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Weir laments unfinished business at Presidents Cup

Fri, 04 Nov 2011 21:12:58

by Lorne Rubenstein

Five-time International team member will watch this month's event on TV hoping to be back for 2013

When the Presidents Cup starts Nov. 17 at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Mike Weir won't be playing. He's feeling it, too. The competition between a U.S. team and an International side comprising players not eligible for the Ryder Cup means a lot to him. It's big for any international player who cares about representing his country.

Weir used to talk about wanting to make the team when he first got on the PGA Tour as a full-time player. The Presidents Cup wasn't as significant then as it is now, when the ninth running will be held.

Weir's played in five of the eight. He hasn't missed one since 2000, when he led the International team with a 3-2-0 record. His overall record is 13-9-2.

The 2000 competition, and his performance under the captaincy of Peter Thomson, the Aussie who won five Open Championships, helped Weir gain a lot of confidence. He'd won his first PGA Tour event in 1999 when he shot 64-64 to take the Greater Vancouver Open, which became the Air Canada Championship. Weir went on to win seven other PGA Tour events, including the 2003 Masters.

He hasn't won since 2007, though, and has had a series of injuries and swing problems. Weir didn't make the team that will play at the great Royal Melbourne course in the city's sand-belt area. He's rehabbing from elbow surgery last August, and won't start on the PGA Tour until February, at the earliest.

Meanwhile, he'll watch the Presidents Cup, although he rarely watches golf on television. The only time he might watch, he said during an extensive phone conversation Friday after a therapy session, is if a friend is in the hunt on the weekend. But the Presidents Cup is different.

"It will be tough because I'm not playing," Weir said, "but I'll watch. It's tearing my guts the closer we get to it. I can feel the knot in my stomach because I've been on the team five times and we didn't win once. It feels like I've left something undone there."

One thing Weir didn't leave undone was a point in his singles match against Tiger Woods in the 2007 Presidents Cup at the Royal Montreal Golf Club. Gary Player took him as a captain's pick, and it was obvious all week that he and Woods would go at it in their Sunday singles. The U.S. was seven points ahead going into the 12 singles matches.

"I remember when we were on the team bus to the course Sunday that, sure, we were down a lot, but we figured if we could just get some of our colours on the board early, we could make it up," Weir said. "But it didn't happen."

Weir said the first thing that comes to his mind now about his match against Woods is the bus ride back to the hotel after the finish. He'd rather have celebrated a team victory than an individual win. Above all, he'd hoped the International team could make the event more competitive; the U.S. won by five points. But he certainly remembers the match itself, especially the atmosphere.

"The atmosphere was phenomenal," Weir said. "And to beat Tiger, as well as he was playing at the time, was great. I hadn't been playing well. I think the occasion and the fans helped me raise my game."

Weir knows he'll need to raise his game in a big way to make the 2013 team.

"That's definitely a goal of mine," Weir said. "I've played some pretty good golf in the Presidents Cup, but I haven't been able to feel the joy of victory with my teammates."

Weir has played Royal Melbourne and loved the firm, fast, and linksy course. His voice was also firm. He wants to play his way back on the Presidents Cup team. He's been there those five times, and he's eager for a sixth appearance. At least. Watching might be okay, but he's a pro golfer, not a watcher of pro golfers.

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