Mike Weir is one of three Masters champions in the field this week at the Fiji International and it was another that drew him there.

The Canadian has been a longtime friend of Fijian Vijay Singh and has brought his family to Fiji at the encouragement of the national hero.

“It’s beautiful, it’s been a bucket-list item for my daughter for a long time,” Weir said. “I’ve heard about it a lot from playing many rounds with Vijay, and it’s just a beautiful place. Vijay’s been a great ambassador for Fiji and a great player worldwide, one of the best players of our generation.

“To come from a country that’s far away from the mainland of golf on the PGA Tour where he makes his home now to be able to come back and give back to his country and the tournament and support it, he talked to me about coming to support. He’s been a friend of mine for a long time so I was glad to come and support him here.”

The trip to Fiji is a family affair for Weir with his daughter delighted to be visiting the island paradise.

“That was one of the main motivators, yeah. She has a bucket list of places she wants to visit, she loves to travel and this is one of them so we definitely wanted to make the trip.”

While the family might be relaxing, Weir has been busy preparing for the European Tour, Asian Tour and ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia tri-sanctioned event.

Playing nine holes on Monday, Weir played a further nine yesterday and even the rain couldn’t dampen his enthusiasm as he was full of praise for the course recently re-designed by good friend Singh.

“I think it’s just a nice, solid, ocean-side course. It gives you lots of room with the wind because the wind is such a factor and I think they’ve done a nice job planning for strategy around conditions,” Weir said. “That’s what a good designer does and the mark of a good golf course plays to what the conditions lay out there for you, they’ve done a nice job with that.”

And while he was full of praise for Singh’s changes to the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course, Weir still remembers losing to him in his home country at the 2004 Canadian Open, a year when Singh won his third Major and eight other titles on the US PGA Tour.

“He did, in a playoff and now we’re on his course, hopefully I’ll return the favour!” Weir laughed when asked about the tournament all those years ago.

“That was a great memory, not so much in my favour but still a great memory for me. We had a nice battle and that was one of the great years of golf Vijay had in 2004. I was on the losing end of one of his nine victories in one season. As I said, it was one of the great seasons in the history of the game and we had a nice tussle there.”

Joining Major champions Weir, Singh and Argentina’s Angel Cabrera at this year’s Fiji International is a host of young up and coming talent from all corners of the globe.

Weir shared a round with rising Thai star Jazz Janewattananond and could see similiarities between the young players in the field and himself when he was just starting out as some other Australian stars were hitting their straps as professionals.

“Yeah it’s nice when I was in their shoes as a young player I’d look to guys like Greg Norman and Mark O’Meara, Nick Price. When I saw them at events I’d try to talk to them and see if I could pick up a few tips here and there.

“I played with the young Thai player today Jazz (Janewattananond) and he asked lots of questions, he’s a big talent. You can see it on the range the talent from the young players these days, it’s neat to look and see where the game is now, it’s fun to watch.”

The Fiji International begins tomorrow.