Fraz deserves Hall spot

IAN HUTCHINSON

, Last Updated: 8:11 AM ET

A tip of the visor to colleague Lorne Rubenstein, who will be inducted next May into the Ontario Golf Hall of Fame with 2005 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Mary Ann Lapointe, historian James Barclay and former Ontario champ/administrator Kelly Roberts.

Agree or disagree with him -- and many have done both -- Rubenstein has covered golf for nearly 30 years and is best known for his Globe and Mail column and hosting the Acura World of Golf television show.

Very often, a conversation with a PGA Tour pro ends with "Say hello to Lorne for me."

Rube also has earned international recognition for his books and magazine articles and is a likely candidate for the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame in the near future.

This isn't meant to single out Rubenstein for kudos, because the other inductees also have made significant impacts. It's just that Rubenstein, 57, is one of few members of the golf media to gain such recognition in Canada.

And there is a strong case for another to blaze a trail into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame in 2006.

Hall of Fame players, media types from various outlets and golf administrators have banded together to submit a nomination for the induction of a man who once occupied this space. Five years after his untimely passing, Rick Fraser is still remembered fondly in the Canadian golf world.

There are no wins or stats to go by when assessing the contribution of a media person. All you can go on is longevity, talent and personal relationships. Fraser, already in the Ontario Hall, passes on both counts.

Talk to players such as Dan Halldorson, Gary Cowan, Sandra Post, Jocelyne Bourassa or Marlene Streit, and they'll tell you Fraser was someone they respected and trusted.

Those players also will provide heartwarming personal anecdotes, as will his media colleagues who not only enjoyed and respected Fraser's opinion pieces and colourful writing. They also loved just hanging with him, either on the golf course or around a table in media centres at countless tournaments.

"The Fraz," as he came to be known, also worked at the Toronto Star and Globe and Mail, among other newspapers, and still has an annual must-play media tournament named after him.

One media guy backing another for such an honour may smack of cronyism on the surface, but there is enough support from across the spectrum of Canadian golf to ensure it's a legitimate cause.

WALTERS, TOO

The 1990s was a golden decade for Canadians on the LPGA Tour, who compiled nine official wins as Dawn Coe-Jones, Gail Graham and Jennifer Wyatt took turns hoisting trophies.

Three of those nine victories belong to one of the most under-rated Canadians to play on the women's tour, as Lisa Walters' win total is equal to that of Coe-Jones, who already is in the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.

A native of Prince Rupert, B.C., Walters won the 1977 B.C. junior championship before taking that province's amateur women's title for three consecutive years, from 1979-81. She was also a 1981 All-American at Florida State before starting her LPGA career three years later.

Walters won her first championship in 1992 at the Hawaiian Ladies Open and successfully defended that title the following year. She saved the best for last, as Walters won the 1998 Oldsmobile Classic, where she not only enjoyed a career-low round of 65 but also set an LPGA standard at 23-under for the tournament.

Never one to seek publicity, Walters seems further from the thoughts of Canadians now as she lives in Tampa with husband Mike. She does, however, deserve induction into the Canadian hall.


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