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Weir eyes December comeback

Wed, 27 Oct 2010 23:24:19

CP

TORONTO -- Mike Weir is on the comeback trail and he's decided to do it his own way.

The Canadian lefty plans to rely less on swing coach Mike Wilson when he returns to competitive golf, something that could happen as soon as December.

The past few months have been about more than simply trying to repair ligament damage in his right elbow. Weir has also spent plenty of time watching old footage of his swing and plotting a strategy to regain his form.

"Basically, the last eight or nine weeks I've been able to kind of figure out a lot of this on my own," Weir told The Canadian Press in an interview Wednesday. "I really don't think I need a teacher. I need a set of eyes -- whether it's Mike or someone else -- to keep an eye on what I know and give some feedback. I'm taking ownership of what I'm trying to accomplish when I make a swing.

"I feel like I don't need anybody to tell me what to do. I know what I need to do."

Weir has jumped between coaches the last couple years. He dropped Wilson for stack and tilt experts Andy Plumber and Mike Bennett in November 2006, before going back to Wilson a year and a half ago.

Now it's time for a new approach.

"I've realized that I was relying on somebody else to drive the ship a little bit," he said. "Now stepping back it's like, `Wait a minute here. I know what I need to do."'

Weir's recent practice has been limited to some work on chipping and a few swings with a five-iron at the indoor facility he has at home in Utah. The bulk of his injury rehabilitation has involved exercises with bands that are designed to build strength.

It will still be a couple weeks before he returns to the driving range.

"I'm scared to hit into the turf yet," said Weir. "Everything's off a tee. (The injury) was a little worse than I thought once I got in there. The first six or seven weeks when you're not doing anything you kind of feel useless because it's just all rest.

"Now it's ramped up with really heavy duty band work and it's really hard to do, so that's good. I like to be active and doing stuff."

He's eyeing a return at the Shark Shootout in mid-December, one of golf's "silly season" events that comes after the regular PGA Tour schedule has ended.

The 40-year-old hopes to be in top form right from the beginning of the 2011 season. A medical exemption will allow him five tournaments to bring his 2010 earnings up to the equivalent of 125th on the money list -- meaning he'll need to earn roughly $200,000 to keep his card.

Otherwise, he can use one of two special exemptions he holds because of career earnings to play the PGA Tour in 2011, but that's something he hopes to avoid doing.

Weir will have to fight to extend his streak of consecutive majors. He's played in 47 straight dating back to the 1999 U.S. Open, but is only guaranteed a spot in the Masters next year because of his win at Augusta National in 2003. His current world ranking has dropped to 129th -- meaning he might have to get through qualifying to play two of golf's other marquee tournaments.

"I'd definitely go to U.S. Open qualifying and British Open qualifying if I have to," said Weir. "I've done it before. It's been a long time, but you look at all the guys out on Tour -- David Toms has to go to it, Davis Love, Justin Leonard's gone the last few years. Guys kind of in the same boat I've been.

"That's the nature of the game, it's a tough game."

Weir has played some of his most inspired golf in the major championships, having posted top-10 finishes in 11 of those events over his career. They continue to be his main source of motivation.

"I want to play in majors, I want to try and win one," said Weir.

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