Parental discretion is strongly advised. Canadians ' listen up.
I am truly sick of this! Here I am, a member of the golf media, a broadcast journalist who tries his darndest to respect the players, the game and its heartiest of fans, and all I seem to read lately is a steady diet of e-mails and discussion board messages about the lack of respect shown to Canadian hero, Masters champion, and one hell of a good guy ' namely, Mike Weir.
This whole thing hit a boiling point with me the other night as I was watching television in my hotel room in Miami. Im laying around, innocently watching highlights of Weir hitting knockdown wedges to the basket from center court at a BYU Cougars' game and couldnt help but think that while it was really great stuff, there might just be some who were less than satisfied.
Was I right? Cmonyou know who you are. You were saying, If that were Tiger, theyd show him walking out onto the court before he hit the wedges, then theyd show him hit each and every shot, then theyd show him walk off to a loud ovation and sit back down in his seat.
Well, here I am covering the Ford Championship at Doral, actually wishing that Weir was here. Why? His run has been nothing short of spectacular.
For those whove shortchanged a star - here are the facts:
Weir has gone from Q-School medalist (1998) to Masters champion in very short order. Thats a huge story.
In his first full year on the PGA Tour (1999), he won the Air Canada Championship. That was a huge story.
In his second full year on the PGA Tour (2000) he won the World Golf Championship American Express Championship ' beating the best in the world. That was a huge story.
In his third full year on the PGA Tour (2001) he won the Tour Championship ' beating the tours elite money winners. That was a huge story.
In his fourth year on the PGA Tour (2002) he ditched the pre-shot routine that wed come to know and expect, and also found his way out of sync and out of the elite group of PGA Tour winners. You know what, that was also a huge story.
In his fifth year on the PGA Tour (2003) he came back like a bulldog. The pre-shot routine was back, and so too was Weirsy. After winning the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, he was ninth in Phoenix, third at Pebble Beach, a winner again at the Nissan Open and just weeks later he won The Masters.
That was a huge story. Check that. That was a really huge story!
And now, here we are in 2004. Weirs a winner already, having won the Nissan Open yet again, and seems like a pretty solid choice to successfully defend his title at Augusta. Yetall I seem to read is letters about how Mike doesnt get the respect he deserves, and e-mails shouting The networks never show Mike, and chat room catcalls like, Weir just shot 66 and they didnt show him at all on the back nine.
I have to be honest. Im growing very Weiry of it!
I, for one, love Canada. Ive been to Montreal. Ive been to Toronto twice. Ive been to two Blue Jays games at the Skydome and some day I really want to go to Vancouver and Whistler. Heck, I bought my son Trent a Blue Jays jersey which he proudly wears to Little League practice (even though were the Pirates) and he has an autographed Maple Leafs sweater/jersey with No. 7, given to him by Gary Roberts who showed me a great time on his golf course. My kid loves hockey by the way and plays like he was born in Kitchner or a member of the Kamloops team. Ken Hitchcock is one of my favorite coaches in professional sports.
Journalistic ethics aside, I, for one, am also a very big fan of Mike Weir. I was there when he earned medalist honors at Q-school. I interviewed him at Medinah when he made noise at the PGA Championship. I was really happy to see him win the Masters. And you know why? Its because he won it for many more folks than just himself. To quote Stuart Scott of ESPN (which pains me terribly) he represents!
Canadians are a passionate bunch. You make people feel welcome. You say hello, when you might not expect it. You are hospitable when you dont always have to be. And you write e-mails, and call golf talk shows like no other group has ever, or will ever do. And your dedication to the Sprint Pre and Post game shows is unmatched.
Heres my take. Mike Weir is one classy cat. Hes polished, polite and very productive when it comes to golf. But guess what. Hes not the one who has anything to prove! Hes already done it.
Its just my opinion. But I think its up to the networks and the network of golf media to prove to us that Weir is somebody that we ought to take more seriously. Your e-mails are on-target - Mikes airtime isnt on par with others. And there seems to be a certain reluctance to hoist Weirsy up on the same level as the likes of Woods or Els, Singh or Love.
But lets not get overworked about it. Instead, channel that energy into his run toward another major, or two, or more. Remember, golf is a very fickle sport. Dont be mad. Be happy. Realize what a great thing youve got going. Dont feel insecure. Feel safebecause for what its worth, I promise you Mike is a favorite among the media masses.
And, oh Canada, remember one other thing above all - you feisty bunch of golf fanatics - when all is said and done for Mike Weir, no matter whether or not we get to see his 8-iron into No. 11 that led to birdie while we do watch Tiger walking up the fairway at No. 15, only you Canadians can truly call Weir your hero, your role model, and above all, your very own.
We Americans have too many to choose from, which, for the record, makes me envious.
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann