These days, it seems like it's been one step forward, two steps back for Mike Weir. Just as his game shows signs of gaining strength, someone pulls the chair out before he can sit down.
The latest hurdle came last week when the Canadian lefty hurt his ribs while practicing after the opening round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. It was confirmed later that Weir has either torn or inflamed cartilage in his ribs. The only treatment is rest and Advil.
“This last weekend was very frustrating,” said Weir who has undergone rehab and surgery on his elbow over the last three years. “I was pretty upset about that, because it happened Thursday night actually after my round, and I was able to play through it Friday, even though it was quite uncomfortable Friday, but Saturday it became unplayable and restrictive where I couldn't even turn.”
Weir had just made his third cut of the year after a second-round 70 on Friday and seemed to be getting better with all parts of his game, but now he's on the shelf with no ability to even practice.
The timing of the injury also couldn't be much worse. It's two weeks until the Masters, a tournament that Weir loves. Despite the injury being one that Weir admitted could be re-injured very easily, he's still holding out hope that he will be able to play.
“If I have to not hit any balls until Thursday, I won't, and just maybe putt a little bit, because I really want to play,” he said.
Either way, Weir will be in Georgia for the annual shoot-out, in large part due to it being the 10th anniversary of his victory there. There's been a lot of attention focused on the anniversary; SCOREGolf Magazine will devote a large part of it's spring issue to a look back of the win and Weir's agents IMG, have commissioned a 30-minute documentary on the win with everyone from Wayne Gretzky to Steve Nash talking about their memories of what is one of the country's great sporting events.
There are so many memories of that win that stand out for Weir. The first hole of the event he holed a 40-footer for par and then there was the final putt in regulation, a steely nerved six-footer he dropped to get into the playoff. These days, Weir's memories are not quite as fond. He's struggled through injuries and worked hard on swing changes under the watchful eye of Grante Waite. As he gets closer to putting all that together, he can take some solace from Tiger Woods, who finally seems to be putting together his new Sean Foley designed swing.
Despite his struggles, Weir has no regrets about making alterations to the swing that allowed him to slip on the Green Jacket.
“All the great players in the history of the game are always tinkering,” Weir stated. “You can look at Ben Hogan and his swing, he was always still working on things to improve it, to refine it, to make it better, and that's what we do as golfers. We're always in the laboratory a little bit trying to figure things out and make it better.
“No, I mean, what Tiger has done with his game and the few changes over the years just shows the testament to his mental fortitude and his athletic ability to be able to implement those changes and make them work and own them under competition, because a lot of things work on the range, but they don't work on the golf course.
“That's the thing, you've got to find what works on the golf course, and it seems like he's finding that now.”
Weir is still trying to find that, especially with his wayward driver, the one club in his bag that has proven especially elusive.
For now, however, Weir is once again working on getting healthy instead of his golf swing. It's been a long struggle for the 42-year-old, but if nothing else he can at least look forward to re-living his Masters memories. That's something that will never go away.