Let’s take a trip back to 2003 for just a moment. Yes, much like 2013, Tiger Woods was winning tournaments in bunches. It was also the year that Mike Weir exploded onto the scene, and brought with him the hopes of a nation.
With his Masters championship that season, Weir became the first Canadian to win a professional major. It was his most successful year on the PGA Tour, as he won three times overall that year. Weir remained mostly relevant for several years after the win, but in the Tiger and Phil era, he was never truly able to stay at the top of the game the way many expected.
Over the last year, Canada’s hopes have transitioned from Weir to newcomer Graham DeLaet, and now both are in contention at the Byron Nelson Championship heading into the final round. Still, with Weir just one shot back of co-leaders Brendon Todd and Louis Oosthuizen, there’s no doubt that a win would be much bigger for the veteran.
Weir has actually made some incredible changes in the way he approaches the game, even if they haven’t translated into success at the highest level yet. From a 2012 season in which Weir missed the cut in all 12 of the events he entered, to falling to 609th in the world, it would be easy for Weir to have left golf and focus on family. But he’s not ready to walk away just yet.
“[I]t comes down to me accepting that I still love this game,” Weir said. “I still want to compete, still want to see if I can get back to the level I once was, or even exceed that. Bottom line is, I love being out there. That’s enough to keep me positive, keep me working hard.”
That renewed mental focus is showing where it counts – on the greens. While Weir is never going to be the longest hitter, and has hit just over half his greens in regulation, his putting has been lights out, as he ranks second in strokes gained this week, and leads the field in putts per green in regulation.
If Weir can get the job done on Sunday, it would be one of the great comeback stories in recent memory. Here’s hoping that this is more than just a one-week thing.