Mike Weir has finished second in nine tournaments during his 22-plus years on the PGA Tour, among them a loss at the 2004 Canadian Open that probably still stings.
The Bright’s Grove, Ont., native began the final round on that memorable Sunday at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ont., with a three-stroke lead over Vijay Singh, only to watch his relentless opponent sink a clutch eight-foot birdie putt on the tournament’s 72nd hole to force a playoff.
The Canadian and Fijian both went birdie-bogey on the first two holes of the playoff before Weir blinked on the par-5 18th hole. After misfiring on his tee shot, he splashed his third shot into the water lining the 18th hole, giving Singh two putts to claim his seventh victory of the season.
"I feel for Mike," Singh told reporters after denying Weir the chance to become the first Canadian golfer since Pat Fletcher in 1954 to win his national championship. "He wanted to win this tournament really badly."
Nothing has changed nine years later, as far as Weir’s desire to win on Canadian soil or Fletcher’s long-standing achievement.
But for the first time in recent memory, there is plenty of talk that Fletcher soon could have company.
Weir is playing better now than he did all of last year when he missed the cut in all 14 tournaments he played. He turned in a 28th-place showing at the U.S. Open last month and 27th-place finish at the recent John Deere Classic.
Weir will tee it up in Thursday’s first round at the Abbey at 1:05 p.m. ET along with Calgary’s Stephen Ames. By then, fellow Canadians Graham DeLaet and David Hearn should be finished their rounds.
DeLaet and Hearn are playing their best golf, with DeLaet posting five top-10 finishes this season. Hearn nearly won his first event two weeks ago at the John Deere Classic, losing in a five-hole playoff.
There are 16 Canadians in the 156-player field and none need to worry about British Open champion Phil Mickelson or world No. 1 Tiger Woods because they didn’t make the trip north.
However, 12 of the top 50 golfers in the world will compete this week, some of whom are featured in our gallery above as those to keep an eye on.