Father time

DARREN FRIESEN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:18 AM ET

Coddling his young daughter Lili, Mike Weir was making the most of his last few precious moments at home before teeing off full-time on the 2005 PGA Tour schedule.

Never one to put his career on hold, Weir kept his youngest offspring happy as he answered questions via telephone from his family residence in Draper, Utah, yesterday.

With the little one whispering, 'Daddy, when are you going to get off the phone?' the 2003 Masters champ talked of the upcoming season, his downtime and his bid to become the first three-peat champion at the Nissan Open in February.

"It would be pretty special to do it three times in a row," said the native of Bright's Grove, Ont.

"I have an affinity for Ben Hogan and know a lot about his game and what he's accomplished, especially around Riviera. For me to win back-to-back as he did and Corey Pavin and Arnold Palmer -- some great champions -- is an honour.

"So, to be able to do it three times would be fantastic. Hopefully, I can put it all together and give myself a chance to do that."

After his breakthrough 2003 season, during which he captured the coveted Green Jacket in Augusta, Ga., and collected career earnings of more than $4.8 million US, Weir looked poised to give Tiger Woods a run for the No. 1 world ranking.

However, after successfully defending his Nissan Open last year, Weir struggled with parts of his game and couldn't win another tournament.

"The 2004 season was a little inconsistent," he said.

"The highlight was winning the Nissan Open. Defending that tournament and the way it happened down the stretch turned out to be pretty exciting.

"I did have some other good events but didn't end up winning anything the rest of the year."

Weir still managed to end last season 16th on the money list and grabbed seven top-10 finishes.

The pressure to maintain momentum gave Weir little time to rest prior to last season, to which the left-hander was not accustomed. He attempted to rectify that heading into this year's events.

"My approach is just being refreshed. From 2003 leading into 2004, I didn't have much of an off-season," Weir said.

"I really didn't have enough quality time to spend with my coach to spend a lot of time on my fundamentals, which I've always done in the past.

"I think last year I was playing a lot of catch-up, whereas this year I was able to spend a lot of time with my coach."

Last weekend in Kapalua, Hawaii, at the Mercedes Championship, it appeared the 34-year-old, seven-year tour vet was going to get the start he was wanted.

A 63 during the second round briefly put Weir in second place behind last year's money leader Vijay Singh. However, subsequent rounds of 71 and 76 left him tied for 13th.

Returning home for his last couple of weeks of normal living after the Mercedes, Weir will turn his attention to the West Coast swing, starting two weeks from now at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in La Quinta, Calif.

"I love Riviera," admits Weir, about the Los Angeles venue for the Nissan Open, which starts Valentine's Day.

"You really have to think your way around that golf course. It's pretty narrow off the tee and you have to hit a lot of fairways because the rough is always a factor out there.

"It's just a good solid golf course and then it finishes with four solid holes. It's a really good challenge."

But first, Weir's going to hit the slopes with his family a couple of times before things go into full swing.


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