July 17, 2015 / 11:51 PM / 4 years ago

Canadian Weir takes indefinite break from competition

Mike Weir of Canada hits a driver off the second tee during first round play of the Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Course in Augusta, Georgia April 9, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

(Reuters) - Former Masters champion Mike Weir says has taken “an indefinite leave of absence” from competitive golf to focus on his personal life and his two children.

The Canadian left-hander, who won his only major title at the 2003 Masters, divorced from his wife Bricia earlier this year and has decided to miss one of his most beloved tournaments, the Canadian Open next week in Oakville, Ontario.

“I will be taking an indefinite leave of absence from golf competition effective today,” Weir, 45, said in a statement on Friday.

“Family is incredibly important to me and I have decided to take some time to focus on my personal life and children.

“Although there is no set timeline for my return, I love the game and will return when the time is right.”

Weir is an eight-time champion on the PGA Tour but has not triumphed in eight years while his world ranking has plummeted to 488th.

“It was extremely difficult to make the decision to forego this year’s RBC Canadian Open, as I love playing in front of the Canadian fans,” said Weir.

“At this time though the focus needs to be on my family. I look forward to teeing it up in front of Canada at our National Open very soon.”

Weir has never won the Canadian Open, coming closest in 2004 when he was beaten by Vijay Singh in a playoff for the title at Glen Abbey.

Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Larry Fine

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