Rough analysis

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:46 AM ET

Without question the funniest man in sports broadcasting, David Feherty sees nothing humourous about Mike Weir's struggles this year.

He also sees no reason why his wee little lefty pal couldn't turn things around as early as this weekend at the Bell Canadian Open.

"There's nothing wrong with Mike -- he just hasn't clicked yet this year," said Feherty, in Calgary yesterday to hunt quail with his wife before speaking at a charity golf tourney at Valley Ridge. "There's time left and I expect him to win before the season's out."

On the tail end of a season where Weir missed six of seven cuts, Canada's greatest golfer has been a subject of national debate. Ranked 47th on the money list with just two top-10 finishes, many wonder if the slight man who won the Masters in 2003 will ever return to the form that had him ranked fifth in the world.

"When he looks back at his career, this probably won't be one of his better years but he's had great years before and he'll have great years after," said the silver-tongued CBS golf analyst whose family shacks up with Weir's at least once a year for endless hockey talk. "It always starts with putting. If you don't putt well, it puts pressure on the rest of your game and it spreads like a virus. It gets cured just as quick with one little mental thought or click in your swing that starts to feel right and you get your confidence back. That's the nature of golf."

Having won almost half of his $1.28 million US this year at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February, Weir has since struggled on the greens, ranking 179th on tour with the flatstick.

"When you get to Mike Weir's level it's all mental -- it's how much you don't want to miss that matters," said the former Ryder Cup player, who has since quit playing even recreationally due to back pain.

"The guys that don't worry whether they miss or not are the ones who make putts."

They go by names like Woods, Mickelson, Love, Garcia and Goosen -- all noticeably absent from the Canadian Open draw that tees off at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver this morning.

Another man who sinks putts with nauseating regularity answers to Singh, as in Vijay -- who may have subconsciously sent Weir into his slump by beating the 35-year-old in a playoff at last year's Open at Glen Abbey, mere hours from his hometown of Bright's Grove, Ont. It was also there Weir claims to have developed shoulder problems when a gregarious fan grabbed him between holes to offer support.

Ironically, Singh returns to active duty this week following a back injury suffered while playing with his kids -- making him and Weir two of 10 top-50 golfers bothering to show at the once-proud tour stop.

"Hey, the Canadian Open is still one of the titles players love to have on their resume - it's a national open," said Feherty, a hockey-mad Irishman who counts Don Cherry, Tie Domi and second-cousin Tony McKegney as his biggest heroes. "It's always been an important tournament, no doubt about that."

Especially for Weir, who says few things could be grander than winning on home turf like he did at the 1999 Air Canada Championship, which was his first PGA title.

"He keeps himself in great shape, he's got a great attitude and is one of the hardest workers in the game," said Feherty, asked if Weir's career was on the downslide. "That'd be the last of my worries. When he's on he's really hard to beat. He could win any week now."


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