A Homegrown Moment - COPIED

By Ian HutchinsonOctober 26, 2007, 4:00 pm
MONTREAL -- In so many words, the common opinion on Mike Weir is that hes a nice, classy guy who gives everyone a warm fuzzy when he succeeds on the PGA Tour.
Well, appearances can be deceiving.
Before the nasty e-mails start, thats not to insinuate that Weir is not genuine. Hes every bit the smiling, polite guy you see interviewed after setting so many Canadian benchmarks such as his 2003 Masters win.
Weirs class and obvious talent are his trademarks, but hidden in the shadows is a very important and underrated factor that has contributed to his success, which continued on Sunday with his one-shot victory at the Frys Electronics Open in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Weir is one of the toughest dawgs in the yard, a trait usually attributed to Tiger Woods, who is known to glare down anyone approaching one of his bones. Like Weir, Woods has reconstructed his swing over the years and even tripped up from time to time, but never over an extended period.
Weir has more mud on him than the big dawg, which is what makes his three-plus years without a win a testament to his mental toughness. Its been speculated that giving up the lead at the 2004 Canadian Open and losing to Vijay Singh was the beginning of his struggles, a theory Weir quickly dismisses.
That has nothing to do with my struggles, he said. I lost that tournament, but that has zero to do with my struggles. My struggles had to do with my back injuries.
When youre not 100 per cent, youre trying to play and you cant practice as much and you get off the mechanics of your golf swing. You start making compensations and you can get into a funk.
Hey, Ive lost plenty of tournaments before. Ive lost more than Ive won. That goes away quickly.
What doesnt go away are the injuries that were becoming more prevalent as the 2005 season wore on. It was frustrating the way I was hitting the ball and frustrating when every time I tried to go work on it, I wasnt seeing results, then it kind of set me back a couple of days.
My neck would be really sore. I couldnt stay on top of it.
If this dawg was to stay in the yard for a long time, there would have to be some serious changes to his swing and that meant conversion to the now popular stack-and-tilt theory.
Basically, its swinging in a circle, not any movement off the ball, no lateral shift at all, just staying centred over the ball, which most of the great players in the history of the game have done, said Weir.
Its just easier to practice. Its easier on your joints. Its easier on your spine, he added. Its a combination of longevity in the game, which I wanted, injury prevention and better ball-striking and more power.
The swing changes seemed to be kicking in as this season progressed, but not enough to make Weir anything but a controversial captains pick by Gary Player for the Presidents Cup at Royal Montreal. Despite his detractors, Weir stole the show, particularly in his thrilling singles victory against Woods.
I think this Presidents Cup could change his whole career, said Player afterwards.
Its showing signs of doing just that. Two weeks ago, the momentum from Montreal continued as Weir posted a tie for 10th in Las Vegas before his win in Scottsdale on Sunday.
Weir has made a habit of coming back from adversity. In 1999, he crashed and burned from contention at the PGA Championship only to pick up his first tour win a few weeks later at the Air Canada Championship in Vancouver.
In 2002, he couldnt manage a top-10 finish all year, but came back with three wins the following year, including a low-profile event played at Augusta National. This time around, the struggles went on longer, but Weir feels a new chapter has begun, comparing his win in Scottsdale to the Air Canada Championship.
Since it has been awhile, it felt similar to my first win and, with the changes I made, it is, in a way, a first win for this method Im working on.
I think (Weirs win) will be huge, especially if he is going through a few swing changes, added Bellevilles Jon Mills, who will join Weir in tour next season.
It will give him that added confidence that he definitely made the right decision and I think in the long run its going to pay off big time. I think its going to make him a much more consistent player. It puts him in the right mindset for next year.
 
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    Toronto Sun Editor's Note: Ian Hutchinson is golf columnist for the Toronto Sun and senior writer for Pro Shop Magazine, a Canadian golf trade publication, and Canadian Golfer Magazine. He is also a frequent contributor to Golf Scene and Golf Canada Magazine, the official magazine of the Royal Canadian Golf Association.
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    Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

    Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

    Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

    In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

    Koepka is expected to miss the next 8-12 weeks.

    “I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

    Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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    Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

    In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


    Made Cut

    Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

    Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

    “If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

    McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

    “The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    September can’t get here quick enough.

    Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

    There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

    In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

    “I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

    The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

    Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

    Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

    The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

    The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

    “My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


    Missed Cut

    Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

    After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

    It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

    Tweet of the week:

    It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

    The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”