After most of a decade battling injuries, Masters champ Mike Weir turned 50 and started playing the Champions Tour with renewed success.
“I’m rounding into shape,” says Mike Weir, now 50, from his home in Utah. “I just need to fix the little mistakes, the small things that creep in when you haven’t been playing that regularly.”
Weir made the remarks earlier in October, just after finishing just outside the Top 20 at the SAS Championship. A few weeks earlier, at the Pure Insurance Championship at Pebble Beach, Weir finished in a tie for fourth.
And then, this past weekend, Weir held the lead heading into the final round at Dominion Charity Classic in Virginia. He’d finish strongly—his 1-under finish gave him a second-place finish behind Phil Mickelson. Suddenly it was like it was 2004 all over again, with the two left battling for championships once more.
Weir, who is in his first year on the Champions Tour, earned his largest cheque, making $176,000 and moving to No. 19 in the Charles Schwab Cup standings. For Weir, it feels like a return to his salad days when he battled the top golfers and was among the best in the world. Over much of the last decade, he struggled with injuries, eventually having to play the Korn Ferry Tour just to keep his game in shape. With a regular spot on the Champions Tour, he’s getting his competitive juices flowing.
“In a lot of cases, it feels a lot like the PGA Tour to me,” he says. “Look at the guys who are out here—Erne Els, Vijay Singh and Retief Goosen. Those are the guys I played with for years. My game is still competitive with these guys—the guys that grew up playing persimmon clubs.”
Weir says the last few years of playing on the PGA Tour was challenging. Never a long hitter even in his prime, he watched bombers hit it 50 or 60 yards by him. Staying competitive in those circumstances was difficult.
“It can be done,” Weir says, “but it is a lot harder now than it was 15 years ago. Now you have the 6th or 7th guy on the distance list hitting the ball outrageously long.”
Weir, who has played TaylorMade clubs for much of his career, continues with the brand, though he slips some Vokey wedges in. He’s played TaylorMade’s P790 irons recently, saying they provide the distance and feel he’s looking for. He’s keen on investigating the company’s recent P770 line, which is a little smaller without sacrificing distance. He’s also tweaked his driver shaft, going from his typical 70-75 gram shaft into one that’s 60 grams in a quest to pick up a little more speed and distance.
Though he’s playing Champions Tour, he’ll be at the Masters next month, and intends to be at the RBC Canadian Open at St. George’s in Toronto next year. After that, it is unclear how much he’ll play on the PGA Tour.
“I’m gearing up for the Masters,” he says. “I’m feeling really motivated—this is the best I’ve played in a while.”