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September 5, 2006

Mike Weir


TODD BUDNICK: Welcome Mike Weir to the 2006 Canadian Open. Mike having a super year, 26th on the money list, you've made 18 out of 20 cuts. Talk about your season to date.

MIKE WEIR: It's been a consistent year, as far as making a lot of cuts and playing some fair golf. It's been a year that could be close to being a real classic year. But I'm making my way back to where I need to be, and I'm heading in the right direction. This is being the biggest event for me in the last four or five events I'm going to play. Hopefully I've ended the year strong before in some other years, and hopefully I can do it again.

TODD BUDNICK: The Canadian Open is a big event for you, and this golf course is a really fantastic layout.

MIKE WEIR: I think in 2003, I remember leading up to it everybody was saying, well, the course is short, and the guys are going to shoot 25 under, and last year it was 8 under par. The course held up well. It has a lot of character this golf course, and I think you can see a lot of how a golf course can defend itself, not by just adding length but by strategic bunkering, difficult greens, difficult pin placements, and some rough. Looks like we are going to get that again. I played nine holes today, and the ball is not running, it was a little damp out there. The course is going to be longer than feels longer than the 6800 yards it is. It's a better field than we had in the 2003, I feel, from the reputation in 2003.

TODD BUDNICK: There are only about a dozen or less guys this year that had at least two top 10s in the majors, you were one of them. Talk about your success and back in the majors this year.

MIKE WEIR: It was nice to play pretty much all of them I felt like I was striking the ball pretty well, other than the PGA, I felt like I got a lot out of that tournament. But the other tournaments were some good ball striking, and maybe a little missed opportunity, especially maybe the U.S. Open. But I felt like I couldn't quite get over the hump. I played great. I was happy with the week. The majors were pretty good this year.

Q. What's the closest you've come in your career to playing the kind of golf you see when you're out there practicing or that you feel you'd like to achieve?

MIKE WEIR: You know, a lot of 2003, I feel like I'm real close to that right now. I feel like a lot of the stuff I'm seeing on the range and the ball striking that I have now and the calm factor is really heading in the right direction. So I'm I feel like I'm really close to where I was there in the consistency of the ball striking in 2003.

Q. Is there something that represents the way you'd like to hit it?

MIKE WEIR: The trajectory that I'm looking for, the small but penetrating ball flight, something that doesn't get deflected much in the wind. I go off of 2003, there was the final round at the Bob Hope, it was blowing very hard, it was gusting to 30 miles an hour, and I shot 5 under, and went from 5th or 6th place and won. And I think one other guy hit under 70 that day. I was able because my ball was penetrating through the wind, that's what I'm looking for and feel like I'm real close to that.

Q. Mike, DiMarco, Daly and Crane pulled out today. Knowing how important this tournament is to you, when you hear big names like that withdrawing, is that frustrating for you?

MIKE WEIR: It's disappointing for the event, no question. We want the best guys here. Chris has proven himself a lot the last few years as one of the better players. JD is a big draw. And Ben stepped up his game last year. And it was three good players that will be missed here.

Q. Is it frustrating also that this tournament is moving behind The British Open and there's obviously a possibility that more players will kind of look the other way when it comes to this tournament?

MIKE WEIR: You know, a lot has been made about it, no question. It's a tough date. No doubt about it, that's a tough date next year. But hopefully we can do the best we can to try to get a great field next year. There's a lot of people looking into how we can maybe move that date as some point. I don't know if it's two years, three years or down the road. But I'm not sure how the schedule lays out the next few years on the PGA TOUR. We know how it is next year. Maybe it will change around. Maybe we'll look at how the FedEx Cup thing goes next year, there will probably be some little tweak on things. Maybe they will schedule some other things. That's to be seen. But it's a tough one.

Q. You hear so much about a golf course being important on whether a player comes to the tournament. Is it it's important to the player when he's making the call or is it a reason for him not to come? I'm just wondering what your thoughts are. Is it a positive thing or is it a reason not to come?

