Eyes of a Nation Focused on Weir

By Golf Channel NewsroomSeptember 7, 2004, 4:00 pm
Its not always easy playing in your hometown. There are certainly the comforts of home, but there are also the added pressure of expectations and the dealings with family and friends ' and those who claim to be friends.
Sometimes, though, youre representing more than your hometown, maybe your home state, like Wisconsin Jerry Kelly at the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee. And that means more pressure.
Then there are those who represent an entire country, like Mike Weir.
The hopes of a golfing nation seem to rest solely on the narrow shoulders of one Mike Weir. Its not the same for someone like Ernie Els or Greg Norman. They represent their respective countries, but they also have very talented countrymen to help shoulder the hopes and expectations of their homelands.
Weir is the face of Canadian golf. Sure, theres Stephen Ames. But hes a naturalized citizen. Weir is the only Canadian-born player in the top 250 on the Official World Golf Ranking. David Hearn is the second highest ranked Canadian at 273rd.
Therefore, you can only imagine how much pressure Weir ' a major winner, nonetheless ' must face when playing his National Open. Or how huge it would be if he were to finally win it.
I can only control my own expectations. My expectations are really just to go out there, enjoy myself, play well and really not get ahead of myself, Weir said prior to last years event.
This week there's a little bit greater of a challenge to really stay with that and not let the expectations get too high because everybody else's are.
This week will mark the 14th time Weir has competed in the Bell Canadian Open. And hes gradually getting better.
Weir, whose maiden PGA Tour victory came in the 1999 Air Canada Open in Vancouver, missed the cut each of the first nine times he competed in this championship. He finally qualified for the weekend in 2000, finishing 70th. He then tied for 34th in 2001 and tied for 22nd the following year. Last year, he finished 10th.
This is the first professional tournament I had ever seen live. I remember going to Glen Abbey with a bunch of junior golfers. We went down; a friend of mine's dad drove us down. We walked, we watched the tournament. We watched a clinic that Andy Bean and Tom Kite gave. So I have great memories of the Canadian Open as a spectator, he said.

Now playing it, it will be that much more special to win it, from having those memories of even Monday qualifying when I was an amateur in college and getting in and playing for the first time to now, to the point I'm at now. So it would mean a great deal.
Weir's progression in this event could be attributed to the fact that he is continually getting better, and better able to handle the situation. Or maybe he just likes a change of venue. This years Bell Canadian will take place at Glen Abbey Golf Club (par 71, 7,212 yards) in Oakville, Ontario. Its the fourth different tournament host in as many years.
He may not like this change, however, as this is where eight of his nine missed cuts have occurred.
Weir got off to a good start this season, successfully defending his title in the Nissan Open and recording two other top-5 finishes. But since his repeat at Riviera in February, he has only two top-10s -- at the U.S. Open (T4) and British Open (T9), and five missed cuts. He missed only one cut last season, and missed just seven cuts combined from 2001-2003.
Glen Abbey is no stranger to the event; it has played host to 22 of the last 27 Canadian Opens.
The other three courses to be used over the last 27 years are Royal Montreal (1980, 1997 and 2001), Angus Glen (2002) and Hamilton Golf and Country Club (2003).
Bob Tway won last years edition in Hamilton, Ontario. He defeated Brad Faxon on the third playoff hole. It was the second consecutive playoff for the tournament, which had John Rollins defeat Neal Lancaster and Justin Leonard in extra holes in 2002.
This is the 95th edition of the event, which was first played in 1904. No tournaments were held in 1915-18, due to World War I, nor in 1943-44, due to World War II.
The last Canadian to win was Pat Fletcher in 1954.
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