BYU alum Mike Weir making his delayed debut on PGA Tour Champions

BYU alumnus Mike Weir watches his tee shot on the second hole during the first round of the U.S. Open Championship golf tournament on June 13, 2019, in Pebble Beach, Calif. Weir, a Sandy resident, will make his PGA Champions debut Friday in the The Ally Challenge in Grand Blanc, Mich. (AP file Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

For golf purposes, Mike Weir’s 50th birthday arrives Friday, 2 ½ months later than scheduled.

The Sandy resident will become the first Utahn since Jay Don Blake in 2009 to launch a full-time PGA Champions career when he tees off Friday in The Ally Challenge in Grand Blanc, Mich. That’s not far from the scheduled site of the 2020 Senior PGA Championship, where Weir was supposed to play in May, shortly after turning 50.

A big celebration was in the works, with friends and family members coming across the border from his childhood home in Ontario. Those plans were scrubbed when the tour calendar was disrupted by COVID-19, with several tournaments canceled. The restart comes Friday, although fans are not yet being allowed into PGA Tour-sanctioned events, so Weir’s followers will have to keep waiting to see him perform in person.

Regardless, the former BYU golfer is eager to play. He has tuned up for the 50-over circuit by playing in five Korn Ferry Tour events this year, making the 36-hole cut in two of them – including the Utah Championship in Farmington.

“These guys are so good, so talented,” he said last month at Oakridge Country Club. “I just don’t have the firepower week in and week out to keep up with these guys, but I do on the Champions Tour.”

Other members of the Utah Golf Hall of Fame – Blake, Dan Forsman, Mike Reid and Bruce Summerhays – enjoyed considerable success on the tour, especially in their early 50s. Those four combined to win 11 events. Weir also should thrive, now that’s he more healthy after dealing with elbow and back injuries in his mid 40s.

“My game feels really good,” he said.

Weir’s last full season on the PGA Tour was in 2014. Yet with earnings of nearly $28 million, he already was well positioned for a Champions career. The eight-time winner is in the top 20 on the all-time money list for 50-over players, guaranteeing him several years of access to the tour schedule. That includes a sizable chunk of the 2020 calendar, with tournaments booked intermittently into November. With built-in breaks, Weir intends to play most of the remaining schedule.

Asked about his level of rejuvenation at 50, Weir said, “It’s strong. I’m really looking forward to the Champions Tour.”

Hall of Champions

Sandy resident Mike Weir is the first Utahn in 11 years to join PGA Tour Champions on a full-time basis. Here’s how others have fared in the past 30 seasons:

Bruce Summerhays – Three wins, $9.0 million.

Dan Forsman – Three wins, $4.9 million.

Jay Don Blake – Three wins, $5.3 million.

Mike Reid – Two wins, $4.3 million.

Bob Betley – One win, $1.0 million.