not related to him in any way. But I will always be in awe of his record, and his dedication to golf in his adopted country of Canada.)