Weir swings for Cup nod

IAN HUTCHINSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:04 AM ET

Canuck golf pros regard their national Open as the "fifth major" -- even if the PGA Tour frequently gives a different impression about where the Canadian Open stands on its own list of priorities.

The next four days at Angus Glen in Markham offer that one special time to play on home soil, but this year conceivably could be extra special with the prestigious Presidents Cup being played in September at Royal Montreal.

Whether a Canadian is asked to that dance depends on International team captain Gary Player, who must make the controversial call on which two players to select among those who didn't make it on points.

At this point, Mike Weir is the best bet to make the team after an eighth-place finish at the British Open. Weir and Stephen Ames currently stand 17th and 18th, respectively, in International team standings. The top 10 in points make it automatically.

Player has already stated that he intends to use his captain's picks on those with the hottest hands leading into the PGA Championship, so a solid performance by Weir on home turf, and in the next couple of weeks, may cement his spot on the team.

"I guess you'd have to ask Gary as far as where I stand in his mind. I have no idea," Weir said yesterday. "Where my game stands is good. I've played well the last few weeks, so I'd like to play well in the next three weeks and be in the top 10 by the end of it. That's my plan."

A super-human effort would be necessary to get Weir into that lofty group. It's possible, but not probable, so a captain's pick is more realistic.

Some have speculated that Player may soften his stand on who he will pick and go with a captain's pick from the host country. In that case, nobody would accuse Weir of being a pity pick, according to some peers.

"Not at all," said Jeff Sluman, who will serve as an assistant to American captain Jack Nicklaus at the Presidents Cup. "I wouldn't want to be in Gary's shoes, but if he picked Mike and/or Stephen, they're going to be great picks. They're both wonderful players and players who have a certain ability to rise to the occasion, especially in a format like this in their home country.

"It's going to be a very difficult decision for Gary and I know he would just love to see them play well in the next two or three weeks and then make the decision much easier."

Defending Canadian Open champ Jim Furyk agrees.

"I think that (Weir's) strong finish at the British Open definitely would help his chances," he said. "In the past, Gary hasn't always taken Nos. 11 or 12 (in the standings). He has gone down the list to take the South Africans when we were playing over there.

a very serious choice, put it that way. I would think that there is a good chance that he might get chosen," said Furyk, adding that Weir's game is tailor- made for Royal Montreal.

"He's got a real good game for a golf course like that. It's not a bomber's paradise. It's for a guy that can work his way around the golf course."

As much as he would like to play in the Presidents Cup, Weir says he plans to "not even really think about it."

"I'm not looking down the road," he said. "I'm focusing on this week and, hopefully, my play this week will kind of lead into next week and we'll be ready to go at the end of the PGA."


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