Not a lot has changed for Mike Weir over the past few years. There’s been no Cinderella-like surge back towards the top of the golf world, where he stood a decade ago, or even a tournament victory to create some conversation.
Instead he’s battled through injuries and poor play and now, at 43 years old, he’s a shadow of the player who once slipped his arms through the sleeves of a Green Jacket.
His last victory on the PGA Tour came at the Fry’s Electronics Open in 2007 and in the last three years he’s gone from being the 90th ranked player on the Official World Golf Rankings to the 967th ranked player.
But Weir hasn’t disappeared, not completely at least and this week presents another opportunity for the Sarnia, Ont., native to prove that he’s still capable of competing with some of the biggest names on the PGA Tour. For the first time since 2010 Mike Weir is teeing off at the U.S. Open.
“I’m excited to be playing forsure,” Weir told TSN’s Bob Weeks from the Merion Gold Club, the site of this week’s major. “I feel great. Obviously the last few weeks it’s gotten a lot better. The scoring hasn’t been as low I’d like, but I’m playing a lot better, much more consistent golf . . . My game seems to be rounding into form with a lot more consistency over the last few weeks.”
And Weir isn’t the only Canadian who will be taking to the course this week. David Hearn, Adam Hadwin Ryan Yip and Mackenzie Hughes also earned spots via qualifying and the group of five minus Yip actually got together on Tuesday for a practice round. Yip played a round with Weir Wednesday and showed respect for the veteran when he referenced him as a Canadian golf legend in an interview with the Toronto Star.
Hearn, 33, is coming off back-to-back top-20 finishes at the Memorial and FedEx St. Jude Classic while Hadwin, 25, Yip, 28 and Hughes, 22, have yet to earn their PGA Tour cards.
Of the five Canadians, Hughes may have taken the most interesting road to the U.S. Open, the first major tournament of his career. Touted as the top amateur golfer to come out of Canada in recent years, the Dundas, Ont., native, who’s won back-to-back Canadian Amateur Championships, fell one stroke short of advancing to the final U.S. Open qualifier in St. Louis – that after being down four strokes heading into the final four holes.
But when 59-year-old Jay Haas withdrew, a spot in the final round of qualifying was left for the 22-year-old Hughes, who, after 36 holes, won a playoff in order to secure the second of two spots in the major. He beat out 39 other golfers.
“I can't really put it into words,” he told the Ottawa Sun after qualifying. “You're so excited just watching the majors on TV. To get a chance to play my first one at a relatively young age is kind of surreal.”