Internationals fly under Canadian flag at Royal Montreal

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MONTREAL, Sep 27 (Reuters) Australian Ian Baker-Finch, assistant captain of the Internationals for this week's Presidents Cup against the United States, has called on Canadian fans to rally behind the home team.

Left-hander Mike Weir is the lone Canadian in a 12-man line-up that also includes players from South Africa, Australia, Fiji, Argentina and South Korea.

''Just remember we are 12 Canadians this week,'' Baker-Finch told a news conference on the eve of today's opening foursomes at Royal Montreal Golf Club.

''I want everyone out there to come and root for us and yell as loudly for all of us as you are for Mike. We'll be extremely happy and we'll do our best to make you proud of us.'' Weir, a prime mover in the Cup being held north of the US border for the first time, is delighted the biennial team competition is being staged on his home soil.

''I'm the only Canadian guy here and I've looked forward to this for a long time,'' the 2003 Masters champion said. ''I look at it as excitement more than anything else.

''And we've got 11 horses here that are going to help me out as well, so it's a little different than the individual game we normally play.'' CAPTAIN'S PICKS Weir, a seven-times PGA Tour winner who has played in the last three Presidents Cups, was selected for this edition as one of two captain's picks by Gary Player.

''He really wanted to play very badly, understandably so,'' Player said. ''He's a terrific competitor, a fighter, and I've got tremendous confidence in him.

''If we didn't have a Canadian in the team playing in Canada, in my opinion the series would be quite flat amongst the Canadian people.'' Weir has been paired with Fiji's Vijay Singh for the second foursomes match on Thursday when they will take on Americans Phil Mickelson and Woody Austin.

With a sell-out crowd expected for all four days at Royal Montreal, Weir is certain to attract huge support.

''I love playing with Mike, he's a good friend of mine and we've played a lot of golf together,'' said Singh, who beat Weir in a playoff for the 2004 Canadian Open.

''We have a bit of history at the Canadian Open and hopefully the crowd gets to my side as well this week.'' REUTERS BJR KN1440

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