Bell has Weir fans salivating
By CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun
They are both skinny guys with lots of energy.
Both are responsible for helping Southern Ontario shake off the effects of SARS.
Mick Jagger, make way for Mike Weir.
On the heels of the day-long concert highlighted by the finale by Jagger and the Rolling Stones comes word this year's Bell Canadian Open -- set for the Hamilton Golf and Country Club from Sept. 1-7 -- could be the most successful ever.
The presence of Weir is a big reason why.
His win at The Masters created a buzz around the Canadian Open and has made the event an attractive option for corporate buyers.
"Mike's win put a lot of people who were thinking about it over the top," said Bill Paul, the Canadian Open's tournament director. "The phone rang and rang (after The Masters). I can't believe the number of tickets we sold after Mike said he was playing (in the Canadian Open)."
Weir has already attracted a number of fans and the field looks like it will be strong despite the effects of the SARS outbreak and lingering fears among players and caddies.
"It was a concern of the players," said Paul, who attended the Western Open recently to try and line up players for the Open. "To be honest, it probably did have an impact. At The Memorial tournament (in May), players were asking, 'What's going on up there?' They thought there were people walking around with one arm and welts all over their faces."
Sunday's final round, as well as marquee and weekly tickets, are sold out for the tournament. Daily grounds tickets for Monday through Saturday are still available and can be ordered online at www.bell.ca/cdnopen or by calling 1-800-571-6736.
HEAR AND THERE: The region will be represented next week at the Canadian junior championships in Calgary by Matt McMahon of Brockville, Marc-Etienne Bussieres from Hull, Emilien Dupont of Vankleek Hill, Craig and Brad Revell of Kingston, Peter Sauerbrei of Kingston, Charles-Etienne Seguin of Buckingham, Alec Hubert of Pembroke and Thomas Westfall of Camelot ... The Canadian Junior Golf Association, meanwhile, has selected Ottawa's Allen River and Mark Coldham, Ryan Sevigny of Stittsville and Zhou Mengfei of Kanata to compete in the boys' 14-16 division at the Ping Canadian junior match play championships at the Horseshoe Valley Resort in Barrie. Ottawa's Wendell Touhey will be competing in the boys' 17-18 division ... Ottawa's Ashley Bickerton will be on the Quebec team at the CLGA's national junior championships beginning Tuesday at Royal Quebec.
TAP-INS: Tom Hossfeld of Rivermead emerged from a four-way tie to capture the OVGA's mid-amateur championship (40 and over) at Mont Ste-Marie. Hossfeld, Jean-Marc Denis of Mont Cascades, Greg Clarke of the Hunt and Mike Chevrier of Brockville all finished 18 holes with rounds of 75. The winners in the handicap divisions were: John Taylor of Upper Canada in the under-five group with a 76; David Saunders of Brockville with a 79 in the six-nine handicap category; Ian Donnelly of Mont Ste-Marie in the 10-13 group with an 80 and Ryan Gilchrist of Emerald Links with an 83 in the 14-20 group ... Jordan Bracken of Rideau View won the city and district junior match play championship on the 19th hole of his match with Sean O'Malley of Pembroke ... The juniors will be back at it again Tuesday with a Field Day at Metcalfe.
CHIP SHOTS: Manotick's Brad Fritsch moved up to 67th place, jumping 20 spots, on the Canadian Tour's Order of Merit with last week's T16 at the Victoria Open, good for $2,372.22. That brings his earnings this year on the CanTour to $5,622 ... Rookie Julian James of Ottawa is 144th on the Order of Merit.
19th HOLE: Bob Hope, who passed away last week, was the last of the Hollywood types to lend his name to an event on the PGA Tour. He had his favourite targets, including an ex-president, who had a control problem. "We have 51 golf courses in Palm Springs. He (Gerald Ford) never decides which course he will play until after the first tee shot," said Hope. "At least he can't cheat on his score -- because all you have to do is look back down the fairway and count the wounded."