Weir welcomes pressure

KEN FIDLIN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:20 AM ET

MANASSAS, Va. -- It hasn't been much of a year for Mike Weir, but the Presidents Cup matches may turn out to be his ticket out of the doldrums.

Match-play events, especially team events where you have to answer to 11 other players, not just yourself, are a very different type of competition and it's a format Weir relishes.

"I'll be ready for whatever comes along," said Weir, who practised yesterday with Stuart Appleby and Peter Lonard at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club.

"I pride myself on this stuff. Things haven't been going that well but my swing feels good again. I'm hitting my driver long and straight. I know I'm going to play well."

When the Presidents Cup last was played at this golf course, in 2000, Weir was the most productive player on an International side that was whipped 21 1/2 to 10 1/2. Weir had the only winning record on the International side, with three victories in five matches. In 2003 in South Africa, Weir also was on the winning side in three of five matches.

Not everybody relishes the responsibility that goes with being part of a team. The pressure can be stifling.

"In golf, we don't very often get to be part of a team," he said. "I grew up playing team sports and I miss that. That's part of what makes this so special for me. When Tiger (Woods) and Ernie (Els) were in the playoff (in 2003), it was the most nervous I've ever been on a golf course, and I wasn't even playing."

The tournament begins tomorrow with six foursomes (alternate shot) matches, involving all 24 players. It continues on Friday with five four-ball (best ball) matches.

On Saturday, there are five more morning foursome matches, followed by an afternoon session of six four-balls.

On Sunday, the event reaches its tension-packed finish with a dozen singles matches. In all, there are 34 points up for grabs with 17 1/2 points needed for victory.

The Americans expect that David Toms will be ready and able to play. He was rushed to hospital with a rapid heartbeat last weekend but has his condition under control.

The Internationals will have to make do without their horse from South Africa, Els. He's recovering from a knee injury.


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