At 11 this morning, RBC will hold a news conference to announce “a tournament enhancement” to the Canadian Open. I’ll be on the conference call at 11 — and Weir has flown to Toronto for the event. Expect to see closer ties between Weir and the tournament and don’t be surprised if there are also some player announcements for the event, something unheard of this far in advance of the actual Canadian Open, which is in July. Looks like RBC are really stepping up the game, and with so many sponsors in trouble already, one has to imagine the PGA Tour is considering a new date for the tournament.
I’ll update this post later this morning. Otherwise, here is the official word on the launch of Weir Golf Design. Apparently this press release got stuck in cyberspace somewhere and took nearly a month to materialize. Anyway, here it is:
MIKE WEIR PARTNERS WITH GOLF COURSE ARCHITECT IAN ANDREW TO LAUNCH WEIR GOLF DESIGN
…Firm Makes Commitment to Creation of Junior-oriented Courses
Canadian golf superstar Mike Weir today announced a partnership with course architect Ian Andrew to create a new design firm, Weir Golf Design. The firm also made a commitment to pursuing partnerships with Canadian communities and businesses to help create value-conscious courses aimed at increasing participation of young people in golf.
“Creating golf courses is something I’ve been interested in for several years, but I wanted to wait until the time was right in my career to move forward,” Weir said. “Partnering with Ian on this is exciting because our thoughts on the type of courses we want to create are so similar. I’m looking forward to working on our first project together in the very near future.”
Weir, who has amassed eight wins on the PGA Tour, including the 2003 Masters, is known as a strategic golfer who carefully considers every option when playing the most challenging courses in the world. Along with partner IMG, Weir began developing his design firm in late 2007. In the ensuing months practically every golf architect working in Canada participated in a selection process to find the appropriate designer for Weir Golf Design. Seventeen designers presented proposals and numerous interviews were conducted before Andrew was selected as lead architect.
“I think we’ve carefully considered all of our options and I’m very confident that Ian has the skills and mindset to work with me in creating courses that are strategic, fun and bring golfers back time and again,” Weir said.
While an initial design has not been announced, discussions are ongoing with several potential owners in various areas of Canada and abroad.
Andrew, 43, has been long regarded as one of Canada’s smartest and most inventive golf course architects, having worked for Carrick Design on numerous projects over 17 years before launching his own firm, Andrew Golf Design, in 2005. He is known as an authority on classic golf courses, having worked on dozens over his career, including St. George’s Golf & Country Club in Toronto, host site of the 2010 RBC Canadian Open, Cape Breton’s Highlands Links, as well as sensitively building nine new Bill Kinnear style holes to replace the ones lost through city expansion at the historic Saskatoon Golf & Country Club.
Andrew added that it is the intention of Weir Golf Design to create options for golfers throughout their courses, while adding risks that emphasize playability and fun.
“Working with Mike is an opportunity of a lifetime,” said Andrew. “With my experience and Mike’s attention to detail, I feel certain we will create numerous great courses in years to come.”
The notion of partnering with business and community leaders to create affordable courses for young Canadians is an important concept within the firm, said Weir, who grew up playing value-priced public golf around his hometown of Brights Grove, Ont. To that end, the firm, in partnership with IMG, is committed to finding opportunities across Canada to build several of these facilities in coming years.
“Building courses that help grow the game of golf in Canada is a dream for both Mike and I,” said Andrew. “We are confident that people – both in Canadian municipalities and the business community – will share our dream and want to join us in making it a reality.”