Aging like a Weir wine

TIM MCKAY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:59 AM ET

Remember Len Mattiace?

Didn't think so.

The journeyman golfer is but a footnote to our greatest golf moment -- Mike Weir's 2003 Masters championship.

The diminutive Canadian authored his own chapter in Canadian sporting lore, while, with a playoff loss to Weir, Mattiace faded back into obscurity.

One wonders what would have happened had Mattiace won that playoff. Would Weir, who celebrated his 40th birthday last week, have fallen back to join the ranks of golfers struggling to stay within the PGA Tour's top 125?

It's an interesting question and one that spawned a new book by golf writer John Feinstein.

The book, entitled Moment of Glory: The Year Underdogs Ruled Golf, features a photo of Weir celebrating his Masters win -- the modest two-arm pump, an image now ingrained into our national psyche.

Feinstein told the Golf Channel recently that the idea came to him as he was following Weir and Mattiace on that fateful day. That playoff -- in a year that Tiger Woods was struggling -- would make the career of one golfer and perhaps define the other's failure.

Well, we all know what happened, but it's tough to imagine that had it gone the other way, Weir would have not recovered.

The victory likely was more of a mental triumph for Weir, an affirmation that he could get it done on the biggest, prettiest stage golf has to offer.

His success, in terms of wins, didn't really flourish, but he has been steady and has won twice since then, while Mattiace could barely make any cuts in the ensuing years. And the fact that Weir was Canadian didn't hurt either, as he parlayed his fame into lines of clothing and wines, among other pursuits.

As he embarks on what golf writing sage Bob Weeks described as the back nine of his career -- the 10 years leading up to Champions Tour eligibility -- Weir needs that same kind of affirmation again.

It has been three years since his victory at the Fry's Electronics Open and time is definitely not on his side.

But he still works hard and despite not having the same length as some of the young bombers, he still can compete.

Weir still is one of the best short-iron players and putters on tour and, even though he may have to think his way around the course a little more than some others, he is capable of winning again.

Like his own Mike Weir Wine, it's time the golfer shows the fruits of his maturity.

Singh for your supper

Vijay Singh needs to have a good week at the Byron Nelson Championship to ensure a spot in the U.S. Open.

Singh, who fell to 51st in the latest official world golf ranking, holds the longest streak for consecutive majors played with 63, but that is in jeopardy as the top 50 in the next world golf ranking get into the U.S. and British Opens.

Tiger tales

One of the reasons Hank Haney gave for dumping Woods as a client was that he wanted to spend more time on his television show, The Haney Project, this year featuring Ray Ramono.

Sure, there's probably a lot more to it, but does anyone think Haney would have a television show were it not for Woods? ... Woods has signed on to play the British Open, perhaps looking for a reprieve from American media. The British tabloids are salivating ... That doctor Haney vehemently denied was doing anything untoward with Woods, Dr. Anthony Galea, was charged in U.S. federal court on Tuesday with smuggling, conspiracy, distributing human growth hormone and introducing an unapproved drug into commerce. Yet another person Tiger likely doesn't want his name associated with at the moment.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Rickie Fowler

Hot on the heels of Rory McIlroy as the PGA Tour's top rookie, it seems only a matter of time until the 21-year-old breaks through with a victory. He missed the cut at The Players Championship, but he finished sixth and tied for eighth in the two previous events. He will tee it up with veterans Tommy Armour III and Steve Elkington Thursday at the Byron Nelson Championship.

Lee Westwood

OK, I know we ragged on him here last week for being a bridesmaid on the PGA Tour, but this week he's back across the pond for the European Tour flagship BMW PGA Championship. Eight of the world's top-20 players are in the field, including new No. 3 Westwood.


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