Cover

HE LIFTED OUR SPIRITS

JAMES DEACON December 29 2003
Cover

HE LIFTED OUR SPIRITS

JAMES DEACON December 29 2003

HE LIFTED OUR SPIRITS

JAMES DEACON

WHEN HE won the Masters last April, Mike Weir did more than become the first Canadian man ever to win one of golf’s major championships. The hard-working lefty from Bright’s Grove, Ont., lifted our spirits. War was raging in Iraq; SARS was on its way to killing 44 Canadians and ravaging the economy; winter, one of the worst on record in many parts of the country, wasn’t letting go. Then Weir, steely and composed, tapped in for victory and the fabled green jacket, and a nation of duffers rejoiced.

It was a life-changing event for Weir, too. That’s reflected in the tournament coverage he now gets on U.S. networks that once ignored him, and in the reaction of Canadian fans, for whom his victory at Augusta National stands among the great events in the country’s sporting history. But in his heart, he insists, he is unchanged. When asked for his list of favourite moments in 2003, right there with the Masters is having his 92-year-old grandfather attend the Bell Canadian Open in Hamilton last Septemberhis most ardent supporter had never seen him play live. And even though he lives in Draper, Utah, with his wife, Bricia, and their two young daughters, Weir possesses qualities that we like to think are so Canadian: modesty, perseverence, being good in the corners.

And pragmatism. As defending Masters champion, he gets to choose the menu for the past-champions’ dinner when the tournament returns to Augusta next April. That puts him on the spot: Weir’s mother is Italian and he loves pasta and veal parmigiana, but Bricia is Mexican and he enjoys his tacos, too. So neither will feel slighted, he’s leaning toward “a bit of both”—just what you’d expect, given the national predisposition for compromise. As well, to complement the cuisine, Weir promises to have “a few Canadian beers there for all the guys.” For the taste, of course, and perhaps to put out the odd gastronomic fire.