Mike Weir, the green-jacketed guy in that photo who's not Phil Mickelson, is one of golf's toughest on-course stories over the last decade. Once one of the most promising golfers on Tour (they don't hand those jackets out to just anyone, you know), he's seen his game fall completely off a cliff.
And now comes news that elbow surgery will end his season, a move that we could reasonably construe as a mercy killing. Weir's 2011 has been a horror show: 15 events, only two made cuts, less than $24,000 in total earnings. He's played 34 tournament rounds and scored below 70 just once, in the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Weir, who last played (briefly, before withdrawing) at last month's RBC Canadian Open, underwent surgery on Thursday to repair a torn tendon in his right elbow. The recovery period for this type of surgery runs three to six months. Weir also lost a chunk of 2010 to a torn ligament in that same elbow.
Weir is indisputably a golf legend in Canada, but beyond the Great White North, his star has dimmed considerably. As one of the Class of 2003, the last crop of four first-time major winners before this year, Weir is a cautionary tale for Keegan Bradley and Charl Schwartzel, a reminder that instant success doesn't translate to long-term greatness. (Of that crop of major winners, only Jim Furyk has sustained success; Ben Curtis and Shaun Micheel are still best known for that lone major win.)
This game is cruel enough when you're at perfect health; clearly he hasn't been anywhere close to that for some time now.