MIKE WEIR: Well, I can only speak for myself. I think that myself when I look at the schedule at the beginning of the year, you look at a number of things. You look at how many tournaments you played in a row, the golf courses you like, the cities you like, and how it all kind of plays out, whether you want to take time off and there are a lot of factors. If there's a golf course you don't like, that's going to be a big factor, and if it's a course you like, no matter what the purse is you'll probably go play, if you like the course you're probably going to do well. I think it's a little bit of both.

Q. (Inaudible.) Obviously Hamilton is at the top of the heap about where people would like to see it, and Shaughnessy is probably next as far a Canadians go. Are there any other courses in Canada you would favor as far as the Canadian Opens like this?

MIKE WEIR: We have great golf courses across the country. I was discussing that the other day. There's plenty of opportunity to use some of the golf courses we have across the country. And if we can get a little bit of money behind them. Sure, I know some courses don't have the space to expand, but you can add 20 yards here, a little bit there. And you can make it so it that you can hold championships on some of these great courses. I have not had a chance to play a ton of them. Rail Montreal is really good. I haven't played a lot at Calgary. But I know there are some great tracks out there. I see no reason why we can't move them out west, as well, in Calgary and Edmonton area. I see it moving around. I see those three being the main three courses, Hamilton, the Shaughnessy, Royal Montreal it's a good rotation to start. It's a national championship, that's what I think we should be playing on, personally, and yet something in Calgary, Edmonton, I think would be just right.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MIKE WEIR: Well, first part of your question, for myself it's a lot. I grew up close by here, there was a lot of golf, junior golf that I played. I like that kind of golf, it's what I grew up playing.

I think it's a nice break, I'm speaking for the other guys, but I think they like to play courses that if you hit one off line, you're making 8, because it goes in the water and you're dropping way back, and all kinds of funny stuff. I think guys like that change. If you hit a marginal shot, you're struggling for par, you're going to make bogey, you're hitting your third shot, maybe you could make double. It's that kind of a hazard. It's not kind of a man made hazard, it's with what nature gives you. We don't play enough of those on Tour, so I think guys like that in places like this. And Colonial Country Club and Westchester that we get to play, and guys look forward to playing them.

Q. From a players' standpoint what have you got to say about what Tiger has done in the last six weeks?

MIKE WEIR: It's phenomenal what he's doing. He's just firing away to get it done, whether it's your great ball striking or great putting. He seems like he's mentally where he needs to be. Yes, it's great. He's playing some great golf, really great golf.

Q. What do you think of James Lepp and Richard Scott, these are two young dynamic Canadian golfers. Scott three time amateur champion, which is pretty impressive. I know a lot has been made of the big names not coming here. But reason to continue to support this event because of young players like Scott and Lepp. What are your thoughts about them?

MIKE WEIR: Yeah, obviously Richard three times winning the Canadian amateur is pretty phenomenal.

James obviously has done some great things in college, and made some Canadian Tour events and done very well. These are the kind of guys that we need to step up and start getting out here more regularly, not just the Canadian Open, but getting on the Tour and helping them along. So there are some guys to look out for.

Q. Have they ever sought you out for advice or would you look for them and maybe tap them on the shoulder with a little bit of advice? I'm sure they look up to you.

MIKE WEIR: It's funny, I know when I was coming out I looked to guys for advice and I would ask them. I don't know if it's a different generation, I don't see that. I go out and I try to make myself available to them. But they seem to be doing their own thing a lot. And I found that kind of odd that they don't ask more advice, because I know when I was younger, I would seek that out. That's how you learn. I learned from Tiger by asking some things. I learned from Vijay asking him some things. Asking about the shots. I think they need to do that more. I'm trying to do it, I'm trying to get my work done, too, but I think if they came up and asked, yeah, I'd be happy to help them out, anything they wanted to know.

