Small victory in defeat: Weir's best finish since '09
May 18, 2014
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
- Mike Weir put the pieces together this week to finish solo second at 12 under. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
IRVING, Texas -- It was a little more than four years ago that Mike Weir hit a tree root at Hilton Head and sent his career into a tailspin. A partial torn ligament in his right elbow threatened to force him from the game he loves. Doubts crept into his head.
Should he just quit?
In the end, he couldn't do it. He couldn't give up the game. His family felt the same way. So he worked hard to get back to the player he once was, the player who won the 2003 Masters.
He's not all the way there yet, at least not all the way to the winner's circle. But on Sunday at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, he came as close as he ever has in those four years since hitting the tree root. His final-round 3-under 67 gave him solo second behind Brendon Todd. It's Weir's first top 10 since 2010.
"I know hard times," the 44-year-old Canadian said. "I've had plenty of hard times in my career. It took me seven years out of college to get on the PGA TOUR, missing cuts on the Asian Tour, Canadian Tour (now called PGA TOUR Canada), all around the world. So I knew I could rely on that and I knew I could dig deep within myself to putt myself out of things.
"This has taken a long time and it's only one week, but this week was great and very satisfying."
Weir acknowledged he was nervous entering the final round, not having been in the heat of competition for such a long time. But he couldn't have started any better.
A perfect 3-wood on his opening drive was followed by a wedge shot inside 7 feet. Birdie
A tee shot at the par-3 second nearly rolled in for an ace. It settled 3 feet away. Birdie
An approach at the par-4 fourth landed inside 3 feet. Birdie.
A tee shot at the par-3 fifth was even better than he was at the second. It settled 1-1/2 feet away. Birdie.
At that point, Weir was 13 under and leading the tournament. But bogeys at the fifth and ninth holes derailed his momentum. Meanwhile, 54-hole co-leader Brendon Todd was playing flawless golf behind him.
Weir started the day two shots off the pace, and still faced the same deficit going to the 17th hole. But his birdie try from 8-1/2 feet slid by, his last realistic hope.
A return to the winner's circle will have to wait. On Sunday, it was simply sweet satisfaction, knowing his game could stand up under final-round pressure.
"I played solid golf probably better today than the other three days," Weir said. "It just shows you that the things you're working on your game, when they show up under the heat of competition and stress, that you're doing the right things."
Asked if he will have time in the next few days to reflect on his journey of the last four years, the 18 missed cuts at one point, the fall to 605th in the world rankings, and all the hard work required to get back to this point, Weir shook his head.
Those were tough times and he doesn't have any more use for them now.
It's time to look forward.
"That's history now," he said. "I'm playing good golf and I want to keep that going now."
Mike Weir’s near ace on No. 2 at HP Byron Nelson