The patriarch of one of Canada’s best-known golf families got chatting about one of the best-known golf prodigies ever to come from Bright’s Grove, Ont., and this accomplished player didn’t carry the same name as him.
“I met him at the Memorial,” said Richard Weir of Matt Hill who, like Weir’s son Mike, has grabbed global attention with his 2009 victory at the NCAA Championship and his place in the world amateur rankings, where he was second to Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C., in the most recent standings.
“He was down there to receive his award from Jack Nicklaus (as the NCAA’s outstanding player) and he walked a few holes with my wife and I. He’s a very nice young man and he’s got all kinds of talent,” said Weir.
“Holy smokes! He’s scary good.”
That assessment may be a sign of things to come for Hill and perhaps, an exhibit at the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame may one day be in the cards for him, but a get-together there on Thursday was to honour Weir’s son Mike, the 2003 Masters champ who will be inducted into the hall later this year.
The gathering took place at the hall of fame to officially open the Mementos of a Champion exhibit, which features memorabilia from Weir’s outstanding career, which includes eight PGA Tour wins, which ties him for the all-time lead for Canadians with the late George Knudson.
Making a rare stop in Canada and on display during the RBC Canadian Open this week is Weir’s green jacket, the ultimate prize after some anxious moments for the Weir family.
“I was there, of course,” said Richard. “It was very tense for me – it was tense for everybody. That putt he made on 18 to get in the playoff, my mouth was so dry I couldn’t have spit.”
However, all of the mementos gathered from a variety of sources are special to the senior Weir, who was accompanied by his wife Rosalie, Mike’s daughters Elle and Lili and his brother Craig.
“Each trophy you have memories from, particularly the Masters, but even the (1990) Ontario Amateur trophy brought back memories. It was at Mississaugua (Golf and Country Club) and it was raining just like this,” he said, pointing to the inclement weather that delayed the first round of the Canadian Open on Thursday.
Winning the Open would add a treasure to the collection, according to the senior Weir. “It means so much to him. He’s accomplished far more than I ever expected and I’m very proud of him.
“The Masters was icing on the cake, but the Canadian Open would be special to him, so it’s also special to us,” said Richard.