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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    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 9:20 am

    Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.

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    McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

    By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

    McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

    But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

    Said Harmon:

    “Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

    “This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

    McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

    “Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

    McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

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    How The Open cut line is determined

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

    Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

    The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    • After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

    • There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

    • There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

    The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.

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    The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:30 am

    Take a look at some answers to frequently asked questions about The Open:

    What's all this "The Open" stuff? I thought it was the British Open.

    What you call it has historically depended on where you were. If you were in the U.S., you called it the British Open, just as Europeans refer to the PGA Championship as the U.S. PGA. Outside the U.S. it generally has been referred to as The Open Championship. The preferred name of the organizers is The Open.

    How old is it?

    It's the oldest golf championship, dating back to 1860.

    Where is it played?

    There is a rotation – or "rota" – of courses used. Currently there are 10: Royal Birkdale, Royal St. George's, Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham and St. Annes, all in England; Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland and St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Turnberry and Muirfield, all in Scotland. Muirfield was removed from the rota in 2016 when members voted against allowing female members, but when the vote was reversed in 2017 it was allowed back in.

    Where will it be played this year?

    At Carnoustie, which is located on the south-eastern shore of Scotland.

    Who has won The Open on that course?

    Going back to the first time Carnoustie hosted, in 1931, winners there have been Tommy Armour, Henry Cotton (1937), Ben Hogan (1953), Gary Player (1968), Tom Watson (1975), Paul Lawrie (1999), Padraig Harrington (2007).

    Wasn't that the year Hogan nearly won the Slam?

    Yep. He had won the Masters and U.S. Open that season, then traveled to Carnoustie and won that as well. It was the only time he ever played The Open. He was unable to play the PGA Championship that season because the dates conflicted with those of The Open.

    Jean Van de Velde's name should be on that list, right?

    This is true. He had a three-shot lead on the final hole in 1999 and made triple bogey. He lost in a playoff to Lawrie, which also included Justin Leonard.

    Who has won this event the most?

    Harry Vardon, who was from the Channel Island of Jersey, won a record six times between 1896 and 1914. Australian Peter Thomson, American Watson, Scot James Braid and Englishman J.H. Taylor each won five times.

    What about the Morrises?

    Tom Sr. won four times between 1861 and 1867. His son, Tom Jr., also won four times, between 1868 and 1872.

    Have players from any particular country dominated?

    In the early days, Scots won the first 29 Opens – not a shocker since they were all played at one of three Scottish courses, Prestwick, St. Andrews and Musselburgh. In the current era, going back to 1999 (we'll explain why that year in a minute), the scoreboard is United States, nine wins; South Africa, three wins; Ireland, two wins; Northern Ireland, two wins; and Sweden, one win. The only Scot to win in that period was Lawrie, who took advantage of one of the biggest collapses in golf history.

    Who is this year's defending champion?

    That would be American Jordan Spieth, who survived an adventerous final round to defeat Matt Kuchar by three strokes and earn the third leg of the career Grand Slam.

    What is the trophy called?

    The claret jug. It's official name is the Golf Champion Trophy, but you rarely hear that used. The claret jug replaced the original Challenge Belt in 1872. The winner of the claret jug gets to keep it for a year, then must return it (each winner gets a replica to keep).

    Which Opens have been the most memorable?

    Well, there was Palmer in 1961and '62; Van de Velde's collapse in 1999; Hogan's win in 1953; Tiger Woods' eight-shot domination of the 2000 Open at St. Andrews; Watson almost winning at age 59 in 2009; Doug Sanders missing what would have been a winning 3-foot putt at St. Andrews in 1970; Tony Jacklin becoming the first Briton to win the championship in 18 years; and, of course, the Duel in the Sun at Turnberry in 1977, in which Watson and Jack Nicklaus dueled head-to-head over the final 36 holes, Watson winning by shooting 65-65 to Nicklaus' 65-66.

    When I watch this tournament on TV, I hear lots of unfamiliar terms, like "gorse" and "whin" and "burn." What do these terms mean?

    Gorse is a prickly shrub, which sometimes is referred to as whin. Heather is also a shrub. What the scots call a burn, would also be considered a creek or stream.