MONTREAL — The first Canadian to play in a Presidents Cup will become the first Canadian to captain the International team.
Mike Weir was announced as International captain for the 2024 Presidents Cup on Wednesday morning at the Bell Centre. After five appearances as a player and three as assistant captain under Trevor Immelman, Nick Price and Ernie Els, Weir will get his shot at captaincy on home soil at the Royal Montreal Golf Club.
The International team has only won the event once. The Americans have taken home the trophy 12 times and have been on a nine-event winning streak since the 2003 edition finished tied.
The U.S. beat the Internationals 17 1/2 - 12 1/2 in the 2022 event, held September at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C.
For Weir, the only Canadian man to win a major, bringing the Internationals a second trophy would be “the biggest thrill of my life, golf wise.”
“At this stage in my life, and my career, that would be a real feather in a career that's gone above and beyond what I’ve ever dreamed,” said the native of Bright's Grove, Ont. “To bring that trophy, not only to the fans in Canada, but to those 12 players in the room, the caddies, the wives. Being part of five (tournaments) and not winning one is tough.
“It's great winning a tournament by yourself, to celebrate with your family and your caddy but to win something big with a team, there's nothing like it. I mean, there's been 24 of them here in this city so that's what we want.” Weir added, pointing at the 24 Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup banners above his head.
Royal Montreal has a special place in Weir’s heart. The course was the host of the 2007 Presidents Cup, where Weir famously beat Tiger Woods during Sunday’s singles match.
The Canadian finished his tournament with a 3-1-0 record and collected three and a half points, the highest total of the International team at the tournament. The Internationals ultimately fell to the United States 19 1/2 - 13 1/2.
The U.S. have not yet named their captain, but Weir said facing Woods again would be something straight out of a Hollywood script.
“Oh, there's one guy I think would be great if he can do it. Tiger, obviously, with the history we have at Royal Montreal,” Weir said. “Whoever it'll be will be a great captain. They have great players and great people on their side.
"They had great captains, respectful guys that I really like, it'll be competitive and, looking forward to whoever it is."
The golf world has been shaken with the recent arrival of Saudi-run LIV Golf, which attracted some of the highest ranked players. The PGA Tour responded by banning LIV players from their competitions, Presidents Cup included.
Team competitions were impacted and captains had trouble building their squads.
“No doubt, it was a challenge for Trevor and the captains in our team given the circumstances, kind of what went on," Weir said. "But the guys that were there to play, they wanted to play, they wanted to be part of the team. Those are the kind of players that we want.”
When asked about Woods’s call for LIV boss Greg Norman to step down, Weir said he was “not into the politics of those two sides.”
“I don't know if Greg needs to go, if they need to work things out,” Weir said. “I mean, it'd be nice that golf isn't divisive. It's a sport that unifies more than divides. So if there can be some way that that can be resolved, that's great.
"Tiger and Rory (McIlroy), they're on policy boards and things like that, I'm not. So I don't know what's going on behind the scenes and what talks are being had."
As for building his own team, Weir used Mackenzie Hughes as an example of the type of player he would like to have. The Canadian was left off the 2022 International Team and shortly after took home his second career PGA Tour win at the Sanderson Farms Championship.
“He was really disappointed that he wasn't chosen for the team and he comes out there right away, very motivated, and wins,” Weir said. “That shows us, myself as captain and everyone else, that he wants to be part of this.
"That was extra motivation for him. I love that. So those are the kinds of guys we want that are hungry and want to be on the team.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2022.
Tristan D’Amours, The Canadian Press