MIKE WEIR: No. 3, I got a great break there, I hit it -- just in the rough on the left-hand side, short of the bunker on the left, had I think about 140 yards, was trying to hack something out to have it land on the front of the green, hopefully run up there on the green, having to come out perfect land out of the rough, with top spin, rolled in the hole. I got a great break.
What did you hit?
MIKE WEIR: 9-iron.
MIKE WEIR: About 140 out of the rough. Then very next hole rolled in a ball, rolled in probably a 35-footer on the next hole. That was probably going eight feet past. I just got two great breaks right out of the gate. From there I settled down. I felt like I hit a good shot into five that just missed it. I guess I birdied 6, hit a great drive, I think 9-iron into 6 to, you know, eight feet, I think. Rolled that one right in. Made a nice save on the next hole from the back bunker. My putt was probably four feet. Then, No. 8, hit a really good drive, left myself a 4-iron from 220 yards, hit it about six feet with that 4-iron and played that putt. It could have been either way, I was 7-under, had a few breaks. I started playing better at that point. Hit a good shot in 9, just missed one, ten and eleven -- 10 I had about an eight foot putt and missed it. 11 I did not have a close chance. 12, I hit two shots down there, had about 70 yards. Hit it about six feet behind the hole, seven feet, made that putt. What else do we have here?
MIKE WEIR: 13 is par 3. Had a good drive on 14, 8-iron to probably 18 feet to the right of the hole. I made a really nice putt there. The par 3, probably 30 feet. 16, I hit a great drive, left myself 70 yards, did not hit a good pitch, to about 15 feet, missed that. 17 was off the left side of the green, chipped it up close, tapped it in. 18 hit a really nice drive, faded down around that bunker, left myself just a wedge on the last hole. Hit that probably I want to say twelve to fifteen feet behind the hole; made that putt. The putter was -- really was hot today. That was the key.
MIKE WEIR: Any time you shoot sub 30 nine holes, it kind of crosses your mind. I was trying to stay focused on the shot at hand. I was quickly I guess -- those thoughts flashed out of my mind when I hit -- hit a nice drive on ten, left of the bunker, rolled between the fringe cut and the fairway, just nestled right against there. If I was an inch out, I would have been able to hit a 3-wood on the green; I had a bad lie, pitched it down there. That was probably, if I was going to get anything from the back nine, probably needed something there. On ten and eleven you should have a good chance, I did not.
Q. Can you talk about your confidence level? You played very well over the last 6 or 9 months, can you talk about where you feel your game is and your confidence?
MIKE WEIR: The last year and a half or so, I have been playing a lot better, the more you are in contention to win tournaments, you feel like you belong more, like you belong in that position. At the start of the week, you know, there is just like a calm over you, a little more calm, the week is starting, if you stay patient, play your game, hopefully things will come along and you can be in contention. That has come through experience and a lot of experience through the Canadian and Australian tours I have played. I only have been out four years, but been a pro nine or ten years. Experience factor is huge.
Q. You touched upon this a minute ago, for the general public, there is sort of a biographical gap, between B Y U and coming out of Q-School. Can you fill us in?
MIKE WEIR: Those years what I did before coming to Q-School, I played the Canadian Tour. My routine kind of was play the Canadian Tour, which started early May and run through the end of September or mid-September. Then I go to the qualifying school. And miss. Then go down to Australia and play. I play like three or four tournaments before Christmas, come home, play three or four more, come home, then the Canadian Tour starts again. Try the routine again.
Q. How many times did you go to Q-School?
MIKE WEIR: Before I got my card the first time was, I got it on -- my card, on my fifth try. Then I had to go back the next year, again.
Q. Sounds like you had some -- that was a crime to get to where you are now?
MIKE WEIR: Sure. And a lot of lean years. My wife had to carry the bag, because we could not afford to pay a caddy. There are stories about that, about a lot of guys, not only myself. There were a lot of lean years.
Q. What makes you keep going?
MIKE WEIR: I think just perseverance, and love of the game. And a commitment to be better. That has always been -- I will always try to be better than I am now.
Q. Did you ever actually go hungry?
MIKE WEIR: No.
