Take that Weirsy Nation!

Canada's Mike Weir watches his tee shot at the Canadian Open Golf tournament in Toronto July 22,...

Canada's Mike Weir watches his tee shot at the Canadian Open Golf tournament in Toronto July 22, 2010. (REUTERS/Mike Cassese)

STEVE BUFFERY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:21 PM ET

TORONTO - I woke up one morning last summer and checked my email.

Five minutes later I had booked a one-way ticket to Argentina, with the idea of becoming a Gaucho somewhere deep in The Pampas.

I figured I had to get as far away as I could, as fast as possible, before members of Weirsy Nation got a hold of me.

What had gone down was, well, me ... right under a bus — courtesy of the front page headline writer at the Toronto Sun.

I had written a column suggesting Canadian golf legend Mike Weir’s days as a top pro were over, and backed my point up with some hard statistics. The headline on the front page of our paper the next day — Is Mike Weir washed up? — was somewhat more sensational. And when the smoke cleared, I was Enemy No.1 with the fairway brigade.

To make matters worse, many of my colleagues gleefully poured gasoline on the fire, including Sun golf columnist Ian Hutchinson, who suggested my thesis about Weir was unlike your average Depends undergarment. That is, it didn’t hold water.

“The ‘diminishing results and deteriorating statistics’ that (Buffery) wrote about are all part of a struggle this season, which Weir readily admits,” Hutch wrote. “But as Beez is known to do, he took it a hop, skip and jump beyond that by predicting Weir is fading, apparently because he’s now 40 and feeling the effects of tendinitis.”

The last time I did the hop, skip and jump was during a competition the boys and I organized in the hallway of an upscale Montreal hotel. We ended up sleeping on a train station floor.

“I come not to bury Beez and definitely not to praise him because the fact is I have made the same mistake of going by the numbers only to have Weir rebound in spectacular fashion, which he is still capable of doing past his 40th birthday,” Hutch continued.

Hutch and his ilk counter-argued that the stats I used in reaching the conclusion that Weir was finished as a consistent PGA threat did not tell the true story. “You’re out of order!” was the Pacino-esque message from the affronted golf journos, while the message I took from Weirsy Nation was more along the lines of ... well, never in my wildest dreams did I think the country club crowd knew so many expletives. Must have picked them up from the clubhouse attendant.

Well, sorry Hutch. Sorry crazed golf nuts. It doesn’t appear as though Weir is going to “rebound in spectacular fashion” anytime soon.

Clearly it’s all over.

And that’s not a personal shot at Weir, who is nothing but a consummate gentleman and wonderful ambassador for Canadian golf. And that’s not to say the Brights Grove native, who turns 41 in May, won’t manage a fluke top-five finish here and there as his career fades into the twilight. Yes, he’s experienced injuries and other setbacks in recent seasons, but the fact is, his game has been deteriorating for some time and he’s simply not going to rebound into an elite player on the PGA Tour like he once was.

Poor Weirsy hasn’t won a PGA tour event since 2007. Last season, bad elbow and all, he managed one top 10 finish. This year has been an unmitigated disaster, despite the fact he’s healthy. Playing on a five-tournament medical exemption, Weir missed the cut in four (walking off the course at the Honda Classic last week after shooting a miserable 85 in the second round). And the cruellest cut of all, he lost his status as a fully-exempt member of the PGA Tour.

Hutch points out that many other golfers have gone on to win major tournaments after the age of 40 — golfers like Tom Watson, Fred Couples and Jack Nicklaus. No offence Hutch, but take off the rose-coloured glasses. Weir — while a Canadian icon — is no Watson, Couples or Nicklaus.

I bring this up not to kick Weir while he’s down. But I firmly believe it’s time to take the focus off Weir and put it on Canada’s up and coming young golfers — guys like Adam Hadwin, Matt Hill and Nick Taylor.

I bet Weir would actually appreciate that. With all those unrealistic expectations taken off his shoulders — particularly when he returns home to play — he might actually play better.

And who knows? Maybe he’ll make a cut one of these years.

steve.buffery@sunmedia.ca

twitter @beezersun


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