Mike Weir unraveled at AT&T Pebble Beach but he's too tough to stay down
I was disappointed when Mike Weir came apart in the final round of the 2006 AT&T Pebble Beach, carding six bogeys and a double-bogey to finish with a 78. After his brilliant opening-round 63 – and having finished fourth, third and second in the AT&T the previous three years – I thought he might win, but Sunday wasn’t his day.
I have always liked Weir’s game, his character and style. He is by most accounts a genuine and caring guy, and I can’t resist pulling for a golfer who, in this era of the big boppers, stands 5 feet 9 and weighs 160 pounds. You can almost predict that when Weir is knocking a four-iron to the green, Tiger is hitting a seven-iron and this new kid J.B. Holmes is lobbing a wedge shot. Just think what a huge disadvantage little guys are facing today. What gives Weir a fighting chance is his ability to control his irons. That control abandoned him yesterday on the second hole, and then his short game disintegrated. Golf is such a bastard! Don’t you hate it sometimes?
When Weir won the Masters in 2003, the course was wet and slow, and everyone predicted that only a big hitter could win. He was the first victorious left-hander in a major in forty years. He’s now won seven PGA Tour events, more than any lefty in history except for Phil Mickelson, who has 22 wins. Bob Charles is third with six.
What I like most about Weir is his catlike grace. He’s always in perfect balance, and I’ve never seen him take an awkward swing. As a kid in Canada, Weir played soccer, basketball, volleyball, hockey and baseball as well as golf. He reminds me of Whitey Ford, Harvey Haddix and Bobby Schantz – crafty little southpaw pitchers who, like Weir, were able to defeat power with finesse. I’ll bet Weir could have been a professional baseball player if he hadn’t picked golf.
He posted a poor year in 2005 and early this year he’s been inconsistent, missing the cut twice in four outings, but finishing fifth in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and tied for third at the AT&T. Some observers think Mike Weir’s best days are behind him at age 35. Less than three years ago, he was ranked third in the world; now he has plunged to No. 42. But Weir has always confounded the experts and because he’s so tough and determined and always in superb shape, I think he could surprise everyone with wins in a couple more majors before he’s done.
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