Masters winner Mike Weir commits to Bellsouth Classic
BY iseekgolf.com | US PGA Tour | 2004 BellSouth Classic | General | 23 Mar 2004
Mike Weir, the reigning Masters champion, will play in the 2004 BellSouth Classic along with 143 of the world’s top professional golfers including the previously announced Padraig Harrington, Thomas Bjorn, Chris Dimarco and David Toms. The 36th annual PGA TOUR event will be played April 1st – 4th at TPC at Sugarloaf in Duluth, GA. Contested over 72 holes, the tournament offers a total purse of US$4.5 million and a first prize check of US$810,000. Here are some quick facts on Weir, who is ranked 5th in the world:
- Weir is off to another great start in 2004. He successfully defended his title at the Nissan Open in Los Angeles. He also tied for 4th at the AT&T Pebble Beach and tied for 4th at the FBR Open. With US$1,446,867 in the bank so far, he ranks 5th on the TOUR money list. It’s the 5th time he has exceeded US$1 million in his seven-year career.
- Last year was a truly break-out year for Weir as he won the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and the Nissan Open early in the year and then took his career to new heights with a dramatic triumph at The Masters where he topped Len Mettiace in a one-hole playoff. In 21 events, he missed just one cut and collected 10 Top 10s and 16 Top 25s, a remarkable level of consistency. Hi ended up 5th on the final money list with a career high of US$4,918,910.
- The 33-year-old native of Sarnia, Ontario is quickly gaining acclaim as the greatest Canadian player to ever compete on the PGA TOUR. He already ranks 19th all-time on the TOUR money list with just over US$14.2 million.
- Not surprisingly, he stands tall in the 2004 statistics. He ranks in the top 10 in 12 separate categories and is 3rd in the very important all-around. His final round scoring average of 68.38 is a big reason for his success.
- In 2001, he won both the WGC – American Express Championship and the season-ending TOUR Championship. Thanks to those wins and four other top 10s, he became the first Canadian golfer to crack the World Golf Ranking top 10.
- In five appearances at the BellSouth Classic, he has banked US$508,400 thanks to a tie for 5th in 1999 and a solo second in 2001. Surprisingly, he missed the cut last year, the week before he captured the green jacket in Augusta.
- He earned his first PGA TOUR title at the 1999 Air Canada Championship with a two-stroke victory over Fred Funk. The key to victory was an eagle-2 from 147 yards on the 14th hole during the final round. He became the first Canadian to win on native soil since Pat Fletcher won the 1954 Canadian Open. He was the first Canadian to win on TOUR since Richard Zokol won the 1992 Greater Milwaukee Open. And he joined Phil Mickelson, Bob Charles, Ernie Gonzalez, Sam Adams and Russ Cochran as the only left-handers to win on PGA TOUR.
- Weir played on the Presidents Cup team in 2000 and 2003 and is a three-time member of Canada’s World Cup team (2000, 2001, 2002).
- He was an avid hockey player while growing up, and he teamed with NHL legend Wayne Gretzky at this year’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Sponsor exemptions: Ricky Barnes, the 2002 U.S. Amateur champion, has accepted a sponsor exemption to the tournament. He joins Colin Montgomerie, Seve Ballesteros, Larry Mize, Scott Simpson, Padraig Harrington, Paul Lawrie and Franklin Langham.
Todd Hamilton, who birdied the final two holes to win his first PGA TOUR event at the Honda Classic, is in the field as well.
Source – BellSouth Classic