Weir to play more in 2005

-- SLAM! Sports

, Last Updated: 5:40 PM ET

Despite winning nearly $3 million US last year, Mike Weir was still unhappy with his golf season.

After becoming just the sixth player to win back-to-back Nissan Opens in February, joining the likes of idols Ben Hogan and Arnold Palmer, Weir was shut out the rest of the way.

"I don't really look at where I finish on the money list," said the Bright's Grove, ON native, who finished 14th in PGA winnings. "That all looked good, but deep down I knew my game wasn't very good."

Weir has started 2005 almost exactly the way he did the previous year, finishing tied for 13th at last week's Mercedes Championships in Kapalua, Hawaii. Weir put himself in contention with a blistering 63 on Friday, only to fall back out with a final-round worst of 76 on Sunday. In 2004 Weir shot a 75 in the final round at the Mercedes to place 24th.

"I've had a couple good rounds at Kapalua, but for some reason I've never been able to put a whole tournament together," admitted Weir, who is taking the next two weeks off before returning at the end of the month for the Bob Hope Classic in California. "I'm looking forward to getting back to some more normal west-coast greens."

Unlike previous years, where he's taken breaks in between tournaments, Weir plans on being more active early on in the season in order to get into a better groove for the majors. Last year he missed the cut in both The Masters and the PGA Championship.

Beginning with the Bob Hope, Weir plans to play six straight tournaments, including his defense of the Nissan in mid-February. All six take place in California and Arizona, an easy commute from Weir's Utah home.

"The tournaments on the West Coast are pretty easy for me," said Weir, who will then take another two-week break, before playing the Bay Hill Invitational and The Players Championship in preparation for Augusta. "I've never done that before. It's going to be pretty busy."

Last year Weir played 22 PGA tournaments, one more than in his spectacular 2003 season, when he won nearly $5 million US. If his schedule holds, Weir will be on track to top the 25 tournaments he played in 2001.

After November's Tour Championship Weir shut it down for a few weeks and took some time away from the game to just relax with his wife and two daughters. He then used the next six weeks with instructor Mike Wilson to improve his game, namely his putting.

Weir struggled with his putter throughout 2004 and insisted that only his mental toughness allowed him to hang around in tournaments he had no business being in.

"I felt like my mental game was very strong last year," said Weir, who managed to place in the top 10 at both the U.S. and British Opens, despite struggling on the greens.

That, and missing a five-foot put in a playoff at the Canadian Open, has led Weir to change his approach to putting.

"In the past I've been more of a 'feel' putter, but I've never really thought about my posture, really never thought about leg pressure and how much knee flex I needed," said Weir. "You look at the way Tiger Woods sets up to the ball when he putts or Ernie Els or Retief Goosen and the real top notch players in the world all have great fundamentals when they putt. And I'm just trying to work on that a little bit better, a little bit more in this off season."

While results were mixed at Kapalua, Weir believes he's on the right track. If Weir can improve his putting, then playing more tournaments could translate into his best year yet.

"Last year I was playing a lot of catch-up, whereas this year I've been able to spend a lot of time with my coach," Weir said. "Getting to Hawaii last week I was really excited, whereas in 2004 I just wanted to be back home skiing."


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