'I didn't get it done'

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 6:24 AM ET

OAKVILLE, Ont. -- The trouble with being Team Canada in golf is that there is only one of you. Mike Weir had no teammates to share the weight of the nation. He was carrying the country on one set of shoulders.

It was too heavy.

He collapsed.

When it was over and Weir had buckled under with a chance to become the first Canadian in 50 years to win the Canadian Open, I asked him if he could feel the weight of his country out there.

"Every shot,'' he said.

"You know, on some holes, I was literally deaf just being screamed at. I had to open my mouth and give a yawn to pop my ears as I got to the tee.''

Weir said the pressure was more than any major he'd ever played.

"It's way tougher,'' he said. "Much tougher. Every shot is magnified. You're getting yelled at constantly, non-stop,'' added the man who became the first Canadian to win the Masters two years ago.

"In a long career, you're going to have a tough loss here and there. This is a tough one, no question,'' he said of going down on the third playoff hole to Vijay Singh.

"This time I didn't get it done.

"I'm disappointed not just for myself but for everybody out there supporting me.''

There's no soft peddling what happened here with Canada dialed in like they will be tomorrow for the final in the World Cup of Hockey.

GASSED AND GAGGED

Weir gassed a three-stroke lead, then gagged on a a sudden-death playoff against the man who last week took over from Tiger Woods to become No. 1 in the world. He had chance after chance, but couldn't close.

With Wayne Gretzky in the crowd, Weir was trying to do in the 100th edition of the Canadian Open what Gretzky's Team Canada did at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games in becoming the first Canadian team to win gold in hockey since the Edmonton Mercurys 50 years earlier.

The Mercs, in this case, the Canadian winner from 50 years ago, was Pat Fletcher, the born-in-Clacton-on-the-Sea, England, product who moved to Victoria, B.C., at the age of four and won the Canadian Open in 1954 as resident pro at the Saskatoon G&CC.

If you want an actual born-in-Canada winner, you have to go back to Tottenham, Ont. native Karl Keffer in 1914. But they go back into the history books for another day.

"It's very disappointing. I only made one putt in the last two days. If I had putted halfway decent, I would have won the golf tournament. Whatever reason, it wasn't meant to be today.''

ROLLER-COASTER RIDE

Weir, three strokes up going into the day - three stokes up with eight holes to go - made it a roller-coaster ride for Canada all the way. It was like the hockey game the night before against the Czechs. But this time there was no pulling it out in overtime.

After a steady stream of pars (15) on Saturday - only one bogey on the previous 54 holes - Weir's scorecard featured five birdies, five bogeys and a double bogey.

There were a half-dozen gold-plated opportunities for Weir to win this thing, not just yesterday, but the day before.

But yesterday, Weir, unbelievably, failed to get his putt over the ridge on the par-5 13th. He was left to three-putt and bogey again. A three-stoke lead after 10 had slipped to a single stroke.

When Singh missed a seven-foot putt on 15 to open the door, Weir three-putted from inside eight feet. On 18, Singh unleashed a 371-yard drive and birdied the hole to tie it up. Weir had a 10-foot putt to win the tournament. Missed it!

On the second extra hole, Singh lipped out his putt. Weir had a six-footer for the tournament. Missed it!

"Of all the missed opportunities the one on 18 and the one on the second playoff hole were probably the biggest ones,'' he lamented.

A GREAT BIG SPLASH

On the third extra hole, the 18th again, Weir was wide right on his approach shot. Splash! The chance to make Canadian sports history was gone. Weir had lost the tournament he said he wanted to win as much or more than any major.

Weir was left to say sorry.

And thanks.

"The fans were fantastic. I had an awesome time. It was something special. No matter what I do the rest of my career, I'll always remember this week,'' he said of the 50,000 partisan patrons at Glen Abbey.

He loved 49,999 of them.

Some clown grabbed him between the 11th and 12th holes.

"He grabbed me pretty hard across my back and neck as I was walking through there.

''I don't know if that had anything to do with that pulled tee shot on the next hole, but .. it was unfortunate. I don't know if the guy drank too much or what.''

Lost in all of this was Singh.

The man won his fourth golf tournament in his last five starts and joined Tiger Woods, Johnny Miller and Jack Nicklaus as the only golfers ever to win seven PGA tournaments the same season.

But Singh knew what he was dealing with here. He showed no emotion when he won.

He simply went over and shook Weir's hand and offered a few private words.

"The fans were really cheering for Mike. I hope they didn't get to him, but in my mind they must have affected him one way or the other.

''He wanted to win this tournament bad.''

Too bad.


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