Weir he wants to beCanuck lefty loves coming from behind
By KEN FIDLIN -- Toronto Sun
ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- There are horses for courses, and Mike Weir thinks he might take the bit in his mouth and run with it.
"Maybe I'm a bit like SeaBiscuit," Weir said. "Have you seen that movie, where he gets out in front and backs up a little bit so he can stare them in the eye?
"For whatever reason, I seem to do better coming from behind. And that's the position I'm in again. So we'll see if I can do it again (today)."
It's hard to argue with the facts. Every one of Weir's six professional victories has been accomplished from off the pace on Sunday, including the Masters this past April.
Conversely, he has been shut out -- 0-for-5 -- when he holds a 54-hole advantage. It is clear he prefers to be the pursuer rather than the pursued.
So let the mind games begin.
Weir sits three shots behind co-leaders Chad Campbell and Shaun Micheel, neither of whom has won a PGA event let alone a major championship, with just 18 holes to play in the 85th PGA Championship.
Four years ago in his first PGA Championship, Weir played in the final Sunday pairing, tied for the lead with Tiger Woods, and got smoked by the pressure and the circus atmosphere at Medinah. He shot 80 and was a non-factor for most of the day, finishing 10th.
A ton of pressure situations, many of them successfully overcome, have come and gone since then and Weir now is the battle-hardened veteran with the steely nerves, not to mention the green jacket, factors that are expected to sustain him today.
"The two guys that are in the lead haven't won a tournament," he said. "So we'll see how it pans out. But as I said, they are really playing well and will probably handle it fine. It's up to the individual player, how they are going to feel and how they handle it."
As had been the case in the first two rounds, the third round was another grind, a game played right on the edge of disaster from start to finish. Some players were able to flirt but not succumb to it. But most couldn't handle it.
Scoring conditions were perhaps slightly better than Thursday and Friday but the long rough coupled with fairways and greens that are no longer soft is creating changeable playing conditions not everyone is able to discern.
Add to that the pressure of a major championship Sunday and there is a recipe, not only for Weir to come from behind, but for several players who are lying in the weeds four or five shots back.
It is also possible Micheel and Campbell will find solace in each other's company. Neither has ever won before so there will be no intimidation factor.
"It's a good point," Weir said. "Maybe they will find a comfort level playing with one another. But we'll see. There's a lot that goes into it, especially since it's a long wait until they tee off at 3 p.m.
"But both guys are playing really well. Chad shot a great round (yesterday) and is obviously on top of his game.
"I think that I'm going to have to get out there and catch them. I don't think they're going to back up too much."
Micheel understands the importance of playing with Campbell, who he bears a vague resemblance to and often is mistaken for by fans and media.
"I really look forward to playing with Chad. It does (give him a bit of comfort). Not that playing with Mike would have been that different, but (yesterday) I was paired with Billy Andrade and I don't think he has won a major either. So we were both out there trying to feed off each other. We had some nice conversations and he was rooting me along. Hopefully it will be like that with Chad.
"The pairing is going to be great. I hope that we both play well."
And while Weir isn't going to be right there on the tees and fairways and greens with them, he'll not be out of sight and certainly not out of their thoughts.
He'll be right there, one group in front of them, stalking them in plain sight, he hopes, just like everybody's favourite little horse-that-could.