Tributes paid to Russell Weir, Cowal legend and Tartan Tour Chieftain

Tributes have been paid to Russell Weir, the long-serving Cowal club professional who was dubbed the ‘Tartan Tour Chieftain’ at the height of his playing career.

Dunoon-born Weir, who has passed away at the age of 71, had been associated with his home-town club since 1960 as he started out in the game as a junior.

He won the Scottish Boys’ Championship at North Berwick in 1968, beating Kirkcaldy’s Mike Grubb 6&4 in the final, and had the honour of captaining Scotland against England as both a Boy and Youth internationalist.

Weir turned professional in 1970, when he took up the post at Cowal and, through his playing feats around Scotland, he helped put the club on the map.

Great Britain and Ireland captain Russell Weir pictured at the 2011 PGA Cup at the CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, California. Picture: Scott Halleran/Getty Images.

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He won over 100 tournaments on the Tartan Tour, including three successes in the Dunbar Pro Championship and four victories in the Sunderland Masters.

His prolific strike rate saw him top the Order of Merit on five occasions at a time when he was competing against the likes of John Chillas, Craig Maltman and Ian Collins.

Weir made eight PGA Cup appearances, a record shared with his compatriot David Huish, and registered 15 victories. He also captained Great Britain & Ireland in the event on two occasions – a defeat at CordeValle in California in 2011 then two years later at Slaley Hall, where it ended in a dramatic 13-13 tie

He was a two-time winner of the PGA Professional Championship, landing back-to-back triumphs in 1987 and 1988 at Sandiway and Royal St David’s respectively.

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Weir also won the European Club Professional Championship three times before making a stunning start to his European Seniors Tour career when he won the 2001 TEMES Seniors Open in Greece in just his sixth appearance on the over-50s circuit.

The low point of his low point came while leading the field at the 1991 European Club Professionals Championship at Broekpolder in Holland as his leg gave way.

It transpired he had broken his tibia and fibula and required ten months recuperation before being able to set foot on a golf course again.

Alan Tait, a former European Tour player, described Weir, who made an PGA Honorary Member in 2013, as “arguably the best golfer to have played on the PGA Tartan Tour”.

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In a tribute on social media, he added: “One of the nicest chaps you’ll ever meet. Total legend on and off the course.”

Former Blairgowrie professional Charles Dernie said Weir was a “great player and a really good guy” while Ian Taylor, the ex-Drumpellier professional Ian Taylor commented that it was an“exceptionally sad day for all in Scottish golf and also those associated with the PGA Cup”.

Scott Henderson, a former European Tour Rookie of the Year, said Weir was a “fantastic player and an even better guy!”.

Jason Boyd, the professional at Montrose Golf Links, described him as “a proper gentleman, a great man and a very talented golfer”.

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And Calum Innes, a former Scottish amateur star who is now based in Sweden, said Weir was “the ultimate golf professional”, adding: “I am very fortunate to have profited from the wisdom of his ways, his example will have influenced so many!”

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