U.S. Open Week — Weir on Young Canucks: "We've got a lot of talent"

Ottawa Sun writer Chris Stevenson has a good story about the round Mike Weir played with Andrew Parr and Nick Taylor on Monday at Bethpage. Despite lousy whether, the group managed to get out on the course. Weir joked that at 39 he could still compete with the pair, though Parr probably bombed it by Weir all day:

“When I’m playing with them, I don’t feel that old,” said Weir, who turned 39 last month. “I am getting up there. It’s great, though. I get a kick out of watching these guys. I root for them.

“I watch the Canadian Tour, I watch what they’re doing. We’ve got a lot of talent in these young guys. Hopefully, they’ll get out here and take over from me.

Taylor was quite effusive in his praise of Weir. The RCGA is looking to figure out how to fill that gap between amateur play and the pros, and it appears Weir has figured out his own form of mentoring. And it unusual for Weir, who typically keeps to himself the week of a major.

“It’s kind of a dream come true to play with him, looking up to him, growing up playing golf and now being able to play with him was pretty cool,” said Taylor, the fifth-ranked amateur in the world who’s playing in his second U.S. Open after qualifying for Torrey Pines last year (he missed the cut by three strokes).

“I asked what’s changed for him over the last 10 or 15 years from when he was playing the Canadian Tour to now. I was just picking his brain as much as I could through the day.”

Who mentored Weir? Fellow BYU alum Dick Zokol, apparently.

But Weir was quick to answer yesterday when asked if there was somebody who had helped him in his early days on Tour and if that had influenced him to pay it forward.

“Zoke,” he said, referring to former PGA Tour player Richard Zokol. “He was good to me and he was a good guy to call once in a while when I had questions. He’s the guy.”

Interestingly, it looks like the split between Zokol and the RCGA was partly over a philosophical split about the way forward. Zokol is a big proponent of his so-called “points of excellence” and wanted to bring in the coach who works with a number of key hockey players and business leaders, including Jim Balsillie of RIM. The RCGA felt they shouldn’t be as singular in approach.

Other notes:

  • Interesting to see Matt Hill didn’t advance in the British Am tournament.
  • Did anyone notice that Stephen Ames has slipped out of the World Top 50? Why is this significant? Because without that ranking, Ames no longer gains exemptions into the majors, world golf championships, etc. Ames only has two Top 10 finishes half way through this season, compared to seven overall last year. Could it be that swing doctor Sean Foley is spending more time with prize pupil Sean O’Hair these days?
  • Which would you pick for a bet — Tiger or the field?

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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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