As first suggested on Dec. 1 in Canadiangolfer.com, Mike Weir and longtime caddie Brennan Little have parted ways. This comes as no surprise; Weir has been looking at all of the elements of his career and businesses since shutting it down at the end of August and Little had the opportunity to work for a player with tons of upside.
There is, however, one bit of sad news. After a long time together, Brennan and I are going to part ways. He told me that he’s going work for Sean O’Hair next year and I couldn’t be happier for him. Brennan and I have had a great run together. He’s been an amazing caddie and a tireless worker. I know I wouldn’t have gone as far in my career without his support. We’ve known each other since junior golf and our friendship will always remain. I know that he has to look after his family and my situation, while I remain confident, is certainly not all that stable at the moment. He’ll be great with Sean and I predict big things for them next year.
Truthfully Weir’s year should be more stable than he’s letting on. He has five tournaments to earn $227,000, which is roughly a Top 5 finish. If he’s healthy — and his blog post indicates he is — that shouldn’t be a huge hurdle. Beyond that he could ask for sponsor’s exemptions for the year or use one of two money list exemptions he has for the year. Weir is well liked and a major champion, so getting into events through exemptions is doable. However, he wouldn’t be able to set his schedule and as a creature of habit, that would likely be a difficult change for Weir. Additionally, he won’t get into any majors with the exception of the Masters unless his play quickly turns around. Of course he can try to qualify for the U.S. and British Opens, but the lucrative World Golf events will be out of reach.
In that regard, Little’s chances with O’Hair are pretty good. One has to wonder what Weir expects of himself this year. There’s no other way of looking at it — this is a comeback with an uncertain conclusion. Weir has won once in seven years, while O’Hair is regarded as one of the bright young stars in the game. O’Hair isn’t 30 yet, while Weir is now past 40 and a long time past his best seasons. That doesn’t mean he can’t return to the levels he demonstrated in 2009, but that becomes harder as time goes on. And if he can’t fix his driver, he won’t get back to that level.
Which makes this interesting:
Between now and then, I’ll be working on my swing. I plan on going out to California a few times to practice and work a little with Mike Wilson. I would also like to go back to the Taylor Made headquarters in Carlsbad and chat with Jim Flick. He and I have talked about swing theory over the last while. From his experience with Nicklaus and Snead, he has so much knowledge and information to share and really is just a pleasure to talk to.
Weir had spoken of not having a swing coach. So is Wilson in or out? And now talk of Jim Flick? Maybe ownership of one’s swing comes with someone to read the instruction manual?
As for his return, Weir told me last month he expects to be back for the Hope. Beyond that it isn’t clear:
As for my 2011 season, I have five tournaments to play on my medical exemption. As of right now, I haven’t decided on which ones I will play in because I’m trying to determine how my arm will react. Can I play a couple of weeks in a row? How much time will I need to take off between events? These are just a few questions I have and only time will tell. What I know right now is that I’ll be at the Bob Hope Tournament, where I’ve done well in the past.