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Weir proud of impact Masters win has had on Canadian players

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The Canadian Press
3/27/2013 5:34:26 PM
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When Mike Weir made his acceptance speech after winning the 2003 Masters, he said he hoped that his victory would inspire some young Canadian golfers.

It certainly did.

It's impossible to know just how many Canadian kids picked up a golf club after watching Weir beat Len Mattiace in a playoff that day at Augusta National. But the impact of Weir's performance is already visible on the PGA Tour.

Weir said he thought it was "pretty cool" to hear that Canadian player Graham DeLaet didn't have plans to become a professional golfer until he watched that Masters victory. He added he's very proud of the fact that his win may have influenced the next generation of young golfers in this country.

"If that did inspire Graham and some of the other guys, that's wonderful." Weir said. "That makes it worth it."

Weir, from Bright's Grove, Ont., became the first Canadian-born men's player to win a major and the first left-hander to win the Masters. He weighed in on the accomplishment Wednesday as the 10th anniversary of his victory approaches.

The 42-year-old southpaw, who now lives in Utah, said the memories came rushing back during a recent visit to the famous course.

"Going back there a couple weeks ago, I kind of relived some of the shots maybe a little more than I normally would," he said.

One of the more memorable shots on that final Sunday came on the 18th green. Weir hit a clutch eight-foot putt and went on to win the playoff.

"It was a big moment so to be able to step up there and do that, I was proud to be able to do that," Weir said.

The Canadian used well-placed fairway shots and a stellar short game to earn the victory. The win was the defining moment of his career.

"I'm a fairly understated guy and I was a little taken aback by the attention, I guess, at the start," he said. "That was a little bit tough to get used to. But other than that, my lifestyle didn't really change a whole lot."

Weir has since dabbled in several businesses -- including course design, clothing and wine. He has done a lot of charity work and is a member of the Order of Canada.

Weir, who has recorded eight career victories as a pro, is the most successful Canadian golfer ever. However, he hasn't won since 2007 and injuries have hampered his play in recent years.

"I feel healthy now except for a few little setbacks I'm having," Weir said. "But I feel like I can still play some good golf going forward. It's just kind of part of the ride of life. We go through ups and downs and it's just part of it.

"It's been disappointing though that I haven't (been healthy) but at the same time, I've enjoyed a lot of things and aspects of my life in recent years."

Weir is nursing a rib injury but still plans to be in the field at Augusta for the April 11-14 tournament.

"Maybe I'll get down there a little early and maybe this rest will do me some good because I have been spending a lot of time practising," he said. "I've put in a tremendous amount of work ... maybe this little break here will be good."

Mike Weir (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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