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Teen has special reasons to be cheering for Weir

Thursday, April 09, 2009


Taylor Tisdall spotted a friendly, familiar face Wednesday at the Masters Tournament.

Taylor Tisdall, 16, of Canada, had his dream of going to the Masters fulfilled with the help of the Mike Weir Foundation. Surrounded by his mother, Denise, brother Drew and father, Greg, Taylor waited for Weir to finish his practice round before going to the Par-3 Contest on Wednesday. (JOHN CURRY/STAFF)

"Mike Weir's great," the 16-year-old from London, Ontario, said. "And he's going to win the Masters."

Taylor, who has been a fan of the 2003 Masters champion for as long as he can remember, was born into a family of avid golfers and learned to swing a club as soon as he could walk.

The teen was born with cerebral palsy and epilepsy, which have limited his balance and speech but not his love for the game or his admiration for Weir.

"He's met Mike several times, starting when he was 9," said Taylor's father, Greg Tisdall. "It's always been his dream to come to the Masters."

That dream was realized Wednesday with help from The Sunshine Foundation of Canada, a group that fulfills dreams for children with severe disabilities or life-threatening illnesses.

The foundation teamed up with Mike Weir's brother, Craig Weir, who represents the Mike Weir Foundation -- also dedicated to special needs children -- and a third group, The Plunkett Foundation.

On Wednesday, Taylor, his parents and brother Drew joined Craig Weir to watch their favorite pro during the practice round and the Par-3 Contest.

In between, Mike Weir took some time out to greet one of his most ardent fans, sign a Masters flag and offer Taylor an autographed ball from the tournament. Weir also provided the family badges for this year's event.

Greg Tisdall, a teacher and organizer of a golf league for children with physical disabilities, said the Weirs have gone out of their way to help children.

"Mike has been so receptive to my son," he said. "He is such a gentleman."

Now that Taylor has visited Augusta and been to the Masters, he has a new goal:

"I want to come back."

Reach Rob Pavey at 868-1222, ext. 119, or rob.pavey@augustachronicle.com.

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