Weir in the groove

IAN HUTCHINSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:58 AM ET

MONTREAL -- There's a standard bit of wisdom in golf that that suggests its players forget the worm-burners and lip-outs of the previous hole and live in the present, which is so enjoyable for Mike Weir today that he may throw out all clocks.

Weir is once again riding a tsunami of popularity in Canada after doing what few have done by chasing down a Tiger from behind in Sunday singles matches yesterday at Royal Montreal to conclude his magnificent Presidents Cup in grand fashion.

A forgettable performance by the Internationals suddenly turned into an unforgettable moment for Canadian golf fans thanks to the entirely proper decision by captain Gary Player to match Weir against Tiger Woods for all the right reasons.

There were cynics who won't admit it now, but accused Player of making Weir a captain's pick for the purely political reason of placing a Canadian on the team despite well-documented struggles that have seen Weir tinker with his swing and change coaches.

Weir, however, became the story of one of the most prestigious events in golf, other than Woody Austin's impromptu dip in the lake on Friday.

Weir finished 3-1-1 overall, including yesterday's Canadian love-in.

The energy built on the front nine where Weir took a three-up lead with Woods struggling with his driver and putter. It started to get dangerous with holes running out as Tiger chipped it down to all square by the 14th hole and went one-up on 15.

"I just kept telling myself I'm playing well,'' Weir said. "I was determined, once he got ahead there, I wasn't going to let him finish off early. I wanted to fight to the end.''

Weir actually delivered a knockout punch.

A clutch birdie putt on 17 put it back to even, before Woods made an uncharacteristic mistake by putting it in the water on 18. The predator was suddenly the prey and Weir shut it down with a birdie for a one-up victory.

That brings us to the present or, to be more exact, the immediate future.

Weir has shown flashes this year of the brilliance that won him the 2003 Masters, but the Presidents Cup represented the first time he has put all aspects of his game together over a long haul.

This may be the confirmation he needs that all of his tinkering and work have paid off, but he says his attitude was good even before the Presidents Cup.

"Actually, I was pretty confident coming in here,'' he said Weir. "The last time I played was Boston and I was leading after a couple of days and let it slip away, but I felt like my game was on track.

"I'm obviously proud of the way I played this week. I don't know if I can play any better. I played really good and rolled the putter really well.

"Hopefully, I can keep it up the rest of the year.''

Weir's stellar Presidents Cup comes at a rather unfortunate time with little left on the line this season, other than the Fall Series, which is mostly devoted to lesser-known players trying to keep their cards.

Weir says he realizes the importance of maintaining the momentum he established in the Presidents Cup, whether it's Masters time or when the leaves are changing. He has adjusted his schedule slightly to make that happen.

"I'm planning to take next week off and play Phoenix and now I think I'm going to add the next week in Florida.Then, I'm playing Hong Kong, which is the week before the World Cup.

"I want to keep playing. I think after the World Cup, I'll be ready for a break. It has been a busy year.

"I think I need a few weeks off and then, really hit the training regimen to get ready for next year and really build on the momentum of this week for next year.''

So, Weir deserves to take this week off and live in the present, enjoying every moment of a standout performance.

The most outstanding moment of his career is still his Masters win, but his showing at Royal Montreal erases the sting of losing the 2004 Canadian Open to Vijay Singh.

Canadians will also be enjoying the present Weir gave them in Montreal.

The present, though, changes quickly and the next few months, while not as high profile as the Presidents Cup, will set the tone for the future of a career that appears to be back on track.


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