March 05, 2011
It was supposed to be easy for Mike Weir. After missing the final few months of last season with an elbow injury, the PGA Tour gave Weir five tournaments at the beginning of this season to make up the $250,000 he needed to retain his exempt status.
That meant he had to average $50,000 per event, an attainable figure when you consider the Masters champion had held full-time status since 1998. But instead of making the most of the opportunity, Weir fell flat on his face, missing the cut in three of his first four events before posting an 85 on Friday at the Honda Classic -- his highest score of his career.
The score not only marked the lowest point in Weir's career, it also means he's no longer a fully exempt member, meaning he'll have to rely on sponsors exemptions the rest of this season. Weir has two lifetime money exemptions he could use to get him through 2011, but the funny thing is, he doesn't want to use them.
No offense, but is he saving these things for a rainy day? It makes no sense to hold onto lifetime exemptions when he clearly needs to work the kinks out and play more golf; he obviously feels his name will be enough to get him into tournaments the rest of the way.
But getting into tournaments should be the least of his worries. Weir has been struggling mightly with his swing, one that seems to be stuck between his old Stack and Tilt and the one he's currently working on with instructor Jim Flick, leading many to wonder if we'll ever see old Mike Weir again. He doesn't look comfortable over the ball, and that, ultimately, is the biggest reason he's struggled so much.
Assuming he and Flick can get his game back on track, there's still a chance Weir could regain his full-time status. He's a fantastic talent, but like a lot of great golfers -- Tiger Woods is in this group -- he's stuggling to regain his old form that made him one of the best in the game.
At this point, it's impossible to predict where Weir goes from here. As far as I'm concerned, he's a giant question mark until he gets his swing in order, and even then it's impossible to predict if he'll ever return to his old form again.