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Weir staying busy with Presidents Cup prep ahead of September tournament

Mike Weir Mike Weir - Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Since he was named captain of the International Team for this September’s Presidents Cup more than a year ago, Mike Weir has been involved in some of the less glamourous duties of his position.

For instance, he’s had to pick out the team uniforms, arrange activities for the wives and girlfriends, secure transportation between the hotel and course, look at menus and even think about entertainment for the team room. 

Now, with just six months left until the Internationals take on the American side, Weir is getting down to the tough jobs, and none will be tougher than assembling the 12 players that will make-up the team. 

“These last six months, the focus has been on the players and the golf course,” said Weir. “That's kind of my focus now is keep an eye on these guys, getting them to gel, getting some of the new guys to know one another.”

To that end, Weir was in Orlando this week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he’ll host 16 players for dinner on Tuesday. There’s a good chance that most of the 12 players who will make up the International Team will be around the table. 

“We want to bring some camaraderie early,” stated Weir. “That’s always been a part of our strategy as we have a lot of different cultures, a lot of different backgrounds and we have some new faces this year who look like they’ll be part of the team.”

The squad will be comprised of six players who will automatically earn spots via the ranking system. And six more who will be picked by Weir. 

Right now, the top six players represent five different countries. One of those, Nick Taylor, is a Canadian, but four more home-country golfers sit inside the top 17, with Adam Hadwin (ninth), Corey Conners (12th), Adam Svensson (16) and Mackenzie Hughes (17).

There are also a number of veterans in position to make the team, including Jason Day, Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Scott. All three are currently inside the top 12. 

One group of players, from which Weir won’t be able to pick, are those who play on LIV Golf. That would include heavyweights such as Joaquin Niemann, Louis Oosthuizen and Cam Smith, but they’ve been ruled out by the PGA Tour, which operates the Presidents Cup. 

“It's just unfortunate situation that we're in right now,” said Weir. “I've been told they're not eligible.”

The make-up of the team will be important for numerous reasons. But one at the top of Weir’s to-do list if course set-up. 

As the captain gets closer to gauging the strengths and weaknesses of his lineup, he will work with the grounds crew at Royal Montreal’s Blue Course to adjust the grooming to favour the International’s style of play. 
It’s all perfectly within the rules and something the European team has done well in defeating the Americans in the Ryder Cup. 

Course grooming is just one way in which Weir hopes to put the American team at a disadvantage. He is also hoping the atmosphere will be decidedly unfriendly to the away side. He wants to ensure the U.S. knows they are the visitors in this competition. 

“When the U.S. goes overseas to play (the Ryder Cup), it's a totally different atmosphere than when they're playing at home,” Weir stated. 

“And traditionally, in the Presidents Cup, there hasn't been that much of a contrast and that is our challenge, to make it more so.”

Weir is banking on bringing the good old hockey atmosphere to the golf course. He wants fans to think of his side as the Montreal Canadiens and the Americans like the Boston Bruins, an archrival. 

He’s also hoping to get an entire country on his side, cheering and getting involved. 

The idea, he said, is to make the other guys feel a little uncomfortable, a feeling that wasn’t always present the last time the Presidents Cup came to Montreal in 2007. It really only showed up on the final day when Weir took on Tiger Woods and beat him on the final hole. 

Another element that should play into the International’s favour is the look around the course. 

As opposed to the white fabric that is usually wrapped around the stands and concessions, this year it will be all black with the team’s gold shield logo.

As well as naming six players to his team, Weir will fill out a roster of five assistant captains. The first three are pretty much finalized and will be unveiled in mid-April, while the remaining two are still being considered. 

All the work is an attempt to give the International team just its second Presidents Cup title. The last one was back in 1998. Other than a tie in 2003. It’s been all U.S.

While he’s working hard on all his Presidents Cup duties, Weir is also trying to keep his game in some type of shape. He was planning to leave Orlando for Tucson, Ariz., on Wednesday to tee it up at the PGA Tour Champions Cologuard Classic, which begins on Friday.