March 9, 2009

The Grillroom - Mike Weir

This former puckster and current pride of Canada has forged success through lots of hard work

Whenever Mike Weir tees it up, fans from his native Canada are in the gallery. Nobody on the PGA Tour plays under such scrutiny. Vijay Singh doesn't play for Fiji, right?

Grillroom: Would that be accurate? That you tee it up for your flag more than any other golfer?

Weir: That's probably a fair assessment. But I've learned to enjoy it more, and we're proud of our country. In Phoenix, I had dinner with [Suns guard] Steve Nash. We stick together.

Bo Jackson says hitting a golf ball is the hardest thing to do in sports. Surprised?

Interesting, coming from him, because he's done it all. As a kid back home, I played hockey, of course. Occasionally goalie. That's pretty tough, too. But golf is different from most every sport. There's no outlet. Even in baseball, you can take a hard slide. Golf, you talk to yourself after a bad round and go back to the hotel.

When did you know you weren't the next Bobby Orr?

At 14, maybe sooner. But I did have a Bobby Orr doll. Mom didn't want posters on the walls of the house, so I had this Orr doll where you put on the skates, the stick, the jersey.

What's with all you lefties from the Great White North?

Yeah, I read that 30 percent of the golfers in Canada are left-handed. If you play hockey that way, why switch to right-handed in the summer for golf? Pretty much the same motion, swinging through to your target.

Fair to say it didn't come easy for you?

When Jeff Kent retired from the Dodgers, he said something that resonated with me, about there being room for guys who keep working at it. I don't think I have that much talent.

Long way from Jakarta to Augusta National, isn't it?

For sure. That was 1995. The taxi I'm in breaks down going to the course, in a river that's overflowing. I get out with my clubs and walk through a tough part of town, trying to hail another cab, people looking at me like I'm an alien.

And eight years later, you win the Masters.

Crazy. Now, I get to go to the Champions Dinner every year. A highlight. In '04 I was running late. There's only one shower in the Champions Locker Room. I head there in my towel, Arnold and Jack waiting for Tom Watson. I was hosting that year, but I just took my proper place in that line.