Throngs expected for Weir homecoming

JOHN HERBERT -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:18 PM ET

The green jacket and the Masters champion are coming home. Canadian golfer Mike Weir, the pride of Bright\'s Grove, returns home tonight for the first time since winning the Masters at Augusta National.

Weir is making his homecoming for tomorrow\'s ninth annual Mike Weir-Dino Ciccarelli Charity Golf Classic.

Attendance is expected to balloon to as many as 5,000 spectators from an average 1,500 in previous years, thanks to Weir\'s history-making Masters win and the trophy green jacket he\'ll be bringing home.

\"He\'s looking forward to it and seeing friends,\'\' said brother Jim Weir, who chairs the tournament at Weir\'s childhood home course, Huron Oaks Golf Club.

While Weir -- who has won more than $4 million this season -- is home, Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley will announce the city is renaming Huron View Park to Mike Weir Park in recognition of the PGA star\'s big win.

Admission to the golf tournament is free, but Jim Weir said the Sunshine Dreams For Kids -- the major charity -- will set up a donation booth.

\"I know they would appreciate people being generous,\" he said.

This year, with the huge throngs of fans expected, the course is roped to keep crowds off the fairways and greens.

Weir will sign autographs on the golf course between shots and on tees and greens during his five-hour round.

\"It\'s kind of an unknown how many will come out,\" Jim Weir said. \"If we had ticket sales, we\'d know. This year, we are preparing for 5,000. That\'s just totally a guess.\"

Other celebrities signed up include seven former Detroit Red Wings such as Paul Coffey and Adam Oates, Sarnia-born astronaut Chris Hadfield and musical duffers such as Tom Cochrane, the Tragically Hip and Emm Gryner.

The fabled green Masters jacket is actually a loaner -- the real one Weir won is permanently stored at Augusta.


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