Mike Weir’s road to recovery will rely heavily on
sponsor exemptions for the 2012 season.
Weir’s Comeback Grind
PEBBLE BEACH, CALIFORNIA | Mike
Weir is looking for games. After nearly
seven months off with an elbow injury
and subsequent surgery in August, Weir
returned to the PGA Tour at the AT&T
Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
“I didn’t want to miss this tourna-
ment,” said Weir, who missed the cut
with rounds of 70-73-78. “It’s a good
place for me to start. I love this place.”
For Weir, the goal in the immediate
future is to dust off the rust his game
has collected. That will be a challenge
because he’s relying on sponsor exemp-
tions. One that got away is this week’s
Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country
Club. Weir was passed over when the
Northern Trust handed out its exemptions
and that’s unusual given his stature as a
two-time champion at Riviera (2003-04).
Surprise? Or disappointment?
“I was disappointed,” Weir said.
“Probably a little of both. They had other
ideas. I’ll play when I can and hopefully
be ready when I do get the call.”
The timing of his next start remains
unclear. The certainty is Augusta
National and The Masters, where the
Canadian won a green jacket in 2003.
“I’m hoping to hear back from tour-
nament directors in Florida,” he said.
“A lot of those are still up in the air.
That’s what I’m waiting on right now or
I’ll play in Europe.”
Weir had surgery to repair the exten-
sor tendon in his right elbow on Aug. 18.
After a six-week layoff, he went back to
work on his game and that has led to a
major development. Weir showed up at
Pebble Beach with a belly putter.
Aaron Baddeley warmed up for this
week’s title defense at the Northern
Trust Open with a final round 5-under
67 to finish fourth at Pebble Beach.
“It was a good day,” said Baddeley, who
reached 12-under 274. “You had to get off
to a good start. Once I did that, it’s like,
‘Come on.’ Once I saw Charlie (Wi) was
like 3 over early, I saw him and Kevin (Na)
and Phil were tied for the lead at 12 and I
was like, ‘I have a chance here.’ My game
has been building in this direction. Simi-
lar pattern last year at the same time.”
Baddeley rallied from behind in the
final round last year to defeat Vijay
Singh and Fred Couples at Riviera
Country Club. He started the final
round at Pebble Beach tied for 12th.
are contemplating re-examination of
rules regarding long putters, the subject was fodder for considerable debate
at the AT&T.
“I’ve never been a fan of it,” Tiger
Woods said. “I believe it’s the art of con-
trolling the body and club and swinging
the pendulum motion. I believe that’s
how it should be played. I’m a tradition-
alist when it comes to that.”
Woods said he has discussed the long
putter issue “for a number of years” with
R&A Chief Executive Peter Dawson.
“We have gone back and forth of how
we could word it,” Woods said. “My idea
was to have it so that the putter would
be equal to or less than the shortest
club in your bag. And I think with that
we’d be able to get away from any type
of belly anchoring. You can still anchor
the putter like Bernhard Langer did
against the arm. But that’s still the art
of swinging the club.
“But I think you can get away from
the belly or the long putter by that type
of wording, whether or not they do it.
And Peter’s looked into it for a number of
years, trying to get it to work, and you ac-
tually measure everybody’s sand wedge
and putter before you go out and play.”
With word that the USGA and R&A
Davis Love III, a two-time champion
at the AT&T Pebble Beach National
Pro-Am, returned to play in the tourna-
ment for the 27th time. Love is in the
midst of his preparations as captain
of the U.S. Ryder Cup team for the
matches against Europe at Medinah in
the last week of September.
“I just walked out on the range and a
couple of guys said, ‘Hello, captain,’” Love
said. “That’s always nice to hear and it’s
exciting that we’re in a Ryder Cup year.
And we’ve been doing obviously a lot of
preparations getting ready, and now the
points are getting exciting. The players
are starting to talk about it a lot more.”
Love hasn’t selected his assistants
yet but said being used in that role two
years ago by Corey Pavin for the match
in Wales was invaluable.
“Corey gave me a great insight to this
two years by letting me be an assistant
captain,” Love said. “I learned an awful
lot, and I really learned how important
the assistants are, especially when it
rains a lot ... we get to carry a lot of tow-
els and a lot of extra sandwiches.”
The reference to all the rain at Celtic
Manor and the leaky rainsuits worn by
the Americans drew a laugh.
Wi’s home game is virtually unbeatable. What he’s trying to do is bring it to
“When I’m at home, when I play with
my buddies or when I’m practicing with
my coaches, I’m like, ‘Oh, I can’t be
beat,’” said Wi, who has nine international wins but was still stuck on zero
on the PGA Tour.
“When I get out here, I try to do maybe
a little bit too much, try to be too precise,
too perfect, and I came to the realization
that I can’t be as precise as I want, and I
just have to play with what I have. I feel
like I’m bringing the game that I have at
home more out to the tournaments.”
Might Love select his close longtime
friend Couples as an assistant?