Life is good again for Weir ... is golf next?
February 10, 2016
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
- The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am will be Mike Weir's first TOUR start since July. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Mike Weir is enthusiastic about golf again, even if he doesn’t know what to expect when he tees it up at Pebble Beach this week.
“It feels good to be back,” he said. “My game is still rusty but life is better.”
The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am will mark the first time the 45-year-old Canadian has played on the PGA TOUR since July, when he announced he was taking a leave of absence for personal reasons.
The last few years have been rough for Weir -- on and off the course.
In 2011, he had surgery to repair a torn tendon in his elbow. His game never recovered. Over the next four years he missed the cut in 56 of 79 starts, including all 14 in 2012 and 14 of 18 in 2015.
Weir was also dealing with the fallout of his split from his wife, Bricia, after the two divorced in 2014. They have two teenage daughters, Elle and Lilli, of which Weir has custody.
“You’ve got to have a clear path in your mind,” Weir said. “If you have a lot of distractions going on in your life it’s hard to play the game. I needed to step away a little bit.”
Mike Weir's awkward sand shot results in birdie at Franklin Templeton
That’s what he did, not touching a club for nearly two months. Instead, he spent two weeks touring France with his daughters and when they returned he went to their soccer practices.
Weir barely paid attention to golf, either, save for watching bits and pieces of The Open Championship and PGA Championship, and friend and fellow Utah resident Craig Barlow play on the Web.com Tour. Outside of that, Weir says, he was offline when it came to the sport.
“(Taking a break) had been in the back of my mind for quite a while,” he said. “With a lot of things going on I needed to do that. I probably should’ve done it a little earlier. It’s not fun (going through all that).”
When he did pick the clubs up again, he began working with David Leadbetter. The road back, though, hasn’t been easy.
Weir has struggled through a left wrist injury the last two years and says he doesn’t have the flexibility that he once did and that it has forced him to make changes to his swing.
“It derailed my career, really,” Weir said of the injuries to his elbow and wrist. “It’s totally changed my game and I’m trying to find adjustments around it.”
He also faces something of a ticking clock.
An eight-time winner on TOUR, including at the 2003 Masters, Weir has already exhausted his two career money list exemptions. He has four starts on a major medical exemption to earn $669,670 -- though he also has a minor medical exemption that he could use to gain additional starts to try to regain full status.
After this week, he plans to play the Northern Trust Open, where he has won twice, The Honda Classic, Valspar Championship and Shell Houston Open before returning to Augusta National.
He at least enters this week not completely cold, having played last month in Abu Dhabi (where he missed the cut) and at the Franklin Templeton Shootout last December. He also teed it up in a TaylorMade event at Pebble Beach late last year.
“It felt a little funny, a little foreign,” says Weir of being back in competition. “But it feels good.
“Golf-wise, it’s a little better. Life-wise, it’s a lot better.”