For the first time in quite a while, Mike Weir will have some momentum going into the Masters – and not just hope that he will play well.
Weir finished runner-up at the Dominion Energy Charity Classic on PGA Tour Champions, his third top-10 of his PGA Tour Champions career. It was his best result at a PGA Tour-sanctioned event since 2014.
Weir was locked in a battle with Phil Mickelson in the final round – after Weir shot a 9-under 63 in the third round to hold the 36-hole lead in the 54-hole event – but Mickelson was just too much for Weir on that day. He shot a 7-under 65 to Weir’s 1-under 71 and eventually won by three.
Mickelson put a bow on his victory – his second in as many starts on PGA Tour Champions – making four birdies in his final six holes.
Mike Weir, Canadian PGA Tour Player
Weir struggled with his putter in the final round and that was the difference, he said.
“I played well enough to win, I just didn’t putt good enough. I putted terrible today,” Weir admitted after the final round. “But Phil played great, and I knew I was going to have to shoot a good score to win and my putter was just poor.”
Still, Weir has much to be confident in as he heads to the Masters in November. And that’s saying something for the 8-time PGA Tour winner.
Through the early 2000’s Weir wasn’t just Canada’s best golfer, he was one of the world’s best. He reached No. 3 in the Official World Golf Ranking in 2003 – a three-win season for Weir, including his Masters victory. He would also be named the Lou Marsh Trophy winner at the end of the year, bestowed on Canada’s Athlete of the Year.
With eight wins he is tied for the second most all time by a Canadian (after Brooke Henderson, who won for the ninth time on the LPGA Tour last season) and was at least partially responsible for the generation of Canadians on the PGA Tour who are contending, and winning, yearly. Nick Taylor, Mackenzie Hughes, Corey Conners, Graham DeLaet, Adam Hadwin, and David Hearn have all said how important “Weirsy” was to their own professional development – Tiger Woods being the other key piece to their development.
Indeed, Weir, of Bright’s Grove, Ont., was never the most intimidating golfer out there. He stands 5-foot-9 and weighs less than 160 pounds. But he has a dogged determination that pushed him through the PGA Tour’s Q-School multiple times before finally earning medalist honours in 1998. The following year he won his first PGA Tour event, on Canadian soil, to boot.
Fast forward to 2003 and he became the first Canadian male, and to date only, to win a major championship.
His Masters victory will go down in the annals of Canadian sport as a huge moment.
Weir suffered through some personal problems as well as a myriad of injuries for a good decade before he’s got back into a groove. Turning 50 has been an inspiring time for Weir, as he’s now fully healthy again, swinging it great, and has a wonderful support system at home.
In just eight events on PGA Tour Champions Weir has three top-10 finishes. In the past 10 years or so, he would head into Augusta National in April with hope that he’d “find something” for the rest of his season. Now, with the Masters taking place in November, he’s looking forward to putting a bow on his most successful year on the course in quite some time.
Weir has only made one cut at the Masters in the last nine editions, but this year will be special – there will be three other Canadians in the field. For the first time in history there will be a foursome of Canadians playing the Masters (Corey Conners, Nick Taylor, and Adam Hadwin are the others) and Weir is leading the way.
He’s also, given his play on PGA Tour Champions this season, going to be not just a honourary figurehead for his countrymen, but a solid competitor as well.
Written and intended to the GlobalGolf.ca audience by Adam Stanley