PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS INSIDER
Mike Weir set for debut in Canada as PGA TOUR Champions member
August 04, 2021
By Bob McClellan , PGATOUR.COM
- August 04, 2021
- Mike Weir is getting prepared for the Shaw Charity Classic in Canada. (Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Mike Weir is to a generation of Canadian golfers as Mario Lemieux is to a generation of Canadian hockey players.
He is the only Canadian to win a major, claiming the 2003 Masters. He is tied for the most PGA TOUR wins among Canadians with eight, matched only by George Knudson from 1961-72.
Weir was born in 1970 so he has no recollections of Knudson. When he was picking up the game as a boy in Ontario, the top names in golf in Canada were Dave Barr, Dan Halldorson and Richard Zokol. They combined to win four times on the PGA TOUR.
“You know this was before the internet but I looked at the newspaper and the Canadian guys were always highlighted if they were in the top 20, and even if the guys weren’t playing so well all the Canadians were still listed,” said Weir, who makes his PGA TOUR Champions debut in his home country at next week’s Shaw Charity Classic in Calgary, Aug. 13-15. “Dave Barr, Dan Halldorson, Richard Zokol … those are the guys I always kept my eye on.
“When I turned pro and played the Canadian Tour I played with them once in a while. I’ve always looked to the great Canadian players of the past and listened and learned. They were great to be around. Hopefully I can do that for the next generation behind me.”
There are some solid young Canadian players on the PGA TOUR, including Corey Conners, Mackenzie Hughes and Adam Hadwin. Each has one PGA TOUR victory under his belt; Conners is the highest among them in the FedExCup standings this year at No. 27.
"I remember watching him win the Masters in 2003," Conners said. "I was 11 years old. That kinda spurred me on to want to pursue golf a little more. Anytime I'm playing well he always sends a text. It means a lot getting messages from someone you look up to so much. It's really really special."
Weir, 51, is in his rookie season on PGA TOUR Champions, an extended, wraparound super-season because of the coronavirus pandemic. He has one win, four seconds and ranks eighth in the Schwab Cup standings.
Speaking of the pandemic, Weir unfortunately comes home to play in front of what will be severely limited fan attendance with cases on the rise in Western Canada.
“It feels really good to be playing at home,” said Weir, who arrived in Canada on Tuesday to begin preparation. “With the Shaw being canceled last year and the Canadian Open in 2020 and 2021 canceled, it has been a while since I was up in Canada to play. I’ve heard what a great event Shaw puts on. We’ll not able to do the things we’d like to do in Calgary as far as the city, but it will still be nice to get up north and get back to home.”
Weir has played well all season and easily could have more than the one win, in the rain-shortened Insperity Invitational. His iron play has been excellent (11th in greens in regulation) and his putter has been top notch (ninth in putting average).
“I feel very good about my game,” said Weir, who has been off for a month and said he feels ready to go for the rest of the season. “I’ve been working on some things that maybe held me back from winning more. Hopefully I’ve sharpened those up and if I’m in position again these things will get me over the top. You know, this is my first year on the Champions Tour, and the guys play well and practice hard. The top guys are all playing well. You have to win or finish in the top three to make any headway at all. I’m gonna have to play well if I want to win the Schwab Cup.”
Weir has been a bit wayward off the tee (54th in driving accuracy), and he mentioned not being satisfied with his short irons and chipping. That’s what he said has gotten the most work leading up to the Shaw.
“The short game has been the thing. That’s what’s held me back,” Weir said. “Chipping and pitching. I’ve had a few loose chip shots and bunker shots that need to be a bit more tidy. I need to clean those up and tighten those up.”