Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Cream of Manitoba's golf crowd in the Hall

McMillan, Hashimoto, Robertson, Picken inducted

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Little did now-retired broadcaster/journalist Bob Picken realize it, but he was sent back to work for one more night on Monday.

It seemed only proper to have a Manitoba Golf Hall of Fame and Museum inductee with such wealth of knowledge comment on his 2010 classmates Terry Hashimoto, Rob McMillan and Aileen Robertson.

"They are standouts because they are three of the most gifted and talented golfers that Manitoba has produced," the 78-year-old Picken began. "Look at their records and see what they have achieved.

"Terry Hashimoto, both as a pro and and an amateur, has Manitoba Open and Manitoba Amateur championships.

"Rob, he's tremendous. Robbie is among the very, very best golfers we have ever produced here in this province.

"Aileen, on the other hand, I admired her for her focus and her determination. The fact that she was small in stature, she got the most out of what she had and she played against some of the best in the business and in Canada and I think she proved what she was made of in winning the Canadian Amateur in 1994, that she really belonged.

"And it's really flattering for me to be included on a night when they're inducted."

Picken, who's still working hard to maintain his 15-handicap, was inducted into the Hall as a builder on Monday night. He has had a remarkable career, also covering curling, baseball and football and has been inducted into Canadian and Manitoba halls of fame in those sports.

Alongside the three players that accompanied him at the induction ceremony at the McPhillips Station Casino ballroom, it's an elite class.

Robertson, now 41, turned pro in 1998 and is a teacher and coach at Henry Brunton Golf near Toronto. Before that, she won two Manitoba junior titles and an impressive six Amateurs as the province's dominant female player in the 1990's. In 1994, she added the Canadian Women's Amateur title to her resume, lifting her to Manitoba's golfer of the year award.

"I don't think this has sunk in yet," Robertson said Monday. "The last few days, a bit, because I think being back in Winnipeg and going out to St. Charles just to look around, you start getting those old feelings and emotions.

"But it really hasn't hit me, the magnitude of it all. It's tremendously exciting and such an extreme honour.

"There are so many people to thank."

Hashimoto, now 52, is one of the founders of the popular Canadian golf brand, Jazz Golf.

His amateur resume, both before and after a trip to the pro ranks, earned him Manitoba player of the year award in three different decades.

His second of two Manitoba Amateur titles (1998) came 13 years after his first and marked the first time any player had won the province's top three competitive events -- the match play title, the Amateur and the mid-amateur -- in one season.

"I just feel proud about being part of the group," he said Monday. "We all had careers. I knew Aileen since she was young; I knew Robbie and sponsored him a bit and I knew Bob from when he was sticking a microphone in my throat.

"I'm humbled, too, because I didn't think it would mean much to me but it does and I'm exceptionally pleased that my mom (Christine) and my son (Ben) are here."

McMillan, just 34, will always have a place among Manitoba's best golf memories for his 1996 Manitoba Open victory, when as an amateur, he beat the best Canadian Tour pros.

He earned three CanTour victories in total, along with a Canadian Amateur, four Manitoba juniors, three Canadian juniors, three Manitoba Amateurs, five Manitoba golfer of the year awards and two Manitoba male athlete of the year awards.

"To be honest, maybe in the last couple of weeks it's hit home," he said of his induction. "If anything, it makes you take a step back and appreciate some of the things you did, things you take for granted after a long period of time.

"I also appreciate the people I'm going into the Hall with. That's one of the coolest things."


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 28, 2010 C9

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