Let me start by welcoming you back to CanadianGolfer.com. We have been experiencing some issues with spam bots in recent weeks, and just as we were finalizing a move to a new server, our existing one decided to give up the ghost. That left our system admin team struggling to make the move over to the new gear sooner than expected while trying to recover everything we lost.
The good news is that our techies have managed to get the site back up. The bad news is repopulating the content will take a day or two more — but by Monday we will be back in working order.
But it turns out we’re not the only ones having problems.
Yesterday Mike Weir withdrew from the golf tournament in Puerto Rico after nine holes citing a cyst on his wrist. He was also 5-over par, and as one person tweeted, he’s 37-over par in his last 81 holes.
All of this has yielded one of those most dislikable of species — the self-congratulating reporter. Toronto Sun columnist Steve Buffery wrote that Weir was washed up in a preview to the Canadian Open last year. Now he’s proclaiming that yep, he was right all along, and putting it to Sun golf columnist Ian Hutchinson as well.Nothing worse than a columnist patting himself on the back and going back and forth with another writer in the same paper. Buffery writes:
Well, sorry Hutch. Sorry crazed golf nuts. It doesn’t appear as though Weir is going to “rebound in spectacular fashion” anytime soon.
Clearly it’s all over.
And that’s not a personal shot at Weir, who is nothing but a consummate gentleman and wonderful ambassador for Canadian golf. And that’s not to say the Brights Grove native, who turns 41 in May, won’t manage a fluke top-five finish here and there as his career fades into the twilight. Yes, he’s experienced injuries and other setbacks in recent seasons, but the fact is, his game has been deteriorating for some time and he’s simply not going to rebound into an elite player on the PGA Tour like he once was.
Poor Weirsy hasn’t won a PGA tour event since 2007. Last season, bad elbow and all, he managed one top 10 finish. This year has been an unmitigated disaster, despite the fact he’s healthy. Playing on a five-tournament medical exemption, Weir missed the cut in four (walking off the course at the Honda Classic last week after shooting a miserable 85 in the second round). And the cruellest cut of all, he lost his status as a fully-exempt member of the PGA Tour.
Saying it is all over is a tough call in golf. Hell, David Duval disappeared, but almost won the U.S. Open after everyone said he was through. Oh, and then there’s Steve Stricker, who couldn’t find a fairway for three years, but has won six times since. The list goes on and on. Only those who lack an understanding of the game would suggest Weir’s career is over. But if simplicity is what you want in your sports writing so be it.
Now I’m not an apologist for Weir, as Bob Weeks has been accused of over at ScoreGolf. Now Bob ghost writes Weir’s blogs, so he has some insight into what’s going on, just as Mike Grange did at the Globe when Weir “wrote” a column for that paper a few years back. That said, I doubt Weeks had much writing to do with the latest missive from Weir, which was posted on his site earlier this week:
I just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you to all the people who have continued to show their support of me over the last few weeks, especially the volunteers and fans at the Honda Classic last week. They were incredibly supportive and encouraging, and I want everyone to know how much I appreciate it. It means a lot to me to know that there are so many people who believe in me, even when times are tough.
Tough times indeed. I wrote about my perspective on Weir here:
Weir started the season talking about “owning his swing.” Now it looks like his swing has owned him.
How far has the former Masters champ fallen? After returning this year following a lengthy layoff due to an elbow injury, Weir made one cut in five starts. He posted a single round in the 60s this year – a 68 at Spyglass Hill during the AT&T Pebble Beach National — though more typically he was slamming the trunk of his courtesy car by the end of Friday afternoon after shooting 74. His driving – which has been erratic in recent years – is a disaster, with Weir missing the fairway equally right and left. His stats show him to be basically last among tour players in driving accuracy and distance – a combination that guarantees inflated scores.
Weir’s ball striking problems are both humbling and troubling, but his short game, always the envy of his peers, has also suffered as his confidence wanes. Think of it like a Gold Glove infielder who suddenly can’t hit the curve ball. As the ball player struggles at the plate, eventually his plight works its way into his fielding and he makes some errors on easy plays. Weir, typically a terrific putter, has found his spotty play affecting his short game and he currently sitting at 152 with the flat stick.
Despite not regaining his playing privileges – Weir had five starts as part of an injury exemption to make enough money to match the 125th golfer from last season – he’ll still get plenty of starts throughout the year. And he has two year’s worth of exemptions based on his place on the all-time PGA Tour money list. So he’s not going anywhere – at least not for a couple of years.
What I fail to understand is the venomous attacks on the golfer. Is he playing badly? Yep. Does that make him some sort of national disappointment? Hardly. I was sitting in the golf shop at Eagles Nest earlier this week talking with head pro Jamie Trenholme and he brought this point up, saying the Globe and Mail’s Jeff Blair was ranting on the Fan 590 about Weir. Trenholme couldn’t understand why people seemed to be focusing anger at Weir, as if he’d done something warranting it.
I understand the feeling Weir might not come back, but why the nasty anger that seems to be associated with it? Weir is the best professional golfer in Canadian history. He’s the only one we’ve had who won a major (and I believe he won The Masters, unlike others who think Len Mattiace choked and handed Weir the win). He’s represented Canada in the Presidents Cup numerous times — the only one of our countrymen to do so and broke the hearts of Canadian golf fans by narrowly losing the 2004 Canadian Open to Vijay Singh.
He’s got enough money that he could walk away from the game — but that’s not his style. People forget Weir is the same man who went to Q-School seven times before getting his card, who rebounded after losing his card to win in his second year on tour.
Weir is surely down — certainly lower than he’s been in more than a decade — but I think it is too easy to count him out.
And if he is finished, let’s celebrate a great career instead of taking the typically Canadian approach and dumping on him for not living up to our ridiculous expectations.