OAKMONT, PA. -- Mike Weir might have picked an easier place to try a new putting setup.
But the Canadian lefty is confident a return to his putting roots will help him on the Oakmont Country Club's legendary quick and undulating greens when the 107th U.S. Open gets under way today.
After looking at some videotape of his good run with the flatstick a few years ago, Weir decided on Monday to go back to his old setup.
"What I've been saying the past few weeks is: 'Hey, I know I'm a great putter. For some reason, I'm not feeling comfortable.' So I just had to find a stance, a body position, more the stance I've used since I was a kid," Weir said yesterday after his final tuneup.
"I never used to like the way I looked putting, so I tried to fit a mould and look good mechanically. But in that pursuit, probably, I've lost the feel. I finally said: 'Bag it.' "
Weir won the 2003 Masters and you don't do that without being able to putt.
He had been working some with Stan Utley, who has established himself with some players as a quality putting coach, but said he got caught up too much in mechanics.
"There is a lot of good theory in there, but any time you have to think about what you're doing mechanically in putting, you may lose a little bit of your feel," Weir said. "I feel normal again. Whether that leads to good things this week, I don't know, but I think it will long-term."
Weir has had success on greens made of poa annua grass and that could give him confidence this week.
"I've always putted those well -- Pebble Beach, those kinds of courses. These are just fast poa. But I feel good on them. The greens are very true. There are not a lot of big slopes like at Augusta, but you have a lot of up-and-down, small slopes, and you have to be real creative. I'm spending a lot of time just envisioning big breaks and balls running out an extra four or five feet."
When Weir won the Masters, he finished that year ranked 11th in putting. He is currently tied for 74th in number of putts per green in regulation. Weir was 21st in 2004, slipped to 173rd in '05 and rebounded to a tie for 21st last year.