Weir teeing up for kids' hospitals

JOHN HERBERT -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:47 AM ET

Former Masters champion Mike Weir is adding another "major" to his golf schedule next summer.

The PGA Tour star from Bright's Grove will unveil plans today for the Mike Weir Miracle Golf Drive for Kids at London's Sunningdale Golf and Country Club on June 25.

Weir is teaming up with the Children's Miracle Network in a coast-to-coast effort to raise money for 14 children's hospitals in Canada, including the Children's Hospital of Western Ontario in London.

Money raised in London through Weir's visit will stay in London.

Weir -- who is in Ancaster for this week's Canadian Open at the Hamilton Golf and Country Club -- likely would not return to London for some time after playing Sunningdale next year.

He plans to play a course in each of the cities in which the 14 children's hospitals are.

A website dedicated to the Mike Weir Golf Drive For Kids will encourage Canadians to participate in a variety of fundraising activities, including online donations and pledge-based fundraising.

Weir's appearance at Sunningdale means changes for the existing Children's Golf Classic for the Children's Health Foundation, which has been in operation for 17 years and raised $1.5 million.

Debbie Comuzzi, president of the Children's Health Foundation, said the existing tournament and the new one with Weir will be rolled "into one huge tournament."

She said it is too early to speculate on how much the event will raise next year, but she expects the amount could at least double.

Also doubling could be the entry fee of $350 and the field, she said.

"This is going to be big for London."

A couple of years ago, Weir scrapped the Mike Weir-Dino Ciccarelli Charity Classic that carried his name for 10 years and had raised $500,000.

The final tournament featured Wayne Gretzky and raised about $125,000, but it cost almost as much in celebrity costs and expenses.

Saying the amount was only half of what organizers were expecting, Weir said he understood some people would be disappointed if the tournament was scrapped.

He promised a bigger and better event to raise money for the Mike Weir Foundation, which focuses on improving the lives of children.

Weir said he believed he could do even more for children in his hometown and Lambton County, who are served by the London hospital.


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