Back with vengeanceKen Fidlin says after a sizzling round yesterday Mike Weir might have found some answers
By KEN FIDLIN -- Toronto Sun
Mike Weir spent the past few weeks puzzling over some questions about his game. Judging from his first competitive round since the Masters, he came up with a few convincing answers.
After missing the cut at The Players Championship and the Masters and, with a lacklustre performance at Atlanta in between, Weir went back home to regroup.
Yesterday he returned to work at the Wachovia Championship at Quail Hollow Country Club in Charlotte, N.C., and rattled off a round of five-under-par 67 that could just as easily have been a 62 or 63.
IN THE HUNT
The round was good enough to be right in the thick of things, three shots off Kirk Triplett's 64 and a shot behind Stuart Appleby, Brett Quigley, Rory Sabbatini and Fredrik Jacobson.
"I would say maybe I'm a little surprised (to shoot five-under), just because I've been off since the Masters and off the past three weeks, but I've been working really hard," Weir said.
"I didn't play very well at The Players Championship, Atlanta or Augusta. I was a little bit frustrated, needed the time off to work with my coach (Mike Wilson) and time away from the game to assess what was going on with my swing. I think we have it ironed out and, hopefully, it will get better as the week goes on."
It couldn't get much better than the way he started yesterday. Weir began his morning round on the back nine and got everybody's attention in a hurry, making five birdies in his first seven holes.
Then golf happened. He misclubbed and hit his tee shot into the water at the 17th to make double-bogey and made a bogey at the 18th, to turn at two-under.
"The momentum I had was kind of evaporating," he said.
After a par at No. 1, he made another bogey at the par-3 second and at that point, he had given back all but one of the shots he had grabbed early. Then he finished his round with birdies at four of the last five holes.
Weir suggested that his relaxed frame of mind allowed him to shrug off the mistakes he made mid-round and come back strong at the end.
"I think I just feel refreshed because I've been off three weeks. When you're grinding and playing a bunch of weeks in a row, you might not respond as well.
"I feel refreshed mentally and I didn't let it bother me. I kept telling myself 'Look, it's Thursday, don't let this thing get away.' And I was able to do it."
Wachovia has blossomed quickly into a prestigious stop on the PGA Tour in only its second year of existence. Part of its allure rests with the purse ($5.6 million US, $1.008 million to the winner). Part of it has to do with the golf course, Quail Hollow, which is the kind of place they could hold a major championship tomorrow if necessary. And part of it has to do with the way the organizers cater to most every whim of the players and their caddies.
This year it has an added benefit of having both Vijay Singh and Tiger Woods in the field as Woods tries to protect his lead as the No. 1 ranked player in the world. Singh's recent fine play, including wins in the past two tournaments, has put him right on Woods' heels as they head toward the United States Open next month at Shinnecock Hills on Long Island.
Yesterday, Singh finished at four-under 68, while Woods shot a 69.
Weir figures that yesterday was the best opportunity of the week to post a low score. It only gets more difficult from here on in.
"The course will continue to play more and more difficult as the week goes on. Whenever we play a challenging golf course like this and such a good tournament as this, the staff does a good job of making the course a little more difficult each day. I suspect that's going to happen here."