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Golfer Weir announces Pete Bender as new caddy

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WINNIPEG — Coming off his worst season since joining the PGA Tour in 1999, Canadian Mike Weir will start putting the pieces back together in two weeks with a new caddy.

Weir told a conference call with reporters this morning that he has decided to start the 2011 season with veteran PGA Tour caddy Pete Bender. Weir's long-time friend and caddy Brennan Little told him in late 2010 that he was leaving to work for Sean O'Hair.

Weir's season will begin in two weeks at the Bob Hope Classic in the California desert.

The 40-year-old native of Sarnia, Ont., missed more than three months of action in 2010 after suffering a partial tear of a ligament in his right elbow.

The year was going miserably when he shut things down in August. He had made it into the top 10 only once during the season, that during last January's Hope tournament.

"I'm 100 per cent confident I'll be back as one of the best players in the world," Weir said.

To start 2011, Weir has been granted a minor medical exemption by the PGA Tour and will have five tournaments to try to bring his money total up to that of the 125th player on that money list in 2010.

That means Weir must add $227,885 to his 2010 earnings of $559,092 (151st) in order to keep a full-time card for 2011.

If he is unable to do that, Weir will still be able to invoke a lifetime earnings exemption he's earned in order to play full-time this year. He has made more than $26 million the PGA Tour in his career.

He shares the status with George Knudson as the Canadian win the most PGA Tour wins, eight. Weir's last victory came in late 2007 and since then, he's slipped to No. 177 in the World Golf Rankings.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

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