Mike Weir shocks Calgary’s carya with gift from Shaw Charity Classic


BRANSON, MISSOURI – AUGUST 19: Mike Weir of Canada hits his tee shot on the eighth hole during the first round of the Charles Schwab Series at Bass Pro Shops Big Cedar Lodge at Buffalo Ridge Golf Course on August 19, 2020 in Branson, Missouri.

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Mike Weir knows his way around a golf course.

And even though the beloved Canadian golfer couldn’t tee up the 2020 Shaw Charity Classic — which was supposed to tee-off Friday until the coronavirus pandemic scrubbed it — he’s found a way into the hearts of Calgarians.

The 2003 Masters king donated $10,000 to the community on behalf of the PGA Tour Champions tournament.

“I hope it goes to good use, and I know it will,” said Weir during a Zoom call he joined Friday, surprising the other callers — including officials from carya, a charity helping city families deal with mental health — with an appearance and the donation.

“(What you do is) a huge factor in helping our kids . . . What a great program — really proud of what you’ve done.”

Of course, what the Shaw Charity Classic has done is drum up more than $50 million for charities since it first swung into action in the city eight years ago.

Last year, it set a tourney record, collecting $14.07 million to benefit 200 youth-based causes.

And this year, even though the golf didn’t go, the event’s Birdies for Kids program is giving to 214 charities.

“Over $50 million in the community?” Weir said. “That’s incredible. I’m super happy what you guys are doing there — that sounds like a fantastic program.”

Mike Weir of Canada putts on the practice green during the second round of the Ally Challenge presented by McLaren at Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club on August 1, 2020 in Grand Blanc, Michigan.

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Weir himself has a foundation dedicated to advancing the physical, emotional and educational welfare of children in the Sarnia-Lambton region of Ontario.

Since 2004, The Mike Weir Foundation has raised over $8 million for numerous local and national children’s charities across Canada.

“As my foundation is leaning towards mental health here in the last couple years, we’re opening a facility in Sarnia where kids could go and get the help they need, whether that’s counselling help with school or just a sense of community where they can go and be with the other kids that may be having similar problems and issues,” Weir said. “They can go somewhere where they can feel like they’re not alone.”

The charity of choice for Weir’s latest gesture to helping Canadian kids, carya — formerly Calgary Family Services — was thrilled to hear of the donation.

“That’s amazing,” said Jolene Livingston, carya’s interim chief development officer. “Thank you so much.”

Jennifer Moir, another carya official, echoed the sentiment.

“Yes . . . thank you,” Moir said. “I think we’ve done extremely well, this year. It’s our best year ever. So we we’ve really maximized our donations this year. So we’re pleased with the results in light of the current (COVID-19) situation.”

The Shaw Charity Classic has helped.

Mike Weir of Canada plays a shot from the second tee during the second round of the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links on June 14, 2019 in Pebble Beach, California.

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Despite the health crisis, Birdies for Kids continues to be busy, helped by a new venture that kicked off this week — the Tap-To-Donate program on tap at a long list of local golf courses.

“We’re certainly gonna go full throttle — make sure next year we can raise as much money we’ve had in the past,” said the tourney’s executive director, Sean Van Kesteren. “And this year, one of our goals is obviously to raise as much money for all the charities.”

So the big name — and big cash — brought by Weir to the effort is certainly welcome.

“I’m happy to come support (your charities) and support the event,” added Weir, who just turned 50 and was looking forward to his first eligible entry into the Shaw Charity Classic.

“It’s sad we’re not up in Calgary this year, but I’m really looking forward to next year. And, you know, guys have mentioned to me how much they’ve enjoyed Calgary and, obviously, the fly fishing up there and all the different things you can do. So, you know, I think everybody’s looking forward to getting back.”



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