Wednesday, February 10th, 2010
At first blush, it might seem a bit too soon.
But the more you think about Mike Weir being inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame this summer, the more sense it starts to make.
Weir’s lasting legacy as a golfer was secured in Canada when he beat Len Mattiace in a playoff to win the Masters in 2003. Everything he’s achieved on the course since — two more PGA Tour wins, beating Tiger Woods at the Presidents Cup in Montreal — has simply added to his resume.
Any future successes will presumably fall into the same category.
In addition to that, the left-hander from Bright’s Grove, Ont., has spent the better part of a decade as the face of the sport in this country and undertaken a number of ventures that will extend his name and reach well beyond the golf course.
With the Canadian Open set to be played for the 100th time this July at Glen Abbey — the very place where the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame resides — the people in charge of the Hall decided the time was right to honour the country’s most accomplished professional of all-time.
“He has provided Canadians with many proud moments and has shown golfers in Canada there are no barriers to success in this great game,” chairman David Shaw said yesterday. “Although the Hall of Fame committee has no doubt that his achievements both on an off the golf course will continue, we believe … it is the right time to bestow this truly deserved honour on this man.”
Even Weir admits to being a little surprised when he first heard the news.
However, there is plenty of precedent in golf for players to be honoured in such a way during the course of their careers.
Vijay Singh is already a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, as are a number of active LPGA members.
In fact, Weir is only a 40th birthday and two more PGA Tour victories (or one major win) away from inclusion in that Hall himself.
That there is still more to achieve suits Weir just fine. The 38-year-old hopes to keep playing competitively for years to come.
“I’m far from being done,” he said. “My accomplishments up to this point are great and I’m very proud of them, but I’m still far away from being done.”
Even though his focus remains on playing the game, there’s no denying the growing number of interests he has outside of it.
Ultimately, those things might end up defining his legacy more than the inclusion in the Hall of Fame.
Weir’s newest initiative is a course design business that will see him work with Brantford, Ont., architect Ian Andrew — a partnership that was officially announced yesterday after a lengthy selection process. Those men have already made plans to create some affordable courses for young Canadians, giving them a chance to trace Weir’s own roots in the game.
He first played golf on a par-3 course at the local Holiday Inn in Sarnia before moving on to Huron Oaks, which provided a modest test as he started to progress in the game.
“I got used to scoring well on that golf course,” said Weir. “I remember shooting 63 when I was about 16 years old and getting used to that aspect of really making a lot of birdies.
“When your swing develops, you already have that mentality of not being scared of shooting 10-under par because you’ve been used to making those birdies.
“I think that’s a good progression for a kid.”
While he and Andrew also hope to create resort courses, they appear just as committed to public designs — if not more so.
It’s long been rumoured that Weir’s first course would be completed on a piece of land near Predator Ridge in Vernon, B.C., but that may not end up being the case. The debut project could actually be a place where golfers of all ages and abilities can play.
“We’re quite interested in the idea of developing a public facility for one of the cities,” said Andrew. “I think both of us have this soft spot for public golf. …
“There’s always the possibility that we might end up doing a public course first.”
If that were to happen, it certainly might raise a few eyebrows.
The same can be said of the announcement Weir is set to become the 64th member to enter the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame. While there are other worthy selections, each of those people will have to wait another year.
In the end, it’s really no surprise that Weir is on his way in — only that it will happen this summer.
That shouldn’t be a big problem as long as the Hall doesn’t list his career accomplishments in any permanent way.
“Hopefully that’s not the end of it,” said Weir. “Maybe we can keep open space for a continuation.”
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