Nurturing his roots

STEVE BUFFERY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:04 AM ET

If Mike Weir or Stephen Ames can't break the 53-year-old home country jinx at the Canadian Open, perhaps Jeff Sluman -- whose parents are both from Canada -- would be the next best thing.

The Rochester, N.Y., native, who was named as an assistant yesterday to U.S. Presidents Cup captain Jack Nicklaus, at least feels like an honorary Canuck.

"My dad was born here in Toronto and my mom was born up in North Bay," Sluman said yesterday. "So, all of our trips from Rochester, where I grew up, were always to Toronto and then up to North Bay.

"That is one of the reasons that I hold the Canadian Open dear to me. And I come here as often as I can."

Sluman finished tied for fifth at the 1991 Open at Glen Abbey and tied for ninth in 2002, also at Glen Abbey.

"Well, I came close a few times. But maybe it is the Canadian blood," said Sluman, who will turn 50 on Sept. 11.

"It looks like Mike is playing real well now. He had a great British Open and, I don't know, do you consider Stephen Ames a Canadian? Yes? Well, he is obviously in contention also for the International Team."

GETTING 'FAT'

Mark Calcavecchia, the 2005 Canadian Open champion, has suffered from various ailments over the years, including recent back problems, but pronounced himself fit and ready to go this week.

Calcavecchia actually used the word "fat" to describe himself since his back woes slowed him down in the past few years.

"Sitting at home is brutal on me," said the 12-time PGA Tour winner. "I just go straight from the recliner to the refrigerator about every 20 minutes. I go see what else is new in the refrigerator. Like something's going to miraculously pop in there from the last time.

"So I need to get on the road and get some exercise," he added. "It feels good walking up and down these hills and getting a little workout. I don't do it a home, I'll tell you that."


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