As Mike Weir lined up a potential Canadian Open winning nine-foot putt at the 18th hole, one security guard tapped another and whispered, "If he makes it, get down to the green." They were preparing for a Weir triumph all weekend here at Glen Abbey Golf Club and the aforementioned words were final instructions.
Extra uniformed and non-uniformed security guards were called in on Saturday, though they couldn't stop a man from giving Weir a hard slap on the back yesterday (more on that later). On No. 16, with Weir poised to break a 50-year Canadian drought at home, an official grabbed his walkie talkie and said, "Get the fans as far back as you can."
But in the end, after a wild 21-hole day, there was no need to worry about a celebration getting out of control.
After Vijay Singh tapped in for par on the third playoff hole on No. 18 to seal the title, thousands of fans gave Weir one last standing ovation. The Canadian tipped his cap as one fan shouted, "We're proud of you Mike."
"I'd like to thank all the fans," Weir said about 30 minutes later. "It was absolutely an awesome week. I had a fantastic time ... It was something I'll never forget."
It was a week with a little bit of everything -- huge supportive galleries, a small number of stupid fans, 80 last-minute weekend media accreditation requests (half were turned down), brilliant shots and, of course, heartbreak.
The front nine yesterday followed the script.
Thunderous roars were heard as Weir threw darts at the pins to recover from a double bogey at No. 2. On No. 7, with Singh (who was playing in the group ahead) four shots back, a man bellowed, "Vijay's at seven-under Mike. He's nowhere in sight."
Unfortunately, one dummy caused a bit of a scare as Weir was walking to the 11th when he pounded his flat hand on the golfer's upper back. For some reason, security guards were in front of Weir at the time, instead of beside him. Security officials talked to the man, who left the course. Weir stretched his right arm after the blow.
"The guy grabbed me pretty hard across my back and my neck as I was walking through ... That was unfortunate," said Weir, who went on to bogey the 11th and two other holes on the back nine. "I don't know if the guy drank too much."
Then there was an equally mature woman, with a beer in hand, who asked for Weir's autograph while he was walking down to the valley. She said, "I used to play with your dad." Weir turned down her idiotic request.
But overall, fans were well-behaved, creative and classy. Five men wore hockey helmets and jerseys. Another stood on a bridge with a sign saying, "Weir today. Canada Tuesday." They even kept Weir informed of Singh's score, shouting "Vijay bogeyed" after his mistep on the 15th.
"They were cheering in a good way," Singh said. "They were not cheering against me, but they were cheering for Mike. There's a big difference there, although on 15 when I missed the putt they got all excited."
They sat on trees and under grandstands on the 18th, only to watch Weir miss two potential winning putts. They ran to the 17th to catch the second playoff hole, only to see Weir miss a six-footer for the win.
Then, finally, there was the groan of defeat, when Weir's approach plopped into the water when playing the 18th for the third and final time.
"I'm disappointed not only for myself, but for everybody who was supporting me," Weir said. "It was really special."