(LONDON, Ont.) – LondonOntarioGolf.com has honoured Mike Weir as its recipient of the 2014 London Ontario Golf Heart Award at Greenhills Golf Club – a ClubLink property in London, Ont.
LondonOntarioGolf.com (est. 2005) celebrates its 10th season in 2014. In 2011, publisher and editor, Jeffrey Reed established the Heart Award to recognize members of the Greater London golf industry who unselfishly give back to the game of golf. The Heart Award recipient is honoured within the categories of golf professionals/instructors, golf mentors, golf course owners/operators, golf course architects/designers and members of the media.
Previous recipients of the London Ontario Golf Heart Award include: long-time Fanshawe Golf Club head professional Mike Olizarevitch (2011), who was instrumental in creating the Parkside Nine golf course where those who have suffered a stroke, those affected by heart disease, and anyone who is physically challenged can play golf; Fred Kern (2012), a long-time Thames Valley Golf Club head professional and Tyson Tour convenor; and Patty Howard (2013), the first female head professional at a mixed club in Canada, who after 40 years of service in the golf industry, retired this past December.
Weir joined today’s festivities via Skype from his home in Sandy, Utah. His parents, Rich and Rowie, and his brother, Jim, were on hand to receive the award.
“Without a doubt, Mike Weir has made an unparalleled impact on local golf, extending beyond his roots in Bright’s Grove, Ontario,” said Reed. “I’ve covered Mike’s progress on the links since he was a two-time winner of the Junior Tyson Tour’s Les Thomas Trophy (1986-87). Because of his success on the golf course, including that memorable win at the 2003 Masters Tournament, and concurrently because of what he has done off the course with the Mike Weir Foundation, and Mike Weir Miracle Golf Drive, Mike has inspired members of the golf community in the Greater London area – including me – to achieve greatness in their own lives.”
“With my roots in Southwestern Ontario, it is an honour to be recognized by LondonOntarioGolf.com as the 2014 Heart Award recipient,” said Weir. “It is great that the London Ontario Golf Heart Award brings attention to the Heart & Stroke Foundation and promotes a healthy active lifestyle. As a PGA TOUR professional, fitness and heart health are of the utmost importance. With some of the best golf facilities in the province right in my backyard, as a kid it was easy to walk the course and stay active. The Greater London area is home to many premier courses, which provide a great test for junior and amateur golfers who have the ambition to play on the PGA TOUR one day.”
Born less than an hour west of London in Bright’s Grove, Weir honed his skills under former coach Steve Bennett’s watchful eye at Huron Oaks Golf Club. Weir won the 1986 Canadian Juvenile Championship, 1988 Ontario Junior Championship, and the 1990 and 1992 Ontario Amateur Championship. In 2010, he was inducted into the Ontario Golf Hall of Fame.
A graduate of Brigham Young University, Weir was the Canadian Tour (now PGA TOUR Canada) Rookie of the Year in 1993, and Order of Merit winner in 1997. In 1999, Weir won his first PGA TOUR title at the 1999 Air Canada Championship with a two-stroke victory over Fred Funk, becoming the first Canadian to win on Tour since Richard Zokol won the 1992 Greater Milwaukee Open, and the first Canadian to win on native soil since Pat Fletcher won the 1954 Canadian Open.
Weir emerged as one of the game’s brightest stars with his Masters victory, a dramatic playoff win over Len Mattiace. His breakthrough year on the PGA TOUR earned him the 2003 Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s top athlete of the year and the Lionel Conacher Award, given to Canada’s top male athlete of the year, an award he previously won in 2000 and 2001. In total, Weir has won eight times on the PGA TOUR, has competed as part of five Presidents Cup squads, and six times competed in the World Cup of Golf.
On a national level, Weir’s success and contributions through charitable work have attributed to two Order of Canada inductions (2007, 2009). In 2009, Weir was inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.
Weir has used his success as a professional golfer as a platform for helping other families in need with the creation of the Mike Weir Foundation in 2004. Mike launched a national fundraising program through his foundation, called the Mike Weir Miracle Golf Drive for Kids, supporting Children’s Miracle Network. The first Mike Weir Miracle Golf Drive tournament in 2007, held at Sunningdale Golf and Country Club in London, Ontario, raised $562,000 for the Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario. Since 2007, the Mike Weir Foundation and the Mike Weir Miracle Golf Drive for Kids has raised close to $5 million for Children’s Miracle Network partner hospitals.
Today, Weir lives in Utah with his wife, Bricia, and their daughters, Elle and Lili – but he remains an ambassador for Canadian golf.
“London Ontario Golf is honoured to have Mike Weir as our newest winner of the Heart Award,” said Reed. “His support of the London and area community, and his status as the greatest Canadian golfer of all time have both equally inspired all generations of golfers in Southwestern Ontario. We look forward to celebrating with the Weir family this June.”
The Heart & Stroke Foundation is the Official Charity of London Ontario Golf.
The Heart Award will be put on display at Mike Weir Winery in Beamsville, Ontario – celebrating its grand opening on June 21.