Q. Not know where your next meal was coming from?
MIKE WEIR: No. I had great sponsors in Canada that helped me get along. I was never starving, but it was like an apartment -- when I played in Australia, we got rid of the apartment, put everything in storage. When we came back, pulled everything out; get another apartment. That was kind of the deal for my wife and I for a few years.
Q. How discouraged did you get? Did you consider chucking it all?
MIKE WEIR: No, never considered chucking it all. Tried to consider how to get better.
Q. Where was it that you waited tables?
MIKE WEIR: Someone wrote that. That was just a total -- someone said that on TV, I think said I worked in an Italian restaurant. I said, where did you get that from. They got us mixed up. It wasn't me.
Q. What is the difference for you with your game, how are you so much better now?
MIKE WEIR: I changed my swing significantly in the last five years. That has been the major thing. I was never -- I always knew how to score but did not strike the ball that well. I told this story many times, being on the range besides Nick Price in the early '90s at the Canadian Open in 1994, hitting beside him, I had an exemption to the tournament, decided there is no way I can compete with this guy unless I do major changes to my game. It was at that point I searched and tried to make my swing better.
Q. You are on the leaderboard more and more over the last years. Have you noticed less and less, novelty of your being lefthanded, is that old hat?
MIKE WEIR: I think it is old hat, between Phil winning almost 20 times here now, I won a couple of times, Steve Flesch has been playing well the last couple of years, there are six of us out here now in total. I don't think it is a novelty any more.
Q. For around all the players, is there a still a buzz to it, if somebody shoots a 62 or so?
MIKE WEIR: I think so. I know the scoring has been a lot better this year, especially. Been a lot of low numbers, but the weather has to be right. Still you have to put the ball in the hole. I am still real excited about it.
Q. If this continues, not that you have to shoot four 60 rounds -- (inaudible)--
MIKE WEIR: Possibly. I don't know about all in mid-sixties. The course is definitely there for the taking a little bit, as the week goes on, the grind will get a little bit tougher, and faster, always when Saturday and Sunday comes, it is more difficult to shoot 62 than on Thursday. I have to keep doing what I am doing. Hopefully it will pan out.
Q. Is it fair to say Canada is a lot harder place to learn to be a good golfer than a lot of other places?
MIKE WEIR: Yes, I would agree with that. I never liked to use that as an excuse. It would be a little bit more difficult because of the weather factor.
Q. How far up are you from (the U.S.)?
MIKE WEIR: Only an hour, actually pretty much an hour west of Detroit, a little bit southwest of Toronto.
Q. I married a Canadian, that is why I am wondering. Is it hard for you to find -- you are happy with the coach you have now, did you find growing up that it was difficult for people who taught golfing to look at your swing and be able to look at all the moving parts, is that ever an issue for left-handers?
MIKE WEIR: I think it could be. It has not been for me; I am lucky. In the last two years, my coach, he has been swinging left-handed to train his brain and everything to be left-handed. He has gotten pretty good, actually (laughter. )
Q. You are coaching him?
MIKE WEIR: Yes. I do end up coaching him by the end of the day when we are working. Through my college years, I never worked on my swing, I learned how to score first, I had almost a slap-shot swing, shut club face, trap the ball and, really, from my old hockey
days, that is what I did, I swung, never really thought about it until, it was like in 1994, when I was hitting balls besides Nick Price, I was saying, I need to work on this, get my swing better. It is not -- sure, it is about creativity, imagination, using those assets, but you have to hit the ball solid.
Q. Anything after the Nick Price experience in 1994 that made the biggest difference?
MIKE WEIR: I think the first thing I did, I read Ben Hogan's 5 Fundamentals, was the first step. Studied the guy I played with, Nick Faldo's swing, Nick Price's swing quite a bit. I started working with a man named Clay Edwards out of Houston. That drive got a little old, from Salt Lake, 27-hour drive, the drive to Houston, was a little old. After a few times of that, I started looking elsewhere. Actually my caddy Brennan (ph) who used to work in Palm Desert, that is where Mike is, started taking lessons from Mike first before I did. I watched him take a lesson, got talking with Mike. We hit it off. I start working with him, as well.
