Just call Weir a hacker

Mike Weir takes some time out of his busy week to take batting practice from Blue Jays GM J.P....

Mike Weir takes some time out of his busy week to take batting practice from Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi at the Rogers Centre Monday. Weir is in town for the PGA's Canadian Open. (Toronto Sun/Craig Robertson)

MARK KEAST -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:54 AM ET

At a touch over 5-foot-9 in height and about 155 pounds, you wouldn't expect golfer Mike Weir to be hammering baseballs to the warning track at the Rogers Centre.

But there he was yesterday, doing just that. A few long balls, anyway. It has been around 20 years since he played baseball.

Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi was tossing him pitches. Jays hitting coach Mickey Brantley was tossing him hitting tips.

Then Weir took the outfield to catch some fly balls.

"It was a conscious decision to do this," said Weir, taking some time away from the task at hand -- winning the Canadian Open championship, with play beginning Thursday at the Hamilton Golf and Country Club.

"I'm trying to not take (golf) as seriously as I used to. I'm still serious about the competition, but you have to take what the game gives you sometimes.

"There can be a lot of tough times, but you just have to slough it off."

Weir's personal trainer, Jeff Handler, at the Rogers Centre with his client yesterday, said he's all for the cross-training benefits of playing other sports. Weir also has a well-storied background in hockey.

The pressure on Weir to win the national championship builds as he ages.

"Nothing is worth gaining if there's no pressure," he said.

IN GREAT SHAPE

Weir, who's 36, said age doesn't weigh down on him much.

He said he's fitter now than when he was 26, and points to Tour rival Vijay Singh, 43, who looks to be playing near the top of his game again.

Perhaps the field for this year's Open will play more into Weir's hands.

Only four of the top 20 golfers according to the Aug. 28 world golf rankings -- Jim Furyk, Singh, Chris DiMarco and Trevor Immelman -- will be in Hamilton. Weir's ranking is No. 36.

Weir admitted yesterday he wasn't entirely in the loop about the quality of the playing field, or lack thereof.

"My brother told me it was coming together, with some better players," Weir said.

As most people now know, next year's scheduling of the Canadian Open -- July 23-29, the week after the British Open -- won't make recruiting players to come to Canada any easier.

But recruiting players and changing next year's date is a job for people like Bill Paul, Canadian Open tournament director, Weir said, adding he does what he can to promote the event whenever the topic comes up among Tour players in a clubhouse.

"I'm not out there every day, every week, talking it up," he said. "But when guys start talking about it, I'll chime in, giving them information, trying to persuade them to come."


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