Weir has to learn to chillFrustration setting in
By KEN FIDLIN -- Toronto Sun
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- He came off the golf course absolutely seething; angry at himself, angry at the universe. This is the same Mike Weir who has determined, correctly, that to get the most out of his considerable game, he has to chill a little bit, to appreciate the game that he loves so much.
Some days, it's an easier realization than others.
Weir, the defending champion at this Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, finished yesterday's second round with a solid five-under-par 67, but the demons inside weren't about to accept it for what it was. He wanted more and what frustrated him most is that he knew there was more there for the taking.
Over the course of the first two days, Weir has put himself in position to make a ton of birdies, but the putts simply won't fall. Now, Weir can be harsh on himself and if there was a mechanical or technical flaw, he would have gone straight to the practice putting green to grind it out.
But that's not the issue.
"It's just a function of the game," he said. "I'm well-prepared, my stroke is great, I'm hitting the putts very solid, hitting them where I'm looking. But they're not going in. I'm hitting a lot of good putts that just don't want to go in."
Rather than let his emotions get carried away, Weir might simply take a page from Kenny Perry, whose career has blossomed in his early 40s. During the past three seasons, he has made more money than he did during his first 14 years combined. Not surprisingly, he's enjoying his game more.
"I understand my game and I'm not rattled as much as I used to be and I'm not as angry on the golf course as I used to be," Perry said yesterday, after scraping it around PGA West in six-under-par 66, coming on the heels of his opening-round 64.
"I used to get frustrated trying to make things happen. That's the big difference. I'm letting it happen, rather than trying to force it. (Yesterday) was probably the best round I've ever had for as poorly as I hit the golf ball. The putter saved me."
What Weir has to understand -- and on some level, he does understand -- is that there isn't a lot he can do about days like yesterday and Wednesday. His game is strong, his course management precise, his swing pure and his putting stroke solid.
Even in the midst of his anger, he grasps the reality.
"I could hit the same putts another day and shoot 60. Especially (Wednesday)," he said. "I shot 70 but if I'd had a hot putting day, I could have been in the 50s.
"This is a tougher course and, obviously, if I'd just made a couple of putts, it could have been a great round. I still shot five under but I can't help that feeling I'm leaving a lot of shots out there on the course every day."
This is a strange little tournament, played on four different golf courses, of varying degrees of difficulty. La Quinta, where Weir played yesterday, is the hardest of them all with tight fairways and firmer greens than the other three.
Today's course, Indian Wells, is the easiest of the bunch. On the scorecard, par is 72 but most every player here will tell you that par is more like 68 and, to contend, it's necessary to shoot 63 or 64.
With a 70 already on the books, Weir needs to get on the birdie train early and stay there all day to get himself in position to make something happen on the weekend.
"I definitely need to get it going," he said. "Playing Indian Wells, I have to go low. Really low."
Something in the order of 64 or 65 would put him at 14- or 15-under going into the last two rounds and remain within shouting distance of the leaders.
More importantly, it might serve as a reminder that the game is fickle and you have to take the bad with the good.