Mike Weir is usually a busy guy during Canadian Open week due to his popularity among homeland fans, but the 2009 event will take Weir to a new level of activity.
Not only will Weir be inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame, but it was announced yesterday that the Mike Weir Foundation has become the national charity partner for the RBC Canadian Open to be played in July at Glen Abbey in Oakville, Ont.
As part of that initiative, the Royal Canadian Golf Association and RBC announced the inaugural Mike Weir Charity Classic to be played on Monday, July 20, at Glen Abbey. The new event will feature celebrities from music, sports and entertainment and PGA Tour players.
Two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Steve Nash was announced as one of the celebrities that will be taking part in the inaugural Mike Weir Classic.
“Supporting children’s wellness is the main goal of the Mike Weir Foundation and I am pleased to have RBC and the RCGA as partners in realizing this vision,” said Weir.
“It’s for a great cause and part of the RBC Canadian Open’s commitment to the community. It’ll be a lot of fun,” added Weir.
Scott Simmons, executive director of the Royal Canadian Golf Association, added that the new initiatives will help boost the Open’s charitable donation from approximately $500,000 last year to perhaps $1-million in 2009.
“Adding a significant charitable element to Canada’s national Open championship is a major focus of our strategic vision for the event and, together with RBC, we feel that aligning our philanthropic efforts with the Mike Weir Foundation is an ideal fit.”
RBC is clearly seeing golf as a significant fit in its marketing efforts, both here in Canada and around the world. The Open was floundering before RBC took title sponsorship in late 2007, but has since elevated its stature on the PGA Tour with RBC on board.
This was the second announcement in as many weeks that RBC is strengthening its hold on golf. Last week, it announced that RBC would sponsor the Stephen Ames Cup, an international junior competition between Canada and Trinidad and Tobago, the homeland of Ames, now a Canadian citizen living in Calgary.
“Building partnerships with some of the most recognizable players on the PGA Tour helps us enhance the RBC Canadian Open and drives our business objectives,” said RBC chief brand and communications officer Jim Little.
“We want to leverage our deepening role in golf to build brand experiences for our clients and golf fans in Canada. as well as enhance brand awareness for RBC in the U.S. and internationally.
“In partnership with the RCGA, the PGA Tour and other sponsors, we are revitalizing the RBC Canadian Open and restoring it to its rightful place as one of the premier stops on the PGA Tour,” said Little.
The charitable side was also an important consideration, according to RBC president and chief executive officer Gordon Nixon.
“A critical component of our being title sponsor of the RBC Canadian Open is to ensure we are generating charitable legacies in our communities,” said Nixon.
“Creating the Mike Weir Charity Classic during tournament week is an important step towards this objective and will help improve children’s wellness across Canada.”