Q. Mike, what you do feel like when you stand next to Nick Price on the range?
MIKE WEIR: I do not feel that, there is that big a gap as what there used to be. I still think he is -- as far as a -- as solid as he hits the ball, I don't know if there is anybody better. Tiger is right there with him, but Nick hits so solidly. I still love watching him hit balls. It is awesome to watch. There is -- when I hit balls beside him, it is not a factor I feel inferior. I feel if I put my game together, I can have as good a chance as anybody in the field.
Q. What was the difference in the confidence boost you got between winning in the first tournament in your home country and winning a Championship event with Tiger and Nick Price?
MIKE WEIR: I think one was -- was experience, I really hit on something, I made an 8 on that 17th hole Friday, was disappointed, because I was in the tournament, then fell back, I was 8 in on the weekend. I went to work hard in my hotel room, I had a mirror up, I was hitting okay, but I knew something was off. I got to the range, went a couple hours early to try their theory out on Saturday morning that I felt like, that was just off a little bit, more than just my ball position, shoulder alignment. And a little bit of my posture got sloppy. I went to the range, tried it out, felt good, had breakfast; had this new feeling of confidence, that I figured it out; that is what is excites you when you figure it out, then you see it on the range. When I went to the course on Saturday, the first tee I had a ton of confidence. I really did. My first bogey was on 15 on Sunday.
Q. Did the one give you more confidence than the other?
MIKE WEIR: The World Golf Championship gave me a lot more, just with the type of players right there at the end. Those are the guys that will be there for the next few years, I believe, contending in Majors and more golf championships and more important events. It is a win -- you can recall those from your memory banks in important situations.
Q. Do you think about that, who you are being pushed by or just -- how do you make yourself just concentrate on that golf?
MIKE WEIR: You have to concentrate on the ball, not watching the score board. There is time for that. You really have to focus on your own game and to the look who is creeping up the board, falling back or what is going on. There is a time for that. Like, for instance, Valderama, on 17, when the guys played big numbers, I did not know what was going on. I wanted to find out so I could play conservative; not have to take a chance. It would be a shame if I took a chance, thinking I had a one-shot lead and blew it, when I really had a three-shot lead. That is when I needed to know.
Q. With all the good scoring, and you wake up to a day like there, do you feel you have to move quickly, that you cannot be impatient because otherwise you will get blown away?
MIKE WEIR: No, you have to be really patient. You cannot get caught up in score, I believe, you have to go out, play your game. When I arrived Monday and played my practice round Tuesday, I could not believe how perfect condition the course is. The fairways are the best Bermuda I have ever seen. The greens are rolling well. You know there will be good scores. You have to stay patient. The ball will be rolling well on the greens. You have to stay patient. I felt like I was patient today, even though I shot 10-under. I got good breaks, it turning into 62. I did not force that 62 in there.
Q. Talk about the psychology of going low, when learning to play and start going low, is there a comfort level that you have to get passed that?
MIKE WEIR: Earlier in my career, it does take learning, takes discipline to keep going low. You have to stick to the same things; that is why when Bob asked me about No. 10, those are the things that keep you in the right frame of mind when you are distracted or, whatever distraction, you have to get back and do the same thing. That is -- if you keep doing the same things, you do not think about how low you are doing, you do the same thing.
Q. Is there a fear of going low; you want to hold on to your score?
MIKE WEIR: If you are not -- maybe some players. If you are not, you know, focused that way, you just -- just thinking, I am 6, 7-under, it keeps adding this anxiety or pressure, it makes it more difficult. I think that is experience in learning that. That takes practice, too.
Q. From what you said, the lefty thing is old; there is still a little bit of camaraderie, mainly dealing with equipment, what do you have, what do I have, comparison of notes?
MIKE WEIR: Yes. I will go to Flesch's bag, see what he has, irons or woods, he will do the same to me. That is the one factor that is still difficult out here, for a left-hander anywhere, when something comes out for a lefthander, it comes out longer. If you see something new, it is a neat novelty, you want to try it out.
Q. Substantial Canadian population in Florida, did you expect that?
MIKE WEIR: We had a great crowd following us today. Canadian fans are not only supportive not only in Canada, but everywhere I play. It is fantastic.
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