The Royal treatment

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 6:36 AM ET

MONTREAL -- Standing on the 17th tee, he thought hard about where he had been and where he was now and he winced over how it had slipped away.

On a glorious, golden, early fall day, a day made for enjoying the last possibilities of this summer game, Mike Weir had seen a 3-up lead after 10 holes over the world's best player slip away.

The Canadian lefty stood on the back of the tee on the par-3, in front of the countrymen who had screamed his name from the moment he had stepped onto the practice tee, and he admitted to the first real emotion he had felt on the day.

"I wanted to battle at that moment for myself and everybody who supported me," said Weir.

"I didn't want it to go down the way it was going down."

The fans at the Royal Montreal Golf Club screamed and chanted and Weir gave them what they wanted, delivered a gritty, improbable win over Tiger Woods, the best golfer in the world and, sooner rather than later, the best of all time.

They will never be able to take this day away from Canada's Mike Weir, this glorious, golden early fall day, or take it away from the fans who filled the stands and lined the fairways and greens and were there to see it.

It ended with world No. 1 taking off his hat and extending his hand to Weir on the 18th green.

They embraced and the fans, on their feet, roared for Weir's 1-up victory at the Presidents Cup.

"Winning the Masters was a thrill," said Weir, the only Canadian to have won one of golf's majors. "But when I look back on my career, this might be more special than winning the Masters because of the support.

"(Woods) didn't have his best day and I had my best day. That's the way you're going to beat the best player."

Weir is being modest.

For sure, Woods made some uncharacteristic mistakes, missed some putts which are usually automatic for him.

But you cannot take any of the glitter or grease from Weir's victory for he did it the hard way. He let that 3-up lead slip away and found himself down to the world's best with two holes to go.

Weir then hit four shots that will, given the polish of time, be remembered among the most memorable of his career.

After Woods put his tee shot just 12 feet away and perhaps one putt from ending the match, Weir hit a 9-iron 155 yards to 10 feet.

After Woods singed the left side of the hole, Weir rolled in the putt to tie the match.

The crowd exploded.

Teammate Rory Sabbatini, his match over, grabbed Weir's hand as he came off the green and patted his butt.

Now with the honour and the match in the balance, Weir faced the toughest driving hole on the course.

Water left. A bunker right.

Only 23 paces between them.

He ripped it between them, yet another impressive tee ball on a day full of them as Weir kept at least within shouting distance of Woods from the teebox.

Then, the wobble that seemed to be kept barely below the surface in Woods' game yesterday, bubbled up again (he had knocked a ball out of bounds to the right on the sixth hole.)

Woods knocked his tee shot into the water, coming up just short of clearing the hazard, the splash going up right in front of a Canadian flag held by fans at the edge of the lake.

Woods had to take a drop 74 yards back, where his ball crossed the margin of the lake, and his 244-yard third shot came up short and in some long grass.

Weir, with 174 yards to the back-right flag, hit a 7-iron to 15 feet, a daring shot.

After Woods' pitch for par missed, he took off his hat, conceding Weir's putt and the match.

This was the best golf Weir has played in a long time and he did it in difficult circumstances.

It started when he arrived amid questions about being the captain's pick.

He spent the week being the unofficial host and the centre of attention, pulled in so many directions.

As the golden sun dipped on a beautiful day, it ended with Mike Weir shaking hands with the best player in the world and he was a winner.


Videos

Photos