Weir worthy of Hall now

IAN HUTCHINSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:21 AM ET

You can bet the ranch, if you've still got one in this economy, that Tiger Woods will be inducted on the PGA Tour ballot into the World Golf Hall of Fame as soon as possible, once he reaches the minimum age of 40, whether he's still competing or not.

That means Woods will be just one year older than Mike Weir when the latter goes into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame later this year, a recent announcement that has caused considerable debate among the deep thinkers of the game in this country.

Woods already should be in the World Hall for all that he's accomplished, but there is a vocal crowd who believes that a Hall of Fame induction should be based on an arbitrary age number or a glorious career that is already over.

It's little wonder that golf is perceived by many young people as a game for rich, old dudes if they won't even give a guy with the impact of Tiger a ticket into the Hall of Fame.

Woods is not the issue for purposes of this commentary, but his case illustrates the debate surrounding Weir, who admits he was surprised when he heard about his pending induction.

"I have so much that I still want to accomplish both on the course and in helping to continue to grow the game in Canada, but this honour will always rank as one of the greatest of my career," Weir said.

There have been many honours come Weir's way, such as the Order of Canada he has yet to receive because of his busy schedule, yet nobody is saying he is too young or too active to have that bestowed upon him.

Weir is not Woods in terms of impact, even though he beat Tiger in Presidents Cup singles play at Royal Montreal to provide yet another glorious moment for Canadians as he did six years ago when it was, once again, Woods who slipped the green jacket over Weir's shoulders after his win at the Masters.

Woods' impact has been global, but Weir's is distinctly Canadian. You see that every year at the RBC Canadian Open when he tees it up in front of adoring fans who appreciate the guy who is one win away from becoming the career leading Canadian in PGA Tour wins.

That and his contributions away from the golf course have made him a shoo-in for the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame, something even critics of his induction this year admit, even if they question the timing.

Why wait then? It's not as if Weir will be setting a precedent by being inducted into a golf hall of fame at the age of 39.

Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb and Se Ri Pak were all closer to 30 than 40 when they were inducted into the LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame and they had to wait around because of a rule that says you have to play 10 years on tour, the same rule-keeping Lorena Ochoa, who became eligible at 26, out until 2012.

All had or have some good golf left in them when they were inducted, as did Marlene Streit, also a World Golf Hall of Fame member, Gary Cowan and Doug Roxburgh, who were all in their 30s when they went into the Canadian hall.

A Hall of Fame induction doesn't need to come at the end of a career. In Weir's case, is it really necessary to wait 10 to 15 years? Why not let him, his family and his fans enjoy his accomplishments while he's still in his prime and let the record-keepers at the Hall of Fame worry about changing things as they happen?

As surprised as he was to hear about his induction, Weir did take note of a very active Vijay Singh, who was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame at the age of 43. Has anyone noticed who won last year's FedEx Cup at the age of 45?

"I was taken a little by surprise, but it was a nice surprise," Weir said. "I guess my thoughts went to Vijay (Singh) a few years ago in the World Golf Hall of Fame. I know Vijay thinks he's far from done.

"I notice on the World Golf Hall of Fame, David Toms is up on the list there. There are players on the LPGA Tour still playing. I think it's good."

It's also good that Weir is going in now. The main reason for somebody being inducted into a Hall of Fame should be merit and nobody argues that Weir has the qualifications.


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