It is a privilege to play with him. According to Wayne Gretzky, that is what it feels like to play golf with Mike Weir, as he has for the last three years in the RMCC Wayne Gretzky and Friends Invitational, and as he will again, only this time on the PGA Toutr.
The two will be partnering this week at the 2003 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro - Am.
It all started after the 99 PGA Championship, when Weir was in the hunt on the final day with Tiger Woods, and ended up shooting an 80 to finish with a share of 10th place. Mike's disappointment with his performance turned into a challenge, when he received a motivating phone call from The Great One - Gretsky.
Gretzky related his own experience with frustration and loss while competing for the Stanley Cup, when his team lost to the Islanders in a 4-0 sweep. This experience only made Edmonton want the cup even more, as the Oilers learned from their mistakes and came back stronger than ever in 1984 to win the Stanley Cup.
Two weeks later, Weir won his first title on Canadian soil, at the 1999 Air Canada Championship.
In the summer of 2000, Gretzky hosted the inaugural Wayne Gretzky and Friends Invitational, a charity golf tournament for the Ronald McDonald Childrens Charities. This was the first time Mike and Wayne played golf together, although Wayne was competing against Mike, with the help of Brett Hull and Mario Lemieux.
'The crowd was rooting for Mike,' Gretzky said. 'And we're in hockey country. What Mike has done for golf in Canada is like what Tiger has done in the States. Not only the way he plays, but the way he carries himself. He says he wanted to be me when he was a kid. Well, I'm not so young anymore, and I'd like to be him.'
Mike is looking forward to playing with Wayne in Pebble Beach: 'After having played golf against Wayne at the RMCC Gretzky and Friends the last few years in Canada, it will be nice to be on his team. Hopefully he can assist and score as well as he did as a hockey player!'
Since its inception in 1937, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am has become one of the most highly anticipated events on the PGA Tour. Celebrities such as Ray Romano, Orel Hershiser, Kevin Costner, Andy Garcia, Bill Murray, Joe Pesci, James Woods, Randy Quaid, Vince Gill, and Jerry Rice have been some of the stars to compete in the past.