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All Roads Lead to Brights Grove: Mike Weir and the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame

Arms Raised -- Weir takes his place in the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame this weekend.

Arms Raised -- Weir takes his place in the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame this weekend.

This weekend in Brights Grove , Ont., a little suburb of Sarna, Mike Weir will enter the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame at the age of 39. I’m heading down with Ian Andrew, Weir’s design partner. It’ll be the second HOF induction I’ve attended, having given the introduction speech for Jim Barclay two year’s ago at St. George’s.

Of course this is premature — and everyone, including Weir recognizes it. During a conference call about the induction earlier this week, the point was made that the plaque, which will be at the Golf Hall of Fame in Oakville, can be altered should Weir win again.

Weir was nominated for the accolade by Ian Hutchison, the golf writer at the Toronto Sun, among other places. We’ve had a good discussion about how I think it was wrong — but within the current standards of the HOF, Ian had every right to put Mike up. He was always destined for the place — it just seems odd to do it now. Talking with Richard Zokol the other day, I asked why he wasn’t in the BC Sports Hall of Fame. His answer was simple: “I’m not 50 and you have to be 50 to get in.”

Regardless, Weir was as reflective as I’ve seen him while discussing the honor. I particularly liked his discussion of putting after dark on the practice green at Huron Oaks, where the ceremony will take place:

“There was a little flood light that came from clubhouse that gave a little light on the putting green and Id put there until my mom made me come home,” he said. “I found a little corner with some light on it and Id spend all my time there.”

In my experience Weir isn’t a very reflective man. He doesn’t think about his past accomplishments all that often. This award has surely given him a time to consider what he’s done — which is more than anyone, himself included, expected — but he’s still looking forward.

“I definitely feel like theres a lot of business to take care of in my years going forward,” he says. “Where that leaves me when it is all done, Im not sure. Hopefully my impact is awareness of the game in this country and that we can produce quality, world-class players. Hopefully Im doing it the right way “ all across the board.”

Interestingly, initially the proceedings were scheduled for the Canadian Open. Then in LA at the Northern Trust Open, I had the chance to ask Weir about the HOF announcement, specifically when and where it would take place. Weir said the plan was to hold it in Oakville in July, which I mentioned was odd since the entrant’s home club was usually the place where the reception took place. Score’s Bob Weeks, who was standing behind me, chimed up that this wasn’t the case — that some had been done at LPGA Tour stops, for example — but he agreed the home club was the normal route. Mike seemed surprised. I think people forget he hasn’t lived in Canada with any regularity since he was 19, and he’s never attended a Canadian Golf Hall of Fame induction and didn’t know the protocol for such events.

The RCGA now seem to see the folly of the initial decision.

“We’re happy to take it to the location best suited to the inductee,” said Karen Hewson, director of the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Museum, and one of the truly helpful people in the Canadian golf industry, the conference call earlier this week.

Truthfully, Brights Grove is the right place for this. Huron Oaks, where Weir visits a couple of times a year, is the course in Canada most affiliated with the golfer, who was never connected to Toronto/Oakville with the exception of his link to IMG Sports.

“We talked about having it at the Canadian Open “ but it was such a busy week. The more I thought about it “ when I heard that I could have it where I wanted to have it and that other inductees had it at their home clubs “ I thought it made sense to have it at Huron Oaks. Originally I didnt know I could have it there,” Weir says.

“It is where it all kind of began for me and it is an opportunity to share this moment with a lot of friends and family and people who have been supportive of my career,” he added. “In that regard I thought it was the right thing to do.

+++

And how does one grind a conference call to a halt? Ask this question:

“Of the players in the Canadian golf Hall of Fame, how many are left-handed.”

To Karen Hewson’s credit, she thought the answer was two. Who knew — and better, who cares?

Second interview killer?

“Hey Mike, save the hardball questions for the end here: ‘How did you get into wine.’

Clearly lots of important, cutting edge questions for Canada’s top player. Well done.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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