Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Weir, DeLaet Look to End 60-Year Drought of Home Grown Canadian Open Champions

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Weir, DeLaet Look to End 60-Year Drought of Home Grown Canadian Open Champions

Article excerpt

Weir hopes for home grown Canadian Open win

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MONTREAL - It was 60 years ago that Pat Fletcher won the Canadian Open.

No other Canadian has won the national open golf tournament since then, but that could change when the PGA Tour event returns this week to Royal Montreal, the tree-lined course that played host to the 2007 Presidents Cup.

Mike Weir, Graham DeLaet and David Hearn are among the 19 home-grown players looking to end the losing run.

"It's hard to believe it's been 60 years," Weir said Wednesday after playing only nine holes of a rain soaked pro-am event. "We have more capable players in the field now and I think we're going to see it going forward.

"It's going to end at some point, so hopefully, if not myself, it's another Canadian that gets it done this week. It would be nice to get the streak over so we don't have to talk about it any more."

Winning the Canadian Open has never been more accessible thanks to a less than desirable date -- just after the British Open, which ended with Rory McIlroy's impressive victory on Sunday at Royal Liverpool.

Most top golfers don't want to play the week after the British, although the Canadian Open helps those who do by laying on a charter flight to get them in early to readjust to the Eastern time zone.

Only eight of the top 50 players on the Tour's FedEx Cup standings are in the field, although they include third-place Dustin Johnson and fourth-place Matt Kuchar.

McIlroy is not there. Neither are 2000 Canadian Open champion Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson.

But thanks to RBC's sponsorship of Tour regulars -- Kuchar, last year's winner at Glen Abbey Brandt Snedeker, two-time champion Jim Furyk, Ernie Els, Graeme McDowell, Luke Donald and others -- and the presence of nine past champions, there is at least a competitive field.

For Weir, an eight-time Tour winner, winning at home would be a dream.

"This is my 24th Canadian Open, so I've been at it a long time," the 44-year-old Weir said. "But ever 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."

A strong showing would boost Weir's chances of making the FedEx Cup playoffs. He is 128th with four weeks left in the playoff race and needs to get into the top 125.

It is also a special event for Hunter Mahan.

The American was the 36-hole leader of last year's Canadian Open when he got the call that wife was about to give birth to their first child, a daughter. Mahan immediately withdrew to fly home to Dallas to attend the birth. …

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