Mike Weir is the most successful Canadian golfer of all time, yet he’s in no danger of forgetting how he got to this point.
The sweet-swinging lefty from Bright’s Grove, Ont. was in Winnipeg on Sunday and Monday for the Mike Weir Miracle Golf Drive for Kids and he recalled the long road to get to the top during his session with the media.
“It took me a long time to graduate to the PGA Tour, close to seven years from the time I graduated university (at Brigham Young),” Weir said during a scrum after giving a 30-minute clinic. “There was a lot of digging deep, a lot of tough times and a lot just hanging in there.”
His message to the golfers in the crowd was simple, yet important.
“If you want something, you can get it but you’ve got to work hard,” said Weir, 40.
Part of Weir’s hard work came on the Canadian Tour.
“I have great memories of the Canadian Tour,” said Weir. “Back when I was playing it, the tour started on the west coast and you would work your way east. You drive your car to B.C. and work your way across (the country). That’s what I always did. It was fun. My wife and I loaded up our car, like a lot of guys grinding it out on the Canadian Tour do now.
“They’re fun times. They’re difficult times, but they’re memorable. That’s how you learn and grow and get experience. You get beat up and you figure out a way to get better. It’s all part of it.”
Weir was excited to be back in Winnipeg, which was an annual stop for him during his time on the Canadian Tour.
“It’s been awhile and it’s great,” he said. “I’ve got some buddies here, from when I was here 15 years ago. We used to hang out and have a good time, so it’s good to see some familiar faces.
“I always had a great time when I played here.”
As for how his life changed after winning the Masters in 2003, Weir said that no matter what, it became the achievement people always associate him with.
“Wherever I travel in the world, people don’t remember the other tournaments I’ve won, they remember the Masters,” said Weir. “That’s different. You got recognized more.”
The questions came fast and furious from the youngsters and ranged from what was going through his mind when he lined up the putt that won him the Masters to what age he really started golfing.
Weir was impressed and it reminded him of the types of questions he used to ask Canadian golf icons like Richard Zokol and Dave Barr.
Although much is made of the technical aspects of the swing, Weir always encourages young players to work on their creativity.
“People are enamoured by swing theory lately because it’s so easy with technology to dissect golf swings and make them perfect,” said Weir. “But you still have to have a great short game and you have to be able to use your mind out there. You have to see the shots and visualize.
“I want the kids to learn that. I didn’t learn that until a later age and I wish I would have been taught that as a youngster.”
As for his immediate goals, Weir plans to spend the next week fine-tuning his game in preparation for the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, which opens on June 17.
“Last week wasn’t very good at all,” said Weir, who missed the cut last week at the Memorial in Ohio. “When I go home, I’m going to be working with my coach and I’ll be working hard for the next six days.”