By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA JOLLA, Calif. -- One of his daughters is a teenager now. His other one turns 13 in April.
So Mike Weir would like nothing better than to once again play the kind of golf that enabled him to win the 2003 Masters as well as seven other PGA TOUR titles. Weir's last victory came at the 2007 Fry's Electonics Open.
"They see their dad work hard every day, so they're very encouraging and positive," Weir said. "Even if I have a bad week, they're like, come on, Dad, next week. So that's nice to have that support.
"The last time I played really well, they were pretty young, so I'd like to show them what their dad can do."
Maybe the Farmers Insurance Open will be the week. Weir, who has fought through elbow injuries and swing changes as he missed his last 17 cuts, fired a 66 on the North Course at Torrey Pines on Thursday that left him one shot off the lead.
Weir, who ranked second in putting on Thursday with 24, plays the traditionally more difficult South Course today. The par 4s on the 7,698-yard layout are quite long for a man who ranked 192nd in driving distance last year but the par 5s give him a chance to score.
"If I can take advantage of the par 5s and shoot something under par, I'll be pretty happy," the Canadian said.
Weir says he doesn't quite feel 100 percent just yet, but he's happy with the progress he's making. His love of the game and his competitive nature also keep him motivated, and Weir has no doubt that things will eventually turn around.
"Even as poor as I was playing, I knew it was in there," Weir said. "So if I didn't have the desire to wake up every morning and keep working hard, I wouldn't have done it, because it's very difficult. But I still have the desire to play, and I want to win.
"I'm motivated by all the great players of the past, really to tell you the truth. I've talked to a number of guys and they were very encouraging. I take all of those things together and having a great support system around me has really helped too."
Charles Howell III, who matched Weir's 66 on Thursday, knows how determined his friend is. Howell, who is also trying to end a victory drought that stretches back to 2007, can empathize wih Weir's battle.
"It shows a few things," Howell said. "It shows, No. 1, how difficult golf is. It shows you should never take anything for granted and it also shows his perseverence and how tough he is. It also shows, people forget he's battled back from injury, too, and the injury had a big part of that. So you've got to give the injury credit as well.
"Listen, I would love nothing better than to see Mike Weir fight his way back and play good again."