Rejuvenated Mike Weir enters Masters feeling the best he has felt “in a long time”

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In early November, Corey Conners mentioned that he was on a thread started by 2003 Masters winner Mike Weir, where Canada’s senior golf statesman was trying to confirm details of a round of training Tuesday at this year’s Masters.When Conners was 11, it was Weir who captured the green jacket and the hearts of millions of young Canadians. Conners realized that someone from a small town in Canada could step onto the biggest stage in golf, and in doing so, Weir inspired Conners to want to become a professional golfer.

And now that same champion was asking him if Tuesday morning or afternoon was better for a warm-up game in Augusta?

“Oh, that’s amazing,” Conners said when asked if he was realizing what he was saying, given what Weir’s victory in 2003 meant to him. That’s the kind of impressive impact Weir has on the current generation of male stars on the Canadian PGA Tour.

But for the first time in over a decade, Weir said, he’s feeling great about his own game as Masters week approaches.

“There’s nothing that looks a little weaker than anything else,” Weir told Sportsnet in an exclusive pre-tournament interview. “I drive well, the putting has been really good at times… I just need to be more consistent with that. But I love Augusta greens. I always put them well.

Weir’s confidence was bolstered by an impressive start to his PGA Tour Champions career. He turned 50 in May and made his 50-plus tour debut the same year as Jim Furyk and Phil Mickelson.

Native of Brights Grove, Ontario. held firm on the Champions Tour throughout the summer program, with three top 10 finishes in nine tournaments. This race includes a final result in Mickelson at the Dominion Energy Charity Classic in mid-October.

He said competing on the Champions Tour was a good motivation to keep his game tight.

“We had so many guys who turned 50 last year – I would say three of the top four players of our generation, Phil (Mickelson), Ernie (Els) and Jim Furyk,” Weir said. “Aside from Tiger (Woods), they’re probably the best players of the last 20 years, so there’s a lot of excitement around the Champions Tour and the quality of play.”

Despite Weir’s long struggles, he found rejuvenating energy once he turned 48. The PGA Tour has a special category for longtime Tour members to earn departures on the Korn Ferry Tour at 48 and 49 as they prepare for the Champions Tour and their 50th anniversary.

Weir began to find his balance against the next generation of golf stars, making more cuts in the last two years on the Korn Ferry Tour than the last five on the PGA Tour.

Just over a decade ago, Weir, who has won the PGA Tour eight times and to date Canada’s only major male champion, started his battle with injuries. It was a myriad of issues with his elbow and shoulder, as well as his back. He went through a divorce at the same time, which made his journey problems worse.

Now, however, Weir is thriving again as a consistent presence in the Champions Tour leaderboards. It was a big change.

Another change for Weir has been his membership of the next generation of Tour stars in Canada. Weir has always been open and always encouraged guys to drop him a note with all their questions. But this time, Weir took the reins.

Weir said he admires Gary Player and other South Africans who all play together – Trevor Immelman, Charl Schwartzel, Ernie Els and Louis Oosthuizen (great champions, all) would come together for a game.

“They got to play with Gary and he saw the kids up close and I always thought it was really cool,” Weir said. “So for me to be able to show the guys the course a bit and play with them, see their games and discuss things will be very exciting. I can not wait to be there. ”

Players, however, like Conners (Adam Hadwin and Nick Taylor are the others on the pitch) are probably even more anxious to see their tear around Augusta National with a former winner.

It’s one thing to step into the background as a mentor and pass the jacket on to the next group of PGA Tour winners and major Canadian champions, but what does Weir think of his chances this week? Its playing partners on Tuesday will become its competitors on Thursday.

Weir admitted that it depends on course conditions, and he’s already starting the week knowing if his competitors go over 350 yards and hold a wedge in their hands when he’s got a 5 iron, it’s “not a fair fight. But the usual pilgrimage to Augusta National takes place in April when Weir isn’t sure what his game will give him. Now in November he worked on the Champions Tour – a job that gives him more confidence for the Masters than he has had in 10 years.

“I think golf has changed so much that I don’t know where it takes me with my game, but I feel good. Could I compete or just have a great week or finish somewhere in the top 20 I’m not sure, ”Weir said. “I feel very good about my game. The best we’ve felt in a long time. “

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