On Tuesday I received a morning call from Mike Weir. The Canadian was in Phoenix preparing for the FBR Open and we had a lengthy chat about a number of things, including the state of his swing changes, the coaching change, the Canadian Open, and his role in the game of golf in Canada.
My column in the National Post on Weir doesn’t appear to be online yet, but once I find it, I’ll post a link.
Among the interesting facets I dug out from my conversation with Weir were:
– He says his poor Sunday play last year was “coincidental.” I didn’t push him on the subject too much as it seems a sore spot. Needless to say he’ll have to improve from 169th in final round scoring average among tour players if he hopes to have a strong 2007.
– He told me that he doesn’t mind being used to help promote the Canadian Open and draw players, especially younger ones who may not be as aware of the tournament and its history.
– He says he doesn’t consider his role as a key influencer of the game in Canada. “I’m too busy trying to be the best player I can be,” he said.
– He admited it will be a slog for him between the British and PGA Championships, especially since he will always play the Canadian Open, which is now the week after the British. “It is a very tough stretch,” he said, saying he’ll likely play 24 times this year and will cut back his schedule around the U.S. Open in the expectation of playing more later in the year.
– His deal with IMG Sports comes up at the end of the year. Currently his brother, Jim, is spending more time working on Weir’s business interests. Don’t expect Weir to leave IMG.
– One of Weir’s two new instructors, Mike Bennett or Andy Plummer, are on tour each week. But that doesn’t mean Weir sees them any more than he did Mike Wilson. That’s because he shares Plummer and Bennett with a handful of other players, including Aaron Baddeley and Dean Wilson. Wilson is Weir’s connection to the coaches.
– His new swing, which is a subtle variation on his old one, was tough for Weir to articulate. Apparently it doesn’t involve as much weight transfer or “coming off the ball.” The changes have helped his back and shoulders, which were problems throughout 2006.