Mike Weir isn’t a reflective guy. He’s not the type of golfer who thinks about when he was the No. 3-ranked player in the world and on the top of seemingly every leaderboard, winning at fabled courses like Riviera and Valderama. That’s when his all-world short game compensated for anything he lacked off the tee, and he made up the rest with hard work and digging it out of the dirt. It all culminated in his win at Augusta, an event that as of this week is now a decade in the rear view.
Weir says he didn’t think much of the Masters anniversary until recently when a documentary film crew started following him.
“My agent brought it up and I thought, ‘Wow it has been 10 years,’” Weir said while walking during a practice round at the Northern Trust earlier this year. “In some ways it feels like it has been 10 years, but in other ways it doesn’t. Some days it feels like a distant memory because I don’t dwell on it. I don’t sit and think about it. But other times I can remember shots and the feeling.”
Weir came into the tournament full of confidence, having won twice already in 2003. Everyone picked Tiger Woods as the favorite – he’d bettered Weir’s victories by one – but he had a rare Sunday slump and dropped down the leaderboard. Weir came into the tournament and the final hole full of confidence, despite needing to make a relatively long putt for par. He says it was never in doubt.
“I remember the feeling on the 18th green, the satisfaction of doing it for four straight days, of keeping my mind where it needed to be,” he explains. “I was pretty calm. I was rolling them in all day and talked to myself that no matter what, if I did the same thing I’d be happy with the outcome. That helped keep me calm.”
After Mattiace made a mess of the first playoff hole, Weir had his major. The win made Weir a superstar in hockey-mad Canada. He flew to Toronto the next day to launch a clothing line, an event that was scheduled well before his Masters win. Thousands of people showed up to see him – attention that Weir, shy and restrained by nature, hasn’t always been comfortable with.
“When I came around the corner I couldn’t figure out why all these people were there,” he says. “I thought the Sears must have been closed down. Then someone said they were all there for me. It kind of hit me at once.”
Weir is back at Augusta this week, though there’s some question about whether he can play. He pulled a rib muscle at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and had to withdraw from that event, raising questions about whether he could play the Masters. But he is in Georgia this week, practicing like he intends to play.
“I’m going to be going no matter what,” Weir said on a conference call this week to talk about the Masters. “I’m going to be there.”
For those that want to relive Weir’s historic win, TSN will air a documentary on the victory Wednesday night at 9:30 pm and again on Saturday afternoon. Created by Kevin Foley, brother of Sean Foley, Tiger Woods’ swing coach, the documentary is artfully shot and provides some interesting anecdotes on Weir’s win. It is not to be missed.