AUGUSTA, Ga. - Hope springs eternal, and in the realm of golf, hope always finds a bounce at Augusta National GC.
Just ask Mike Weir, the 2003 Masters winner, who comes into this week's 75th Masters feeling rejuvenated and eager to see glimmers of improvement in his game after an abysmal run fueled by swing doubts and injuries.
"I'm hoping to see some good things this week, some of the old things I used to do well," the Canada native said Monday.
Weir, 40, shut down his season last August after tearing a ligament in his right elbow at the British Open, and he began 2011 with a major medical exemption in which he had five events to earn $227,000 and retain his PGA Tour card. He missed the cut in four of five and now is relegated to the Past Champions category for the remainder of the year.
Turns out he also had a left wrist problem that required a cortisone shot last year and was still troubling him as he began the season. Three weeks ago he had it drained of fluid, and he is finally feeling healthy and starting to strike the ball better. The fact that he is back with his old swing coach, Mike Wilson, also has him optimistic, as he is the latest player to abandon the Stack-and-Tilt swing method.
"Your habits are your habits. I lost track of what my bad habits are, and I'm getting back to attacking those specifically," said Weir, who made the switch because he didn't see consistency in his game. "I thought I'd be playing better than this, but you just have to dig your way out."
Weir also has a new caddie on the bag this week. It's an old friend, Graeme Courts, who works for Loren Roberts on the Champions Tour. Courts caddied for Weir on the Australian Tour in the early 1990s.
"I've got a lot of great things going. I know I'm going to play better. It's a matter of how much better," Weir said. "I think I'll start to see the trend of playing with more productivity and more solid shots. The path I'm on right now are a lot of the same things that worked for me in the past."
-- Dave Shedloski