w/ Chris Stevenson, The Rideau View Golf Insider
Before heading off to New York to try to help the Internationals win the Presidents Cup in a couple of weeks, 2003 Masters champ Mike Weir was at Rideau View Golf Club Sunday and Monday for his 11th annual Miracle Golf Drive For Kids to benefit CHEO.
Weir, whose tournament has raised more than $6 million in 10 years to benefit Canada’s sick kids, will be an assistant captain under Nick Price for the Presidents Cup Sept. 26-Oct. 1 at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J.
“Starting to feel it now as we get closer and now that the team is finalized the juices are starting to flow,” said Weir, who helped Price round out the team with captain’s picks Emiliano Grillo of Argentina and India’s Anirban Lahiri.
“We’ve been talking among the captains about potential teams. The guys are very motivated, no doubt, being so close last time in Korea. I think there’s a lot of guys on the team from last time and they’re motivated.”
The Internationals lost to the United States 15-1/2 to 14-1/2 in 2015. The United States leads the competition 8-1-1 with the Internationals lone win coming in 1998 in Australia.
Weir, who has a 13-9-2 record in five Presidents Cup appearances – including a singles win over Tiger Woods at Royal Montreal in 2007 – is one of four assistants to Price along with Ernie Els, Geoff Ogilvy and Tony Johnstone.
Weir will be joined on the team by Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., who finished 10th in the standings and captured the last automatic spot.
Weir said if Hadwin has the same experience he did, Hadwin will be a better player for it.
“I’m super happy to see Adam get in there. To me, I not only feel it helps your career playing with great players, the confidence level you can gain from it is huge,” Weir said. “My first time playing, how confident I felt after that and playing well, playing with guys and feeling accepted by guys I looked up to for a long time.
“Playing guys on the other side that for me, I hadn’t played a lot. It was my second year on Tour, so I hadn’t played with a lot of the guys, but to play with them and beat them, those things gave me a lot of confidence.”
Taking Down Tiger
Weir, who won eight times on the PGA Tour, said his win over Woods in the ’07 Presidents Cup in a home game gave him a boost when his career needed it.
“That was huge at that stage of my career. I was 37 at the time and done some great things and that was just a really special time to do that in Canada. It was almost, I wouldn’t say bookends, but to win my first event in Vancouver in Canada on the PGA Tour (in 1999) and then to win that event against Tiger, it was a bit bittersweet because we didn’t win as a team, I would say it did some great things,” he said.
“I won the Fry’s tournament maybe within a couple of weeks after winning that so there are a lot of benefits and boost that you can gain from these type of team events.”
Weir doesn’t have status on the PGA Tour and has played five events on the European Tour, making the cut in two of the past three, including a tie for 35th at the Fiji International Aug. 20.
Weir was nursing a sore back Monday as he warmed up for his charity event.
“Health wise has been a little bit of a struggle,” said the 47-year-old. “I had been feeling really good until Fiji and then I’ve been battling a bad back. Since Fiji, I hadn’t touched a club for two weeks until (Sunday). My back’s been quite bad. I played 18 holes (Sunday) and felt okay today warming up. I was just kind of feeling it out and once I warmed up there, I felt okay to hit driver. I was thinking ‘am I going to hit past a sand wedge today?’ It’s kind of hit and miss a little bit right now.
“But my game has been feeling pretty good. I’m feeling a lot better with things.”
Weir will turn 50 in 2020 and said the PGA Tour Champions circuit is definitely in his plans.
“I definitely want to play out there,” he said. “There’s a great crop of guys going in when I go in. (Phil) Mickelson turns 50 that year. So does Ernie (Els), so does Jim Furyk. It’s an exciting time that year that guys I’ve competed against for a long time, we’re all turning 50 at the same time which is kind of cool.”
Juniors Deliver For CHEO
The proceeds from Miracle Golf Drive For Kids at Rideau View will be put towards the purchase of a neonatal transport incubator at CHEO and bring Weir closer to his goal of $10 million raised for children’s hospitals in Canada.
As part of the event at Rideau View, 80 juniors raised about $27,000 on Sunday before the main event kicked off on Monday.
“To see the junior component the last few years we’ve kicked in here is really cool,” Weir said. “That’s really special to get the kids involved, to get them involved for the kids who might be less fortunate than they are. It gives them a great perspective, as well.”
(Ed. Note – The 2017 Mike Weir Miracle Golf Drive For Kids raised $285,479, the Mike Weir Foundation added another $100,000 and Telus contributed $25,000 so the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario can purchase their neonatal transport incubator.)
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