Weir's assist scores big event

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:38 AM ET

MONTREAL -- Mike Weir has scored a second major victory in his golf career.

The little lefty from Bright's Grove brought Canada its first major title when he won the 2003 Masters.

Now he's helped deliver the 2007 President's Cup.

Thanks in large part to Weir's lobbying efforts, the international team competition between the U.S. and players from countries outside of Europe will be played at the Royal Montreal Golf Club Sept. 18-23, 2007.

"Pardon the smile on my face. I'm a little bit excited," said Weir, who, by the way, was named to his third Presidents Cup team yesterday and will face Team USA next month at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in northern Virginia.

He will be the "host pro" in two years' time here.

"The Masters is so special, but I'm really proud of this. It's been a long time I've wanted to be here and have this announcement. I'm so excited to announce this. I'm glad it's finally here," he said at a media conference also attended by PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem.

'MEANS SO MUCH'

"Being Canadian, to present this 2007 Presidents Cup, I can't quite put it into words. It means so much to me, to have this event, to showcase Canada, Canadian golf, Royal Montreal to the world, (to show) what a great golf nation we are. We're not just about hockey."

The Americans hold a 3-1 edge in the Presidents Cup, with 2003's event in South Africa winding up in a tie after a dramatic playoff between Ernie Els and Tiger Woods was called because of darkness.

Weir's performance in the 2000 Presidents Cup, in which he was 3-2 and the star of the international team with a singles win over Phil Mickelson, helped start building his reputation as a world- class player.

"What people might not know is in the last four years, since Mike became a member of the team on the international side, he has worked very hard to make this moment happen. I'm a very proud Canadian. I'm proud of this moment," said RCGA executive director Stephen Ross, who has worked as an official at the five Presidents Cups to date.

Weir's lobbying efforts and his influence on the movers and shakers were not lost on tournament chairman Mike Richards of Royal Montreal.

"We're thankful Mike Weir has become the international golf star that he is because otherwise, this event would not be coming to Canada," said Richards.

"Mike commands a great deal of respect among his fellow players on the PGA Tour," said Finchem, "and among all of us who work behind the scenes in the game ... in his own quiet way he has been a strong advocate, respectfully requesting that Canada be considered. I'd say his involvement in the evolution of the process has been very important, indeed."

Weir downplayed his role in landing what will be the biggest golf event this country has seen.

"I really pushed for the event to be here, let's just say that," said Weir.

"I really wanted it to come here."

The Americans will be happy, too. Some players have complained in the past that with either a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup taking over their Septembers every year, travelling halfway around the world to do it was about as welcome as a camera clicking in their backswings.

Hitting Montreal, which is known for its, umm, evening hospitality, will be the next-best thing to playing at home.

"This is an easy one, to just come up north at the end of the year," said Weir. "There's not going to be any complaining from the guys coming to play."

Richards said architect Rees Jones, known as "The Open Doctor," for his nipping and tucking of U.S. Open venues to defend against golf's gorillas, is halfway through his strengthening of Royal Montreal's Blue Course.

The front nine was done last fall and work on the back nine will be started next month. About 200 yards will be added to the course.

Ticket sales information for the 2007 event will be announced at the conclusion of this year's Presidents Cup. Selling the approximately 25,000 tickets a day shouldn't be a problem, given Canadian golf fans will be treated to an event that will be held outside of the U.S. for just the third time.

They can thank Weir for that.

He's shown he can handle narrow fairways and slick greens. Turns out he can hit it straight down the corridors of power, too.


Videos

Photos