After Masters, Mike Weir gets back to work at Web.com event in Alabama

Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

After Masters, Mike Weir gets back to work at Web.com event in Alabama

Professional

After Masters, Mike Weir gets back to work at Web.com event in Alabama

By

PRATTVILLE, Ala. — Who is the first left-hander to win the Masters? Many people might guess Phil Mickelson, but they would be wrong. That honor goes to Canadian Mike Weir, who earned the green jacket in a playoff over Len Mattiace in 2003.

In fact, the year Weir won, Mickelson finished third (his third straight third-place finish at Augusta) before he broke through with the first of his three green jackets in 2004.

But while Mickelson continues padding his Hall of Fame resume, searching for the elusive career grand slam with a U.S. Open win, Weir is playing on the Web.com Tour prepping for his 50th birthday and eventual Champions Tour membership.

So last week, Weir was enjoying the Champions Dinner at Augusta National, hosted by 2018 winner Patrick Reed, while missing the cut by one stroke after rounds of 72 and 76. This week, Weir is in central Alabama for only the second time in his life — other than elbow surgery rehabilitation in Birmingham years ago — preparing to tee off in the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Championship Web.com event at Capitol Hill.

But his career-defining moment still came 16 years ago when a bogey on the 10th hole, the first playoff hole, changed his life.

“Everybody associates me with the Masters, but I’ve won some other pretty big tournaments,” Weir said. “So, I know personally it was a great moment, but more casual fans don’t realize the other things I’ve done. That’s more identifiable than the other events.

“But it’s a lifelong dream. The first goal of mine was to get on the PGA Tour. Once you get out there and establish yourself and win a tournament, then your confidence rises and then you think maybe I can contend in one of these and to actually pull it off is really special.”

While there are multiple PGA winners playing this weekend on the Senator Course, 10 players with 25 PGA Tour wins, there’s only one with a major title and a green jacket.

“Guys I play with ask me about it all the time,” Weir said. “I was in their shoes 25 years ago trying to make my way, trying to live out the dream. That’s what is fun for me too, being out watching all these guys on the range trying to get out there on the PGA Tour. It’s fun to be a part of it, watch it and encourage them along.”

Though Weir did not want to take credit for any surge in Canadian golfers on the PGA Tour since his Masters’ win, it’s hard to deny the recent influx of talent from up north.

The list of Canadian PGA Tour players includes Adam Hadwin (who won the Valspar Championship in 2017), Graham DeLaet, Mackenzie Hughes (who won the RSM Classic in 2016), Nick Taylor (who won the Sanderson Farms Championship in 2014), Ben Silverman, Corey Conners (who recorded his first victory two weeks ago Valero Texas Open), David Hearn, Adam Svensson and Roger Sloan.

In a Canadian Broadcasting Company interview, Sloan said he remembers exactly where he was when Weir won the Masters on April 13, 2003, playing in a junior tournament at Pentiction Golf Club in British Columbia. DeLaet said he witnessed Tiger Woods slipping the green jacket on Weir’s shoulders while finishing a college tournament in in Pocatello, Idaho, while calling it a special moment.

“What Mike Weir’s been able to do just proves that a Canadian can play golf professionally,” Sloan said in a CBC interview in 2015. “The career that he’s had — it just definitely inspires a lot of confidence in the rest of us Canadian guys.”

While becoming the first Canadian to win a major, Weir also became the second left-hander to win a major after Bob Charles’ 1963 British Open victory.

“I will leave that up to other people to debate whether I had a part in that or not,” said Weir, who was ranked in the top 10 in the world from 2001-2005. “But it’s great to see more guys.

“There were a few of us when I was playing when I was early in my career on the PGA Tour, but we have a lot of talent in the country and now. With Corey Conners winning … Adam Hadwin has won out there … Mackenzie Hughes won a couple of years ago. There are guys really playing some good golf. It’s great to see them pushing through. I think there are going to be a lot more from Canada here soon.”

Weir is playing the entire season on the Web.com Tour, taking advantage of an exemption for former PGA Tour members aged 48 and 49 either as one final attempt to regain a PGA Tour card or in preparation for the Champions Tour.

He’s played in five tournaments this with his best performance being a tie for 35th place in February at the LECOM Suncoast Classic in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.

“I have not played much in the last few years and, when I have, it has been one week on and three weeks off,” Weir said. “There’s a rhythm to tournament golf. I’ve always believed after Week 2 or 3 you identify what you need to work on, and then work on it, and build to the next week so that has been great for me to do that.”

Weir turns 49 on May 12 with No. 50 not far behind.

“That’s a unique thing about the Champions Tour as you get closer to that number you actually look forward to it,” Weir said. “Most guys turn 50 and it’s a tough number. I’m looking forward to it.”

Latest

More Golfweek
Home