Emotion, History Catch Up to Mike

KEN FIDLIN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 6:52 AM ET

This was death by butter knife, or perhaps more accurately, from a thousand paper cuts. Defeat didn't swing its broadsword at Mike Weir in one mighty coup de grace; rather, it wore him down with countless nicks and scrapes that eventually took their toll.

In the moments after he had lost to Vijay Singh in a playoff for the Canadian Open championship, Weir said he will remember yesterday for the rest of his life, not because he lost in such excruciating fashion, but because of the pulsating emotion that enveloped him at Glen Abbey all week.

People are going to say Weir blew it. And, in his own way, he admitted that he had. But let's be fair about this. He came closer to pulling this off than anyone has in half a century and we're willing to bet that Pat Fletcher didn't have the weight of the entire nation on his shoulders back in 1954.

"You know, I think maybe in the end, I was just trying too hard," said Weir. "That's this crazy game. When you try too hard, sometimes it doesn't work out.

"For whatever reason, it wasn't meant to be this week," he said. "That's the bottom line. I didn't get it done, for sure. It was me who didn't get it done, but I didn't seem to have anything falling my way the last two days."

Weir was asked if he felt he had the weight of the country on his shoulders and he wasted little time in responding.

"Every shot," he said. "You know on some of the holes I was literally deaf from being screamed at. I had to open my mouth and yawn to pop my ears. It was pretty cool.

"I'd like to thank all the fans. It was absolutely an awesome week. I had a fantastic time. You know, I'm disappointed not only for myself but obviously for everyone who was out there to support me. It was really special."

He held it together right up until the 72nd hole and through two playoff holes before his hopes and dreams came crashing down. But there were so many opportunities to blow the doors off the field earlier.

"It was there for the taking," he said

So, where did it all go wrong? Granted, Glen Abbey wasn't giving anything away yesterday but there were a dozen mistakes and missed opprtunites that collided to kill Weir's chances.

Was it the double-bogey at two? Or the substandard bunker shot at seven? Or the bogey at 11? Maybe the three-putt at 13? Or the costly three-putt bogey at 16? How about the putt at 18? or the one at 17 in the playoff? Or maybe it goes back all the way to Saturday's third round when he had just as many chances to inflict a killing blow to his opponents.

Or was the pressure simply too great for one man to harness?

Being at the centre of all that emotional power can take its toll, especially in a game where total concentration is necessary.

"I wasn't able to gather my emotions like I usually do and that, looking back, is probably why I didn't feel comfortable," said Weir. "Usually in those situations I'm good. But if you have a long career, everybody is going to have a tough loss here or there. This is a tough one, no doubt about it. But I'll be back."

IF NOT HIM, THEN WHO?

Maybe the question has to be asked if it's even possible for a Canadian to win this event, given the grotesque emotional demands of the task. Weir is no creampuff. He's as tough as nails and if he can't handle the burden, I know of no one else, now or on the horizon, who can.

And you can be absolutely certain the same gallery response will be there the next time Weir, or anybody else, gets close to breaking this longstanding drought.

"Every shot is magnified," said Weir. "You're getting yelled at, constantly. Non-stop. That doesn't happen at your normal tour event. There's just a lot more to it than a regular event."

That said, Weir is relishing another chance next year to get the job done. The stars were all aligned this week but it didn't happen. You have to wonder if it ever will. 


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