Q. Do you think the fact that there's been a lot of good players kind of get to the Canadian Tour level and maybe the Nationwide level, I guess what I'm saying in the years you've been on Tour, there hasn't been young players come up and really have had anything close to the success you've had. Does it kind of reflect maybe how hard it is to do what you've been doing and it's not an easy job you've got?

MIKE WEIR: No, it is a little surprising, because I see the talent there. I do see the talent in these young players, David Hern and Derek Gillespie and James and Richard, they're just coming up, those guys. I'm not sure, there's even college kids that I play with at BYU when I was there in my conference, probably guys that struck a lot better than I did, you thought they can't miss and there's some kind of there's a missing element. And I don't know what that intangible is. I don't know, I don't know whether it's you get comfortable just at a certain level and you don't feel like you can belong out there, I'm not sure what that is. But I'm surprised that we don't have more guys out there right now. Obviously there are going to be some guys out there, but as you said, this is my 9th year on Tour now and Ian was out there when I was out there and Dave Morland, but we had David Hern, but outside of that that's a pretty long drought for as talented as I think we have in the younger guys. It's a little surprising.

Q. In the course of your career, what change in equipment technology has most helped you?

MIKE WEIR: Technology? I would say when I went to it was back with the Taylor Made driver. As soon as I got that driver back in 2002, I believe, that seemed to step it up a little bit more. I drove it a good pace that year, and then leading into 2003 I was just driving it really, really good there. I seemed to get more carry. I always had kind of a low ball, I was able to get the ball up in the air and that's helped me a lot.

Q. I was wondering in speaking from your experience, looking at what Jim Rutledge has done, qualifying for the Tour after God knows how many years trying, can you comment on that achievement and what it would have been like for you if you had to grind it out that long before making it?

MIKE WEIR: I'm not sure Jim what is Jim, 45? 47. Wow, that's determination. He's worked hard at it. I think the Tour has gone done a great thing in the last few years to add more spots in the Nationwide Tour to award people through the course of the year. Q School is also a great thing to get guys through. Jim got himself on the Nationwide Tour and has been consistent all year. And he's obviously really in a good position to get out here next year. It shows he was determined and he's always had a tremendous amount of talent. I remember my first couple of years playing the Canadian Tour, I didn't want to play a practice round with the guy. I thought I'd go in a tournament and feel bad, because he was so good. He'd hit it so great, I'd hit it all over the place, scrambling around, and shooting these scores. Rutledge was just piping it down the middle. I wanted to keep my confidence up so I stayed away from him. He's a good guy, he has a great family and I'm really happy for him.

TODD BUDNICK: Mike has an announcement that he'd like to make.

MIKE CRAY: Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Mike Cray, and I'm the executive director of the Mike Weir Foundation, which was started in 2004 by Mike and his wife Bricia, to advance the welfare of children here across Canada. And I'm pleased to be here today with Mike and John Hartman, who is the senior vice president of Children's Miracle Network Canada to make an exciting announcement. But before I get to that, I guess first and foremost I'd like to thank Bell Canada for letting us use the Bell media center today. They've been a great supporter of Mike, obviously, and the recently formed Mike Weir Foundation.

On behalf of the Weir Foundation board of directors I'm pleased to advise that we are undertaking a new initiative in 2006, 2007 and hopefully in years forward called the Mike Weir Miracle Golf Drive for Kids. What is it? The Mike Weir Miracle Golf Drive for Kids is a national charitable initiative of the Mike Weir Foundation encouraging the participation of golfers, nongolfers, golf courses, and key sponsors to raise funds and awareness on behalf of the Children's Miracle Network, and their group of 14 hospitals across the country.

The Mike Weir Miracle Golf Drive for Kids will feature special events throughout the year, to try to raise funds and awareness, but most particularly on June 25th, in 2007 at the Sunnydale Golf and Country Club Mike will attend to help the Children's Health Foundation of London and their annual charity tournament.

