Induction key to Weir's future

IAN HUTCHINSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:34 AM ET

Mike Weir made it clear that he wasn't being "put out to pasture" with his induction into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame on Saturday at Huron Oaks in Bright's Grove.

Any other career accomplishments have been considered enhancements, but some have opined that Weir's induction at the young age of 39 somehow suggests he is ready for grazing, despite prime years ahead.

Just to set his mind at ease, hall officials let him know that additions can be made to his record at any time, but the contributions Weir is still making are often not as black and white as wins and stats.

Others have entered the hall at young ages and gone on to impressive on-course accomplishments afterwards, their inductions, perhaps emphasizing their influence on generations coming up.

From this vantage point, Weir sealed the deal on his ticket into the Canadian hall with his Masters win six years ago, so nothing changes in his own career now that his induction is official.

While his name is now included with George Knudson, Dan Halldorson, Marlene Streit and Sandra Post, who went before him, he also has a connection to those coming behind him, perhaps the nine Canadians heading to the final stage of PGA Tour qualifying school, which gets underway this week in Florida.

Trying their luck there are Jon Mills (Belleville), Keven Fortin-Simard (Quebec City), Graham DeLaet (Weyburn, Sask.), Ted Brown (Peterborough), David Hearn (Brantford), Barrett Jarosch (Edmonton), Julien Trudeau (Montreal), Dustin Risdon (Calgary) and Chris Baryla (Vernon, B.C.).

Baryla has already clinched his PGA Tour card, but is looking to upgrade his status at final stage.

"It's great to see that many guys," said Weir, adding that he follows developing Canadians and has noticed a trend. "When I was going through, there might be one or two of us at final stage. The odds are in their favour that there are hopefully two or three more (new) guys besides Chris Baryla out there next year."

While there were talented Canadians when he was coming up, he says there's a deeper talent pool now. In his own inimitable fashion, he says he doesn't know how much of an influence he's had on them.

"I have no idea. You'd have to ask those guys if it's something they've looked to - hopefully, it is," said Weir.

So, let's ask a young guy, namely Matt Hill, the 2009 NCAA champion, who also hails from Bright's Grove

"For me, growing up and being at the same course, I actually always looked up to him," said Hill, adding that Weir proved to somebody with the same roots that he could also succeed.

"It's just really nice to have someone to root for and I know there are a lot of other guys who look up to him, as well. I can only speak for myself, but he's done a lot for golf in Canada and he's such a great guy, as well," said Hill, recalling the moment Weir brought the country together in 2003.

"I was at Huron Oaks actually and the whole inside of the clubhouse was packed and everybody was watching it. It was like everybody was part of the family there," said Hill.

"I don't really know too many other places that have experienced something like that," he said. "I'll always remember the place I was and who I was with and just the moment that it happened."

Six years later, Hill is on the verge of becoming the latest to carry on the Bright's Grove and Canadian tradition, but not the only one.

A hall of fame induction doesn't end a player's record or influence. It actually places more importance on what they do.

For that reason, nobody is retiring Weir. Only he will decide when the grazing begins.

HUTCHGOLF@NETZERO.COM


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