It has been more than three years since Canadian Mike Weir won the Nissan Open, but he changed that in decisive fashion yesterday, getting up and down from a greenside bunker on the 18th for a one shot win over Mark Hensby at the Fry’s Electronics Open in Arizona.
Unbelievable — I cant put it into words, Weir said after making a six foot putt for the win.”
Weir said his game has been solid in recent weeks.It really came on in the last month or so, he said. It has really been feeling good. This feels great.
Over the course of the tournament, Weir shot rounds of 69, 64,65, and 68 for a 14-under par total.
Calling the wind that gusted to more than 30 miles per hour throughout the final round ridiculous, Weir said his reworked swing worked in tandem with a sharp short game that included a fine recovery shot on the 17th hole to save par.
It was the complete package. Ive stretches where Ive hit the
ball really well, and maybe my short game has let me down and maybe vice versa. But anytime you win on the PGA Tour against these guys you have to have all things firing. I put everything together this week.
While a new swing made Weir more consistent this year, it also failed to bring big results.
With only two Top 10 finishes, including an 8th place at the British Open, Weir rarely contended on the weekend for most of the year.
Given his play, some were surprised when he was picked by Gary Player for the International Team for the Presidents Cup that was held in Montreal at the end of September.
Playing in front of a crowd that showed its vocal support throughout
the tournament, Weir showed signs of a return to form. Weir finished with three wins, one loss and halve over the tournament and though his International team was soundly defeated, his singles match win over Tiger Woods, the worlds best golfer, captured the imagination of Canadians.Weir said earlier this week that the victory over Woods renewed his confidence.
I felt like there was definitely some momentum there, he said earlier this week. I felt good about my game, and I think the whole atmosphere of the event, being there, and maybe my experience playing in three previous cups, really brought it all out. I was just very focused there, and continue to ride it a little bit now.
So the question is “what next?” Weir isn’t playing any further PGA Tour events this year, and instead will play in China and in the World Cup. Is his play a fluke this past month, or a demonstration that he’s returned to form?
Keeping in mind that swing changes don’t happen overnight, I have to think Weir’s alterations have finally taken hold. He says he is no longer thinking about his swing — and even when I last spoke to him in August, he seemed pretty sure that the changes would get him where he wanted. Would I expect him to put up three or four wins a year, like he did in 2003? No. What I expect is that Weir will remain very competitive in tough tournaments — like the Fry’s this weekend — which means more major wins could occur. That wouldn’t surprise me at all.
In an interesting side note, the win ties Weir with George Knudson for the most wins by a Canadian on the PGA Tour. Some might disagree, but I think there’s little doubt that Weir is the greatest professional golfer in Canadian history at this point.