In the Rough: Mike Weir's Troubles Leave Canadian Golf in Sorry State
For the first time since 1998, Canada will not be represented on the Presidents Cup International Team, marking a low point for Canadians on the PGA Tour.
Mike Weir, the lone Canuck in the previous five Presidents Cup tournaments, currently sits at 314th on the World Golf Rankings, far too low to qualify for Greg Norman’s International side, which will feature the top 10 ranked international players not eligible for the Ryder Cup.
Weir missed the last third of the 2010 season with an elbow injury, finishing the year at 151st on the PGA rankings with $559,092.
In nine starts so far this year, Weir has missed the cut seven times and withdrawn once, his best finish a 77th at the Farmers Insurance Open in January.
The loss of his exempt status in March coupled with continuing elbow problems may spell the beginning of the end for Weir.
After winning the Masters in 2003, Weir, who turns 41 on May 12, became a hero in Canada and the undisputed face of Canadian golf.
His fall from prominence begs the question as to which of the other four Canadians on the PGA Tour is going to step up and become the country’s next fan favourite.
Brampton Ontario native David Hearn is currently the highest ranked Canadian on the PGA Tour at 98th.
The 31-year-old tied for sixth at last month’s Shell Houston Open and has made the cut in six of nine starts this year. Hearn tied for 46th at Sunday’s Zurich Classic in New Orleans and sits at 246th in the World Golf Rankings.
Stephen Ames, 47, of Calgary, has the best result of any Canadian this season having tied for third at the Puerto Rico Open in March.
At 107th, Ames is the second highest Canadian in the PGA rankings and the highest in the world rankings at 155th. His second best finish this season was a tie for 43rd at the Bob Hope Classic and he missed the cut for the third time last Sunday in New Orleans.
Fellow Calgarian Chris Baryla is yet to make the cut in eight tour appearances this season.
The 28 year-old currently sits at 664th in the world rankings, his best 2010 finish being a tie for 62nd at the Shell Houston Open.
Graham DeLaet had his best PGA Tour finish last year with a tie for third at the Shell Houston Open. Ranked 250th in the world, the 29-year-old native of Weyburn, Saskatchewan only just returned to practice last month following offseason back surgery.
With Mike Weir’s 19-year career possibly nearing its end, Canadian golf sorely needs a new face.
Although Stephen Ames, winner of the 2006 Player’s Championship, remains a household name in Canada, anything short of a major championship win is unlikely to create the celebrity Weir has enjoyed.
Given the performances of the other four Canadians on tour this year, it does not seem likely to happen any time soon.
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