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After holding the 36-hole lead at last year’s KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship Mike Weir is hoping to carry over that momentum this week as he looks for his first major championship on the over-50 circuit.

“I was right in the mix,” said the 2003 Masters winner. “But all in all, first time around there was good and hopefully build on that this year and this week.”

Weir, who is from Brights Grove, Ont. (only about four hours from Benton Harbor, Mich. and across the border in Canada), said he’s had a steady if unspectacular start to his 2022 campaign. He’s notched four top-25 finishes in seven events. But he said growing up on Lake Huron – another of the Great Lakes – may serve as an advantage for him this week.

“I think it’s definitely challenging around the greens and it’s a really fun layout with the wind being on the lake. I grew up… with similar bentgrass conditions,” said Weir of Harbor Shores. “Golf course is not the same but conditions of the type of grasses around the greens and on the greens… I’m very optimistic about this week and hopefully we can get off to a good start.”

It's coming up on the 20-year anniversary of Weir’s Masters triumph. He remains the only Canadian male to have won a major (Brooke Henderson won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in 2016) and while it was special to him, of course, it remains special to so many of his fellow Canadians.

Weir wins green jacket
AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 13: Mike Weir of Canada is presented with the green jacket by Tiger Woods of the USA after winning the play off after the final round of the 2003 Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia on April 13, 2003. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Credit: Getty Images

“It was one of those (wins) people tell me where they were when it happened. It’s fun to hear those stories,” said Weir. The generation of Canadians on the PGA Tour now, like Corey Conners and Mackenzie Hughes, all can point to Weir’s Green Jacket victory as an important moment in their own development.

“They put their own work in, but if I inspire those young guys and inspire the young girls to believe that, you know, they can achieve (anything). If they are from a small town in Canada they can reach their dreams.”

Since turning 50 Weir has had a bit of a career resurgence. He played a few events on the Korn Ferry Tour when he was 48 and 49 but he found it difficult to get into a competitive rhythm. When he was playing the PGA Tour, he said, he may miss a cut, but then he was able to get right back on the horse and play two or three weeks in a row and return to “that competitive flow.”

He's finding the same now on PGA Tour Champions, and especially as the level of competition is as high as it’s ever been.

“The power is the big difference. But outside of that, I mean, I’d put Steve Stricker’s wedge game against anybody in the world or Bernhard Langer’s putting against anybody in the world,” said Weir.

81st KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship
TULSA, OK - MAY 27: Mike Weir of Canada hits his tee shot on the fifth hole during the first round of the 81st KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship held at the Southern Hills Country Club on May 27, 2021 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Darren Carroll/PGA of America)
Credit: Darren Carroll/PGA of America/PGA

Now Weir, who will play the RBC Canadian Open when it makes its return to the PGA Tour schedule for the first time since 2019, is hoping he can stack his game up against some of the best in the world to win his first KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.

But despite the championship’s trophy being on display before the tournament kicks off, there’s one very Canadian thing about Weir – he won’t be touching the 36-pound beauty until he wins it.

“It’s like the Stanley Cup of Champions Tour golf,” said Weir with a smile. “I didn’t want to touch it. I have the hockey superstition. I didn’t want to touch it – but it’s a beautiful trophy, one of the best trophies we are playing for out here.”

Weir tees off at 1:56 p.m. EST alongside Brandt Jobe and Robert Karlsson.

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