Support for Weir Never Changes

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MONTREAL -- Jack Peter, the amiable chief operating officer of the World Golf Hall of Fame, was jokingly dubbed Jacques Pierre on his first visit to this French-speaking city, which also has a variety of other cultures that add to its unique charm.
 
On Wednesday, Peter had commented on the warm, sunny conditions at Royal Montreal, adding that it wasnt much different than when he left St. Augustine, Fla. He spoke too soon.
 
As the Presidents Cup was about to get serious on Thursday, the skies opened and, just when it seemed that the deluge was over, another downpour started.
 
Suddenly, it seemed like what Canada should be in late September, with the changing leaves providing a touch of color against the gray skies and a slight chill in the air. Still, some Canadians, as they are known to do in holding on to summer too long, wore shorts.
 
It turns out that wasnt a bad call in attire after all because it became almost balmy in the afternoon when lone Canadian Mike Weir joined forces with Vijay Singh to take on Phil Mickelson and Woody Austin in opening day foursomes.
 
With the precipitation finished, the rain that came down on Weir was in the form of applause when he appeared on the first tee, but even though he is the home boy, generous helpings of cheers were also doled out to Singh, International captain Gary Player and his American counterpart Jack Nicklaus.
 
Golf is no different in Canada where the patrons at Royal Montreal only want to see outstanding golf, be it a shot from Mickelson, Singh, Austin or Weir.
 
Even Mickelsons wife seemed to have a fan club, with fans hollering Amy! Amy!' as she walked the fairways alongside her hubby.
 
The fans were fantastic, said Charles Howell III. They cheered a little louder for the Internationals, but they also seemed to be cheering for the Americans, as well. I thought it was fantastic.
 
The spirit was fitting for the goodwill nature of the Presidents Cup, but have no doubt about it, Weir is the favored son in Montreal, where the cheers for him ranged from Mike to Mikey to Weirsy, with the occasional Lefty thrown in for good measure.
 
Weir doesnt give anything back on the golf course, which is okay by Canadian fans who understand that he is focused between the ropes. Tiger Woods knows more than anybody about what Weir faces when he plays in Canada.
 
When youre playing, one of the things that my dad always taught me is that no one ever takes a shot but you, no matter what anyone says or does. You have to pull off the shot, said Woods.
 
Is it fantastic that people root for you? Yeah. Or they could root against you. Your responsibility is to hit a golf shot and putt it where you want to putt it.
 
What I think is great is sometimes, when youre down and youre not really playing well and people are cheering you on, sometimes I can turn things around because you feed off their energy.
 
Also, if youre playing really well, you can get into a snowball effect and get into a frenzy and really get going. Weve seen that in individual play, weve seen it in team play in Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups. Fan energy certainly adds to an event and it brings up our caliber of play, just because of the energy that is out there.
 
Weir, by nature is not an overly demonstrative person, but his fans understand and point to the gentle nature they see when he is interviewed on television. Thats the Weir they appreciate.
 
He plays good. Hes really nice, said Alexander Sylvestre, 7, who was standing on the ninth hole with his dad Louis-Philippe and sister Marie-Eve when Weirs match came through.
 
Dad expanded on that thought. Hes a classy guy. Every time we see him on the interviews, hes always well-spoken, so hes a good ambassador for our country and for golf in general, said Louis-Philippe, adding that there was a definite Weir buzz in the gallery.
 
We just saw it on this hole. He arrived and people were following him. In certain ways, we know this tournament is here because of him. He made some efforts to get it here and were very happy for that.
 
So Weir not only provided Canadas greatest moment in golf by winning the 2003 Masters, but also played a part in enabling them to see the best the PGA TOUR has to offer, which isnt an everyday occurrence with the Canadian Open falling on hard times and hurting for marquee names every year.
 
Canadian fans are appreciating the presence of golfs top names, thanks to Weirs efforts. I like Phil Mickelson because he gave my sister a ball, said Alexander.
 
So, its little wonder that they cheered when Weir was first named to the team, despite his struggles the past few seasons, and when he represented Canada on home soil yesterday. After a three-week layoff since his last tournament, Weirs play was as unpredictable as the weather, running both hot and cold.
 
Weir and Singh went two-down on the first three holes, but evened it up again on the sixth where Weir made a dramatic approach shot. They were 2-up by the turn and pushed that to 3-up by the 11th before Mickelson and Austin made a charge of their own.
 
The match finished all square, a disappointment considering the commanding lead the Internationals once held, but something positive in that the half point was the best the team could do on a day of American domination.
 
When it comes to Weir, most Canadians will look at the positive, even when his fortunes change as quickly as the weather.
 
This years been tough for him, but hes starting to come back and were all proud, said Louis-Philippe Sylvestre.
 
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Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Presidents Cup
     
    Toronto Sun Editor's Note: Ian Hutchinson is golf columnist for the Toronto Sun and senior writer for Pro Shop Magazine, a Canadian golf trade publication, and Canadian Golfer Magazine. He is also a frequent contributor to Golf Scene and Golf Canada Magazine, the official magazine of the Royal Canadian Golf Association.