I'm equally pleased to be announcing that we're associated in this effort with the National Golf Course Owners Association of Canada. Through the NGCOA and Jeff Calderwood we will be profiling and encouraging this initiative during their take a kid to the course week, which happens July 7 through July 9th in 2007. Last year alone the NGCOA out of their 13 hundred members had over five hundred golf courses participating in this initiative with over a hundred thousand children and families playing or golfing for free.

As I mentioned at the beginning the mandate of the Mike Weir Foundation has been to advance children and children's causes, their physical and emotional welfare. And we can't think of a better way to execute on that mandate than to partner with the Children's Miracle Network, their group of hospitals, the 2.6 million children that they help every year and the 13 hundred members of the National Golf Course Owners Association of Canada.

There are people that have been instrumental to get to this stage, and they are here mostly with us this afternoon. Before I address any questions you'd like to have, I would like to turn things over to John Hartman and Mike, to actually make the presentation of the logo and Mike to make some additional comments.

I'll pass things over to John Hartman, senior vice president of Children's Miracle Network to say a few words.

MR. HARTMAN: Thank you. And on behalf of Children's Miracle Network in Canada, and the 14 hospitals that we represent, Mike used the word focused and determination, that's what it's all about. That's what we do every day at those children's hospitals across Canada. We have one little girl here named Kendall Rodehouse, who is ten, and five nights ago she was at one of our children's hospitals right here in McMaster. If you think about focus and determination, great hospitals, great families, Kendall, you and your mom and dad are all about it. We are extremely pleased about this. It offers the kids an opportunity to work with the Foundation and Mike's vision to help those out. We're grateful for this, thank you.

MIKE WEIR: I'm very excited. It's been a couple of years in the making that Mike and our board members have talked about creating an initiative that was not only attached to my hometown of Sarnia, but something that's more national. And we've talked with John, and he approached us from the London hospital and it kind of grew from there. The Children's Miracle Network actually being based in Salt Lake City, I know a lot about them and what they do. Once we heard that the initiative with the 14 hospitals, we were all very excited and it worked out fantastic and a great partnership. I'm very excited.

We're going to have an event that I am participating in at Sunnydale Golf Club in London next year, I believe June 25th. And I'm very excited about the potential, the money that we can raise for these hospitals and kids. Bricia and I are very excited. My kids started school, she really wanted to be here, because she feels strongly about what we're doing. She sends her best. We're all excited, as everybody in the Foundation is as well.

Q. How is it going to work? How is it going to generate money?

MIKE CRAY: We're still in discussions on how exactly we're going to raise it. It's going to be mostly on line. But as of right now it should be live as of 2:00, www.mikeweirmiraclegolfdrive.ca and there's online donating on that right now. We will encourage both pledge based fund raising, online fund raising, and the help of the NGCOA, grouping with their golf courses, and Taking Your Kid to the Golf Course, and the goal being that we raise tens of thousands of dollars, if not hundreds of thousands in the first year, and then ultimately somewhere down the road make this a national fund raiser coast to coast with national recognition.

Q. Along these lines, as you've gotten older and you obviously got a platform in Canada, and I suppose it's not always easy to welcome a platform when you're an athlete and people talk about athletes being role models, but I'm curious, as you've gotten older has it become more important, do you welcome these responsibilities, do you welcome the idea of being a role model, or do you feel it's your obligation, just because of what you do, your ability to hit a golf ball, how do you think of all these things?

MIKE WEIR: I guess I feel that definitely it's important, the position I'm in, it's something that Bricia and I felt more in the bigger scope that I feel a responsibility to other things, we just felt strongly about it, her and I, we're in the position that we've had two healthy kids, and that's why we came up with the mission statement that we did, how we were focused on that. But on the same hand, yeah, I do feel a certain amount of responsibility. But it's really Bricia and I just feeling grateful, bottom line, and we want to help out as much as we can, because we're in a position that we can do it.

End of FastScripts.

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