These guys are (pretty) good

STEPHEN RIPLEY

, Last Updated: 8:59 AM ET

For a country with more golfers per capita than any other on the planet, Canada isn't exactly a links powerhouse.

Just look at this weekend's Presidents Cup -- probably the greatest assemblage of golfing talent this country has ever seen. If it wasn't for Gary Player's somewhat charitable selection of Mike Weir as a captain's pick, this would have marked the first time in the competition's history that the host country didn't have a player to cheer for.

It's not like Canadians are newcomers to the game. We had a head start on the Americans, having founded the continent's first club -- Royal Montreal, the site of the Presidents Cup -- 15 years before the first course was established in the U.S.

But in the 134 years since then, Canadian players have spent most of their time hacking out of the deep rough of obscurity. The 10 players below were able to find the fairway, but even their accomplisments -- a combined 40 PGA and LPGA victories, plus two majors -- look like the resume for a single great player, not an entire golfing nation.

On the bright side, have you ever seen Vijay Singh try to play hockey? He's terrible.

10. Dave Barr

This Craig Stadler lookalike didn't have the killer instinct of his more-accomplished doppleganger, racking up dozens of top-10 finishes but only two victories in 25 years on the PGA Tour. Other highlights included a second-place finish in the 1985 U.S. Open and a victory in the 2003 Royal Caribbean Golf Classic, making him the first Canadian to win on the Champions Tour.

9. Lorie Kane

Big Momma Kane really went to work in 2000, winning three times on the LPGA Tour, then following that up with another victory in 2001. But the popular Prince Edward Islander hasn't won since.

8. Stephen Ames

Based on his world ranking, Calgary's Trinidadian expat deserved a spot on the Presidents Cup team more than Weir. His career accomplishments are solid -- victories against the world's best golfers in the 2004 Western Open and the 2006 Players Championship -- but he's probably best known for being one of the most outspoken players on tour.

7. Stan Leonard

In the 1950s, Vancouver's Stan Leonard and Toronto's Al Balding were the Weir and Ames of their day. After a dominant career on the Canadian Tour, during which he won 40 times, Leonard graduated to the PGA Tour, where he won three events, including the 1960 Western Open.

6. Al Balding

A Second World War veteran, Balding became the first Canadian to win a PGA Tour event when he captured the 1955 Mayfair Inn Open. Two years later, he enjoyed one of the best seasons in Canadian golf history, compiling three PGA victories and finishing sixth on the money list. Balding's greatest feat may have occurred four years before his death, when he carded a 66 in a senior event ... a remarkable 12 shots lower than his age.

5. Marlene Stewart Streit

The first Canadian to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, Streit is one of the greatest amateurs in the history of women's golf. Along with her 11 Canadian ladies' amateur crowns, she is the only woman to win the national amateur championships of Canada, the U.S., Britain and Australia. Now in her 70s, Streit has continued to compete, winning the 2003 U.S. Senior Amateur, her fourth USGA-sanctioned title.

4. Moe Norman

He never won a single PGA Tour event, but "Pipeline Moe" is remembered by Lee Trevino, Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh and many others as perhaps the greatest ball striker in the history of the game. With his strange, short swing, mismatched clothes and painfully shy demeanour, Norman never quite fit in on the PGA Tour, but he dominated on his home soil, winning 55 Canadian Tour events.

3. Sandra Post

Post burst onto the pro tour at the age of 20, winning the 1968 LPGA Championship to become the youngest golfer and first Canadian to win a major title. She was named rookie of the year and went on to win seven more times on the LPGA Tour, along with 20 runner-up finishes.

2. George Knudson

Like fellow Canadians Leonard and Weir, Knudson overcame his small stature to compete with the big hitters on the PGA Tour. Between 1962 and 1971, the Winnipegger compiled eight PGA victories and also captured the 1968 World Cup, partnering with Al Balding.

1. Mike Weir

With three wins in 2003, including the Masters, the lefty from Bright's Grove, Ont., appeared poised to shatter Knudson's record for PGA Tour wins by a Canadian. But with just one victory since -- bringing his total to seven -- Weir has faltered over the past few years. Now finally injury-free and sporting a new swing, it looks like Weir is ready to recapture the form which saw him vault as high as third in the world rankings.


Videos

Photos