SAN DIEGO – There are bad runs, there are rough patches, and then there is the stretch that former major winner Mike Weir has experienced in recent years.
Nearly a decade removed from his 2003 Masters victory, Weir entered the 2013 season outside the top 1,500 in the world ranking, forced to use a one-time exemption based on career earnings to play regularly on the PGA Tour. The Canadian last made a cut at the 2011 AT&T National, a drought that currently sits at 18 events.
After an opening-round 66 on the North Course, though, he is one shot off the lead and in position to bring that streak to a resounding close.
'I've tried to have a positive outlook, as bad as I've played and as much as I struggled,' he said after Thursday's round. 'I've tried to figure out ways to get it right, and it's just taken me a long time.'
Weir appeared ready to end his cut woes last week at the Humana Challenge. A triple bogey on the final hole Saturday, though, left him once again outside the cut line looking in. A week later, he is hopeful that the momentum garnered Thursday can be sustained.
'I've seen some good signs, so that's always positive,' said Weir, who now has shot 67 or better in three of his last four competitive rounds. 'Hopefully tomorrow I can keep doing the same thing.'
Much of Weir's struggles can be linked to a right-elbow injury, for which he had surgery in August 2011. The process of rounding back into form has been a long one for Weir, but he notes that patience is required along the comeback trail.
'As golfers, you want it right away,' he explained. 'I'm almost there. I don't feel 100 percent comfortable yet, but it's definitely getting a lot better. I'm happy with the progress I'm making.'
Weir also cited his two daughters as sources of motivation as he continues to look for the game that helped him win eight times on the PGA Tour from 1999-2007.
'My girls are at an age now that they understand. The last time I played really well, they were pretty young,' he added. 'So I'd like to show them what their dad can do.'