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Wed, 07 Dec 2011 19:33:37

Another month has gone by and I'm getting closer and closer to being able to return to playing golf. It's been a long stretch of recovery and rehab, but slowly I'm seeing signs that my game will return.

Over the last little while, I've been hitting wedge and pitch shots and started to step that up to iron shots, all of them off a tee. At first, I was swinging at about 50 per cent of normal, but I have gradually moved that up to 75 per cent.

And in the last few sessions, I even hit four or five drivers. They all felt really good. However in discussions with my doctor, I've backed off a little bit. Dr. Andrews wants me to wait until the four-month mark before I hit more drivers or full shots of any kind. It can be a bit frustrating but I know patience now will pay off down the road.

One interesting thing I've noticed in the last few weeks is how much more grip strength I have. I can really feel my fingers on the club these days and that's something that was missing the last few years. It's one of those gradual thing that's so subtle I guess I never really noticed it, but since the surgery, it's evident how much I'd lost over time and how much I have back.

With all this progress, I'm starting to look at a possible timeframe to return to action. Right now, I have my sights set on Pebble Beach for a couple of reasons. First, it's a tournament where I've played well in the past and feel comfortable. And second, at that time of year, the turf is generally soft out there, which will help. I'm not sure if I'll make that deadline, but I'm going to shoot for that right now.

As far as my overall schedule, I'm hoping to play as much as I can on the PGA Tour through exemptions and my status. But I recently discovered that I'm fully exempt on the European Tour. It seems they give major champions a 12-year exemption and so I've taken out membership there. While I still would like to play most of my golf in North America, I'm also kind of excited about the chance to play in Europe. I think it would be fun to tee it up in the different countries they have on their tour and I'll likely use that to fill in when I'm unable to play over here.

While I was at home, I had a chance to watch the PGA Tour Q-School and follow the progress of the Canadians who were entered. I know it's disappointing for them not to make it to the PGA Tour but I think even getting onto the Nationwide Tour shows progress.

For a young player like Adam Hadwin, getting out there and having a solid year will mean a PGA Tour card at the end of it. I know it's tough to take; I was 28 before I got on the PGA Tour and those years trying to make it felt like the longest of my life.

But just because they didn't make it this time doesn't mean they aren't great players. Who knows? In five or six years, guys like Adam and Matt Hill and Nick Taylor and Ryan Yip might be among the best in the world.

The same goes for the women who were at the LPGA school. Maude-Aimee Leblanc and Rebecca Lee-Bentham are to be congratulated for their success in making the Tour but the others should just keep working hard.

Also, I want to congratulate an old friend, Jim Rutledge for making it through on the Champions Tour Q-School. I think now that he has secured his status, he can go and play some Jim Rutledge golf - he's going to have a great year I predict.

Finally, Christmas is a very special time of year for the Weir household as I'm sure it is for many families. It gives us a chance to reflect on how lucky we are and for all the great friends and family we have. I want to thank each and every one of you for your support over this last year. It certainly hasn't been an easy one but knowing that I have so many great fans out there cheering for me makes all the hard work worthwhile. Reading your comments on this site and hearing your words of encouragement when I'm out on the course is what keeps me going. So thank you, thank you, thank you.

And may I make a small request of you? I hope that you will find some time to help out the less fortunate this holiday season. Maybe you can make a donation to the Food Bank or drop off a toy for a child that might not have anything under the tree. Just find it in your heart to make this season better for someone else. At this time of year, a small act can go a long way.

Have a safe and happy Christmas and a joyous New Year!