Mike Weir still focused on PGA Tour

By Robert Thompson–

Mike Weir is heavily invested in the playoffs. No, not baseball’s run to the World Series. Instead, Weir, the winner of the 2003 Masters and a regular on the PGA Tour since 1998, is paying particular attention to the high school soccer team his daughter Elle plays on. The team is making a run at the state championships in Utah, and Weir has adjusted his playing schedule to be sure he can make the final. That means he might leave for his next tournament, the CIMB Classic in Malaysia a day later than normal.

“I want to be around for the game,” he says. “They are the No. 1-ranked team in the state. They are pretty strong so hopefully they make the finals. I want to be there to support her.”

It is part of a balancing act for Weir, now 44. He wants to be there for his two teenage daughters, but also has the desire to remain competitive on the PGA Tour.

It would be hard to call Weir’s 2014 year either a hit or a miss. On one hand he remained inconsistent, something that’s plagued him since injuries derailed his career in 2010. He only made cut in nine of 25 tournaments, and his driving and iron play wasn’t anywhere near what it was at his peak a decade ago.

On the other hand, he nearly won the HP Byron Nelson Classic, finishing second and securing his playing privileges for this season. That was key for Weir—he’d used both of his all-time money exemptions and without some success last year might have been forced to ask for exemptions into tournaments or play on the Web.com Tour.

That means Weir can basically pick his schedule this year, playing events like the Players Championship alongside his appearance at the Masters. But the truth is that Weir is no longer the solitary focus of Canadians when it comes to the PGA Tour. He was supplanted as Canada’s golfing star with the emergence of Weyburn, Sask.’s Graham DeLaet, and now is one of six Canadians on tour, alongside Brantford, Ont.’s David Hearn, Adam Hadwin and Nick Taylor from Abbotsford, BC, and Roger Sloan from Merritt, BC.

Weir says his peers have already noticed. “I was sitting having lunch and someone shouted, ‘Hey Weirsy, you’ve got some new blood out here,’” Weir explains.

For years all eyes were on Weir. Now there are several Canadians capable of winning and Weir is more than happy to not have the spotlight shining entirely on him.

“With Graham playing well, and David playing well, it has changed,” he says. “The attention isn’t all on me and that’s a good thing. I’m fans of theirs and I like that there are other guys out there doing well. It is a great thing for me and for Canadian golf.”

That doesn’t mean he’s winding down. Weir spent the last couple of months working with Australian swing coach Martin Ayers after not having an instructor for much of the previous year. He says Ayers brings a second opinion to the relationship, offering a perspective on things Weir can’t see in his swing.

“After last year I knew I was on the right track with a lot of things and he’s helped me focus,” he says. “But I still own it.”

And as he nears 45, Weir still has goals for his 16th season on the PGA Tour. Mainly he wants to put himself in contention more often, believing once there his experience with eight wins will help him get the job done. But that isn’t his goal for the year—they are more nuanced, more like building blocks.

“I’ve written goals down, but they aren’t performance goals to win majors or such,” he explains. “They are more goals to spend more time on my wedges, something that will shave four or five shots off a tournament. Things like that are on my mind more than saying I’m going to win.”

Weir still believes he can win, and has his sights set on representing Canada at the 2016 Olympics. His statistics suggest he won’t get there, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned about Mike Weir over his career is that he’s regularly been the underdog and has almost always exceeded what was expected of him.