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Mike Weir: What’s next?

Tiger presented Weir with his only green jacket in 2003

Tiger presented Weir with his green jacket in 2003

I found it fascinating that Mike Weir announced he was working for TSN, commentating on the Masters after his rounds. When a player starts working as a commentator at tournaments where they are playing, they are practically admitting they are nearing the end. Think David Duval and the British Open, or Ian Baker-Finch when he couldn’t make a cut. Even TSN host James Duthie joked that Weir would have time to do more TSN work after he missed the cut—a remark that seemed to make both Bob Weeks and Mark Zucchino cringe (the clip is here — and the attempt at a  joke is at the end).

What’s the situation for Weir? The last cut he made was in 2014. That’s likely three golf instructors ago as well. He missed last year’s Canadian Open due to the fallout from a messy divorce. His golf game is in complete disarray if you look at the stats.

Adam Stanley, who is in Augusta, puts some perspective on the situation: 

In 2003, when Mike Weir won the Masters—cementing his status as Canada’s greatest in the sport—it was his third win of the PGA Tour season. Later that year, he rocketed up to third in the Official World Golf Ranking and went on to win the Lou Marsh Award, the annual prize awarded to this country’s top athlete.

Today, Weir ranks 1,040th in the world, and the 45-year-old has only made one cut in the last season-and-a-half. He also recently went through a divorce.

Weir actually sounds kind of optimistic:

“My path is cleared a little bit more of the things I’ve had to deal with the past couple years,” says Weir. “I feel better and more focused. There’s a little more excited anticipation for the tournament than there has been in the past years for me.”

Truthfully, the stats don’t support any level of optimism. Here are his numbers from last week:

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 9.44.22 AM

Weir has typically had a great short game, but even that has disappeared. Maybe that’s why Stanley’s piece spends more time talking about the guy who cooked dinner the year after Weir won than the state of the golfer’s game.

What happens next?

Weir has never been overly comfortable with the media, and has pulled back significantly in recent years since departing from IMG, his former agency. It is hard to see him in a role where he works as a commentator—though perhaps he’d grow into the role over time. His golf design business (with Ian Andrew), which I helped set up almost a decade ago, resulted in one course—Laval—though it is a very good first effort. It is surprising no one has hired the pair to rework something else—maybe Hidden Lakes for the Canadian Open? Anyone?

In the meantime, a source recently told me that Weir is being promoted by his agency as more of a “Canadian sports legend” than an active athlete. It is his legacy that matters, more than his recent struggles. He’s a Canadian golfing great—there’s no doubt about it. People don’t talk about George Knudson’s putting struggles—they just talk about his wins. And there’s really no need to focus on Weir’s past five years, and instead perhaps we should look at the years from 2000 to 2005 when he was one of the best in the game.

For what it is worth, I’ve always enjoyed speaking with Weir, though I haven’t interviewed him in nearly two years. If you can get through the reluctant exterior, he can be insightful and funny. He’s played everywhere and knows his golf courses—and perhaps because he couldn’t overwhelm them, he has a lot of expertise in the strategy involved in setting up a course for a PGA Tour event.

Nearly 46, would Weir go back and play Web.com Tour next year? Does he want to play the Champions Tour?

Questions I don’t have answers for. But then again, maybe Weir doesn’t either.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

1 CommentLeave a comment

  • Robert,
    I wish Mike all the best but it seems apparent that his game is no longer good enough to compete on the tour. He would not be the first player in their 40’s who has had to deal with the fact that time takes a toll on a golfers ability, particularly off the tee where Mike’s numbers are just not good enough to keep up with today’s power game at the pro level.
    What Mike has accomplished in professional golf has been an inspiration for many young players and hopefully he can stay in the public eye. Maybe with some experience in front of a camera as a commentator will be something he can embrace and become good at. TSN could certainly benefit from someone with his knowledge.

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