Mike Weir looks to end 60-year Canadian Open drought
Pat Fletcher last Canadian to win national golf championship
Mike Weir was well aware that it has been 60 years since a Canadian won the Canadian Open.
"It's going to end at some point, so hopefully, if not myself, it's another Canadian that gets it done this week," said Weir, one of 19 Canadians in the field for the tournament that starts Thursday at Royal Montreal. "It would be nice to get the streak over so we don't have to talk about it."
Pat Fletcher, born in England, was the last Canadian winner, taking the 1954 event at Point Grey in Vancouver, British Columbia. Carl Keffer is the only Canadian-born champion, winning in 1909 and 1914. Albert Murray, a Canadian also born in England, won in 1908 and 1913.
The 44-year-old Weir, an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour, tops the Canadian contingent along with Graham DeLaet and David Hearn. Weir beat Tiger Woods in singles at Royal Montreal in 2007 Presidents Cup.
"This is my 24th Canadian Open, so I've been at it a long time," Weir said. "But every time you come back it's special. It was the first professional event I watched live as a kid. I still remember doing a junior clinic with Andy Bean and Tom Kite and being one of the kids on the range that got to walk up there and get close to those guys. That really spurred my interest in professional golf."
Brandt Snedeker, the winner last year at Glen Abbey in Oakville, Ont., also is in the field along with two-time winner Jim Furyk, Graeme McDowell, Matt Kuchar, Dustin Johnson, Luke Donald, Ernie Els and Hunter Mahan.
Last year, Snedeker took the lead with a third-round 63 after second-round leader Mahan withdrew when his wife went into labour.
"It's one of those things you talk about with golfers, what if you were in the lead and you had to go home on Saturday or Sunday," Mahan said. "It's one of those crazy things you talk about and discuss with your family or your wife, but most of the time, it never happens.
"It's kind of neat that we have the video of it all happening and then the newspaper clippings and all that, so it will be a fun story to show her and tell her about how she entered the world."
Snekeder was on the seventh hole at Glen Abbey when he saw Mahan's name come off the leaderboard.
"I started putting two and two together," Snekeder said. "I was playing a great round of golf. It was a fortunate break for myself. Hunter was playing great. He would have been a tough guy to catch over the weekend.
"I did follow through and we made sure we sent a couple of nice gifts to the Mahan's for baby, Zoe. It's something we'll probably both remember the rest of our lives."
Mahan said he was happy to be back in Canada, especially at Royal Montreal where he and Furyk were part of a U.S. Presidents Cup squad that thrashed Weir and the International team. Returning Internationals include Els, Vijay Singh, K.J. Choi, Geoff Ogilvie and Stuart Appleby.
Furyk, the winner in 2006 and 2007, is coming off a fourth-place finish last week in the British Open, but now has to play on a different continent and a very different course.
While Royal Montreal is often called "traditional," Furyk said that only fits the tees and the fairways. With heavy rain on Wednesday, the course will be soft and scores should be low.
"What this golf course requires of you is the dead opposite of what you'd see in links golf," Furyk said. "And the rain is going to spread the gap even farther."