Weir decides to play more

KEN FIDLIN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:21 AM ET

If Canadian golf fans are agreed on one thing, it is that Mike Weir doesn't play enough tournaments to keep his game honed to a fine edge.

We're about to find out if all those armchair Johnny Miller wannabes are right.

Weir said yesterday that he is planning, as an experiment, to play six consecutive PGA Tour tournaments starting with the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, week after next. In essence, he is exchanging his membership in the casual Tiger Tour for one on the rather more intense Vijay Tour.

"I'm going to be busy," Weir said. "I'm doing something different that I haven't done before. I'm going to play pretty much everything right through the Ford Championship (at Doral). Right now I'm scheduled to play all six tournaments in a row, which I've never done before. I just want to see if I can play myself into a nice rhythm and ride the momentum."

In order, Weir is planning to play the Bob Hope, the FBR Open (at Phoenix), the ATT Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Nissan Open in Los Angeles where he is the two-time defending champ, the Accenture World Matchplay Championship and then the Ford Championship in Miami. After a week off, he'll be back at the Bay Hill Invitational, then The Players Championship. He's planning to skip the BellSouth in Atlanta the week before The Masters.

NINE TOURNAMENTS

If you're keeping score, that's nine tournaments in 11 weeks.

"After that, I'll probably take a little bit of a break," he said.

Weir did say that his schedule isn't written in stone and that if things are not working the way he hopes they will, he could change his mind.

"I'll probably evaluate things after three tournaments or so and see how I'm doing; see if mentally I'm okay. The West Coast tournaments are easy for me because I can get home (to Draper, Utah) on Sunday night and back out on Tuesday. They're easy trips."

Weir's pattern in the past has been to seldom play more than three weeks in a row, and often less than that, with generous vacation time in between.

Fresh from a full two-month sabbatical from tournament golf, Weir feels he's back in sync after playing more or less steadily for two full years. At the end of the 2003 season, the year he won the Masters, he played right up until the week before Christmas.

"I was a little fatigued starting 2004, trying to get ready to defend the Masters and the 2004 season in general," he said. "I was always used to taking pretty much the whole winter off. That's just been my pattern.

"When I didn't have that last year, I just felt a little burnt out. That's why I had a little bit more inconsistency. This year I had a nice break, took a few weeks right away from golf. I had some time to think about a few things I needed to work on.

"By the time I got to Hawaii last week (for the Mercedes Championship), I was really excited to play, where in 2004 I was thinking I'd rather be home skiing."

Weir was in contention at Mercedes right up until the final round, when he shot a disappointing 76 to finish in a 13th-place tie.

During this off-season, Weir worked specifically on his putting fundamentals but also in shortening his swing, which he felt had become a "bit long."

Weir is looking forward to a season that includes a Canadian Open at Shaugnessy in Vancouver but delivered a mild rebuke to the Royal Canadian Golf Association, which administers the Open, for not being more proactive with the PGA Tour players.

"I have always talked up the tournament and tried to get players there but it's not my job to be a promoter. The RCGA has to do a better job to get out there and be visible so the players know what's going on. A friend was telling me last week that Tiger Woods didn't even know the tournament was in Vancouver and that reflects a little bit on the RCGA and their job of getting the word out there."


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