Weir preparing for his induction to Canadian Golf Hall of Fame

Mike Weir’s career is about to come full circle.

FILE--Mike Weir of Canada hits from the 18th tee during the second round of the Open golf tournament

Mike Weir’s career is about to come full circle.

The lefty from Bright’s Grove, Ont., will return to his hometown on Saturday for a ceremony that has been decades in the making. Weir is set to be inducted to the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame during a reception at Huron Oaks, the golf course where he honed his game as a kid.

Even now, 20 years and eight PGA Tour victories later, it remains a special place for him.

“It’s where it all kind of began for me,” Weir said Wednesday on a conference call. “It’s an opportunity to share this moment with a lot of friends, family and a lot of people that have been very supportive of my career. I’m really looking forward to it.”

The ceremony will include speeches from those close to Weir and the unveiling of his plaque, which will be housed in the Hall on the grounds of Glen Abbey in Oakville, Ont.

It will also be an opportunity to tell some stories about his time at Huron Oaks. Weir spent most of his summers there as a teenager — not only practising and playing the game, but also working at the course.

During those years, Weir’s parents Rich and Rowie always knew where to find their son.

“It was fun place to go practice and play and go to work,” said Weir. “You know, I was just a golf rat. I was just out there all the time, that’s where I wanted to be. I’m sure my parents were pretty happy about that, they didn’t have to worry about me too much in the summer — that’s just where I wanted to be.”

When it was first announced that Weir would be inducted, there was some discussion about the ceremony being held in July during the week of the RBC Canadian Open.

However, the more Weir thought about it, the more he wanted to have it in a place that was symbolic to him and at a time when he could truly relax and enjoy it. The Canadian Open week is already the busiest of his year — he hosts a celebrity charity event on the Monday and then spends the rest of the time in the spotlight while trying to end a long drought by becoming a homegrown champion.

“It would have been too much to (have the ceremony and) then try to focus on the golf tournament,” said Weir.

The PGA Tour is currently in the midst of its brief off-season.

Some have questioned the timing of Weir’s induction since he still expects to have several years of competitive golf ahead of him. He’ll turn 40 next year — still relatively young by golf standards — and made it clear that he doesn’t view this as a lifetime achievement award.

“It’s a great honour,” said Weir. “It’s been a lot of hard work over a lot of years. I don’t want to feel like I’m being put out to pasture, but it is a great honour. Hopefully, I can just add to it as my career goes along here.”

Hall director Karen Hewson was quick to point out that there would be room to add additional accomplishments to his plaque.

“You’re going to have to keep room there for sure,” said Weir.

He’s just one tournament victory away from his next major accomplishment. Weir’s eight tour wins is tied with George Knudson for the most by a Canadian.

A good measure of his success is the amount of time he’s been among the top players on tour. It was just 11 years ago that he was battling through qualifying school and now he sits 11th on the PGA Tour’s career earnings list with more than US$26 million.

Weir believes it wouldn’t have been possible if not for all the support he’s received away from the course — from wife Bricia and their two daughters, brothers Jim and Craig, caddie Brennan Little, Brad Pelletier and his staff at IMG, and many others.

“They’ve just done an unbelievable job keeping everything organized so that I can focus on golf,” said Weir. “That’s always been my main concern, delegating those responsibilities to people that can handle that and put my mind at ease so I’m not thinking about that stuff while I’m playing golf. I can’t speak enough about the job they’ve done behind the scenes.”

While Weir’s long-term impact on Canadian golf remains to be seen, the initial results appear to be good. The game continues to grow in this country with support from organizations like the RCGA, CPGA and Canadian Tour, and nine Canadian players will tee it up in the final stage of Q-school next week.

They’ll be looking to join Weir, Calgary’s Stephen Ames and Chris Baryla of Vernon, B.C., on tour.

“You can just see the progress,” said Weir. “It’s great to see that many guys. When I was going through, there might be one or two of us in that final stage. Now to see eight or nine guys, is great. The odds are in our favour that there’s going to be hopefully two or three more guys besides Chris Baryla out there next year.”

Another up-and-comer actually played at Huron Oaks as a kid and grew up in the same hometown as Weir.

Matt Hill is the reigning NCAA men’s champion and is a player that Weir has his eye on. The 21-year-old is currently a junior at North Carolina State.

“I think he’s going to do some great things,” said Weir.

At least one former Huron Oaks regular already has. It’s been more than a year since Weir has been able to visit the course so he’s looking forward to being on the property again this weekend.

“I don’t get back as often as I’d like, that’s for sure,” said Weir.

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