Player counting on Weir

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:01 AM ET

MONTREAL -- Mike Weir hasn't been making much noise in the world of golf lately, but his numbers in the Presidents Cup speak loudly.

Gary Player and Ian Baker-Finch, the captain and assistant captain for the International team at Cup, are listening.

When it comes to this event and American Phil Mickelson, Weir is the man.

So the Canadian lefty, 4-1 against his fellow southpaw, will be on the tee with partner Vijay Singh against Mickelson and Woody Austin this afternoon in Match 2 of foursomes.

"I think Weirsy has Mickelson's number," said Baker-Finch. "It's proven. I don't know if Phil feels it, but I know Mike does."

Now Mickelson, ranked second in the world, is usually a pretty popular guy, no matter where he goes. More than a few of his peers think he's a phony -- his nickname among some of them apparently is FIGJAM ('Bleep' I'm Good, Just Ask Me), but fans love him.

Not today. Not here.

Mickelson will be the second-most popular lefty in the match. How will that feel?

"I think the Canadians love left-handed golfers," cracked Mickelson, who was sketchy on his history with Weir.

Told Weir's record against him is 4-1, Mickelson said: "Against me? Well, there you go. They have to keep riding that out until me or we are able to change that. We'll see if we can do that."

Player and Baker-Finch were liking their chops when American captain Jack Nicklaus threw out the names of Mickelson and Austin for the second match of today's foursomes (alternate shot) play.

RECORD A FACTOR

Unlike the Ryder Cup, where the matchups are drawn out of a hat, the captains here take turns putting a team on the table; the other captain then chooses his team to oppose them.

Weir is 2-0 in foursomes, 1-1 in four-ball and 1-0 in singles against Mickelson.

Player was asked if Weir's record against Mickelson was a factor in putting him up against Mickelson. While Player waffled, Baker-Finch sat beside him nodding his head "yes."

Weir and Singh are an unlikely duo. A little Canadian and a big Fijian.

They played together in South Africa in 2003 in foursomes and lost 5-and-4 to Jim Furyk and Justin Leonard.

"We gel well. We play the same ball (Titleist) and we'll be a good team," said Weir. "He has supported and won the Canadian Open over the years and he has a lot of support up here."

The Weir-Singh combo is also interesting given Singh denied Weir a coveted Canadian Open win in 2004 in a playoff.

All of Canada was behind Weir that day. Singh took what Weir desperately wanted that day on Canadian soil.

Now they will team up.

Singh said he's hoping Canadians will pick him up today.

"I hope so. Actually, this week we're all Canadians," said Singh, referring to the International team members. "I love playing with Mike. He's one of the most popular sports persons in Canada. He's a good friend of mine. I've played a lot of golf with him. I'm looking forward to it."

Player and Baker-Finch are carefully managing Weir and his potential as a rallying point for the crowd. There are six countries represented on the International side, so it can be difficult to get fans, whether it's in Canada or South Africa or Australia, to jump on the bandwagon the way they would for their own national team.

The Americans always have a big advantage playing at home and Player and Baker-Finch are trying to get close to the same edge.

PUMP UP CROWD

If Weir can get on a roll and get the crowd pumped up, it will a huge boost for the Internationals.

Player, meanwhile, was working it yesterday. He called Weir to stand beside him when the players were introduced at the opening ceremonies and Weir got a huge ovation from the crowd.

The simple truth is the only way for Player to maximize the benefit of his captain's pick here is for Weir to win, something he hasn't done very often lately.


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