2003 Masters winner Mike Weir held a conference call yesterday to discuss his win at the tournament a decade ago. Needless to say it received a fair amount of coverage. Weir is never a big talker at the best of times, and never seems too keen on discussing the past at the best of times. On a conference call with enough static to make an AM radio station envious, Weir talked about his memories of that time. It was an international call and it was interesting to see the amount of interest from press outside of Canada:
First of all, will he even be at the Masters? That’s the question after Weir withdrew from Bay Hill last week with a rib injury.
Tim McKay of the Sun notes he will — though it is unclear whether he’ll play:
Weir was forced to pull out of the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week with what he described Wednesday as cartilage between the ribs that is either torn or inflamed and is “very re-injurable.” Right now, he’s resting with the Masters in mind, but the 42-year-old is determined to play.
“I’m going to be going,” Weir said. “No matter what, I’m going to be there.
“I’ve got to be really smart here the next week and a half here about when I decide to try hitting a few balls and see how it is. And then, if I feel anything, to back off. (When I) go there to Augusta, if I have to not hit any balls until Thursday, I won’t. Just maybe putt a little bit, because I really want to play.
“I don’t know if I could put a percentage (on his health) at all, I just know I’m going to be there.”
Truthfully I didn’t find the call very revealing — though that wasn’t a surprise. There was the requisite call about support from his hometown of Sarnia, questions that seemed to suggest he hadn’t played Augusta in a decade (“I wonder if you’ve had a chance to go up and walk the course and see how much it’s changed and kind of notice the changes in the 10 years since you played it.”) and discussions about whether it is easier for a left-hander to hit a hook than a right hander (re: Bubba Watson).
The one question I thought was interesting was about Weir’s propensity to change his swing. He won using a swing developed under former coach Mike Wilson, moved to the stack and tilt team of Plummer and Bennett, and then worked with everyone with a swing theory and a Trackman. He now works with Grant Waite and is having some success after basically writing off the last two years. Does he regret making the changes? Weir says no:
No, not one bit. I mean, they’re necessary, and I think when you get stale with something and if things aren’t working again, you look to improve on them. All the great players in the history of the game are always tinkering. You can look at Ben Hogan and his swing, he was always still working on things to improve it, to refine it, to make it better, and that’s what we do as golfers. We’re always in the laboratory a little bit trying to figure things out and make it better.
No, I mean, what Tiger has done with his game and the few changes over the years just shows the testament to his mental fortitude and his athletic ability to be able to implement those changes and make them work and own them under competition, because a lot of things work on the range, but they don’t work on the golf course.
That’s the thing, you’ve got to find what works on the golf course, and it seems like he’s finding that now.
Can you just talk about your injuries the last couple years? Have you gone into the Masters healthy in either 2011 or 2012?
MIKE WEIR: (Laughing) No. It’s been a few years. This last weekend was very frustrating. I was pretty upset about that, because it happened Thursday night actually after my round, and I was able to play through it Friday, even though it was quite uncomfortable Friday, but Saturday it became unplayable and restrictive where I couldn’t even turn.
So it was frustrating. I wanted to play obviously Arnold’s tournament. I have such respect for Mr.Palmer and hated to pull out of there, and then having to pull out of Houston this week, I wanted that prep time and rounds under my belt leading into Augusta.
Yeah, it’s been a few years since I’ve gone in healthy. Hopefully by the Masters I’ll be all right.
We’ll see — regardless, it’ll likely be worth tuning into the TSN documentary on Weir’s win that airs ahead of the tournament.