With the Presidents Cup signed, sealed and delivered to Royal Montreal for 2024, Ryan Hart, the newly minted executive director from Winnipeg, politely suggested that the host country curb its enthusiasm on speculation surrounding who would be skipper of the International team.
After all, there is a Presidents Cup to be played at Quail Hollow just over two years from now and that, understandably, is the priority.
“I think with the runway we have, we have Charlotte (N.C.) in front of us in 2022 and I think once we get through Charlotte, I believe the conversations will begin from there,” said Hart, who gave a nod to Adam Hadwin, Graham DeLaet and Mike Weir, who had joined the Zoom conference for the Royal Montreal announcement.
“it would be hard for us to believe that they wouldn’t be in the conversation, so we look forward to that when it happens,” said Hart.
DeLaet, depending on the back issues that have plagued him the past few years, and Hadwin are more likely to play, as is Corey Conners, Nick Taylor, Mackenzie Hughes and quite possibly, the rapidly ascending Taylor Pendrith on the Korn Ferry Tour.
Any combination of those names could conceivably give Canada its strongest representation ever on the International team, but when it comes to captain, there is only one name in the minds of partisan Canadians.
“If that does come my way, that would be an unbelievable honour,” said Weir.
“I’ve been pretty vocal in saying the Presidents Cup has been a huge part of my career, not only getting to know some of the best players on the International side from around the world, the likes of Ernie (Els) and Greg Norman and (Steve) Elkington and Vijay (Singh), all the guys I’ve had a chance to play with over the years and it really enhanced my game, playing with those guys and playing in that competition,” said Weir.
“Early on in my career, I was really eager to get on a Presidents Cup team, and so, to play a few of them and to be part of it for a number of years now, you know, to be the captain, that would be a huge honour. I would really relish that if that comes my way,” he added.
The playing credentials of the 2003 Masters champ are too numerous to list here, but his five Presidents Cup appearances and his 1 up victory over Tiger Woods in Sunday singles in 2007 at Royal Montreal
His playing career is an important attribute on his captain’s resume, as is the respect Weir draws from officials, fans and players around the world, including Woods, who embraced him after their epic match in 2007 and slipped the green jacket over Weir’s shoulders at Augusta National in 2003.
Yet, there’s more to it than that and Weir, who played important lobbying roles in bringing the Presidents Cup to Royal Montreal in 2007 and 2024, has been beefing up his qualifications for the day he might become International skipper.
Assuming that day does come in 2024, Weir will be in a position to make some tough decisions.
Captain’s picks can be contentious and what would happen if a couple of Canadians were playing well, but weren’t automatic picks. Would the second guessing begin in this country if Weir used a captain’s pick to choose a player from another country who was also playing well and left the Canadian off the team?
On the other hand, would he be accused of favouritism outside of this country if Weir chose the Canadian?
There are so many situations in the heat of competition in which a captain can influence the outcome and, depending on the circumstances, those decisions can be put under the microscope by fans, media and even the players. Just look at what’s happening with a few NHL teams that recently exited the playoffs early.
Weir’s history as a player in the Presidents Cup and the respect he’s earned over the years will serve him well in such situations, but practical, non–playing leadership experience puts Weir at the top of the list of International captains candidates for 2024.
Weir has spent the last two Presidents Cups as an International assistant captain, first to Nick Price in 2017 and then to Ernie Els last year. It remains to be seen if he’s named in that role for the 2022 Presidents Cup, but considering his work ethic as a player, it’s likely Weir absorbed plenty as an assistant.
“I guess me being part of it a couple times on the captain’s side and seeing what Nick Price went through and the job Ernie did as well, you learn things along the way and you hope that you can add to that as you go forward,” said Weir.
“Whether I’m an assistant next time in Charlotte hopefully, or if a captaincy came my way in Montréal, if that happened, I think being part of it, definitely helps. You know, the U.S. guys have done that,” he said.
“So yeah, there’s some benefit to that, I think, and learning how the pairings and seeing how different guys gel and all the number of different moving things that we put into putting the pairings together, so, hopefully, it will be an asset,” added Weir.
It will be an important asset to add to all the others that Weir brings to the table as he faces a new phase in his career.