The PGA Championship

Interview with Mike Weir

August 12, 2003

Julius Mason: Masters Champion, Mike Weir, with us, ladies and gentlemen, at the 85th PGA Championship.

Mike is playing in his fifth PGA Championship.

Mike, welcome to Rochester. Some thoughts about being here.

Mike Weir: I'm excited about this golf course. It's a tremendous golf course. The rough is very thick and wet. You're going to have to drive it well to keep it underneath the hole on some of these greens. I'm looking forward to the challenge of playing this place and hopefully my game will come around and I'll be able to play all right.

Q: Just on the rough, can you just talk about the rough a little bit and how it sort of compares to anywhere else you've played recently or at all?

Mike Weir: Yeah, it's not comparable to anything we've played recently. It's very thick. Around the greens it's very difficult just to hit little pitch shots within 10, 12 feet of the hole, but off the tee, there's really no chance to advance the ball to the green if you miss the fairway and that's the big thing. You are going to be hacking it out and leave yourself 150 yards in for your third shot if you hit it in the rough. It's like a penalty shot if you hit it in the rough.

Q: You're in the group, about five of six players that has a shot at the Player of the Year award; how much does that award mean to players, especially since it's voted on by your peers?

Mike Weir: Is it voted on? I'm not sure it's voted on by the peers. I'm not sure of that.

It would be really special, that's for sure. There's been four or five guys as you said who have had great years. Davis is probably the front-runner as well as he's played, consistently as he's played, winning four times and winning THE PLAYERS Championship. If I play well at the end of the year, maybe I might have a shot. It would be great. It would be great to do that. Long way to go still this year.

Q: Can you talk about the two finishing holes, 17 and 18 and just how difficult they are?

Mike Weir: Yeah, they are very long. You know, pretty good driving holes. I think 17 today, I hit a drive and a 5-wood. 18, I hit a pretty good drive and had a 5-iron. Two pretty demanding holes to finish up.

16, you have to hit a pretty good tee shot there, as well. So a pretty good finish to the tournament each day and each round. 17 and 18 can be pretty pivotal coming into the last few holes of the tournament.

Q: Talking about long holes, 13 is pretty long and it has that tiny little green that you're shooting into. Can you talk a little about that?

Mike Weir: The par 5, yeah. Well, yes, it's long. It's a definite three-shot hole. You'll see most of the players probably hit 3-wood off the tee, just to get it in the fairway because there's no advantage to try to get it up close to the creek.

And then you're laying up and you're hitting anywhere from an 8-iron to a wedge for your third shot. A third shot into the green is not really that difficult. It's just getting it in the fairway off the tee on your second shot.

Q: You won early, I know you were looking forward to the Presidents Cup which is late and now you've got the Hawaii thing late and the Canadian Open after this. Does this seem like the longest possible year for you, the way it's all shaping up?

Mike Weir: It does. I'm used to taking a nice break in November and December and maybe early January, or at least last year I really enjoyed that. This year, it's not going to be possible, really. So it is going to be a long year. That's why I tried to spread it out a little bit more and not play so much because I know the end of the year is going to be pretty busy with the events you mentioned and the World Golf Championships events and this event here. So got a pretty busy end of the season here.

Q: Can you talk about the changes in your mental attitude from last year to this year and the apparent juxtaposition of not wanting golf to be as hard or serious?

Mike Weir: I don't know if that's the case. I feel like I am enjoying it more. It wasn't that far off from last year, really. Honestly it was a few adjustments with my short game, really. That's the biggest difference.

You know, golf is still very important to me, no question. But I've got other things. My family is growing; they are growing up, so that takes precedence for sure.

Q: I was just thinking about something you said where you would get too frustrated last year and get too mad at yourself when things weren't going well.

Mike Weir: Well, sure, if you're a competitor, you are not going to be happy if you're not playing well. Who is going to be happy when they are not playing well? That's not competitive athletes. And the same goes now. If I don't play well, I'm not happy about it, but I learn from it, maybe better and try to take the good from each and every event and move on. I think not dwelling on a bad shot or a bad event might be the difference from maybe last year.

Q: You went to the Bills practice yesterday. Did you suit up like you did with the Capitols or did you take some tosses from Bledsoe?

Mike Weir: No, strictly a spectator. It was fun, though.

Q: You said earlier that you were hopeful that your game is going to come around. Are there certain areas of your game that are not as solid as you'd like them to be right now?

Mike Weir: I'm not quite on top of my game yet. A lot of tournaments I've kind of built myself into the week. The U.S. Open was a prime example where I didn't feel that good in my practice rounds and it got a little bit better Thursday, Friday through Sunday and hopefully that will be the case this week, too.

Q: What did you know about Ben Curtis before the British Open and what did you think about his performance there?

Mike Weir: You know, I didn't know much about Ben before. I had a chance to meet him and his fiancée earlier this week over at IMG, they had a little house over at the British Open where you kind of gather and they had a barbecue. I met him over there and he seemed like a great guy. But I hadn't played with him, didn't know anything about his game until obviously he won the British Open. It's obviously a great story, fantastic that he was able to do that.

Q: With the last four majors going to guy that is winning majors for the first time, is there any thought out there that it's doable now; that at one time it seemed as though everyone was playing for second place behind Tiger and now that attitude seems to have pretty much dissipated; do you agree with that?

Mike Weir: I think golf is just a funny game. It's a fickle game. He was on a great roll for a long time and he still is.

That's just golf. People are going to kind of catch up and that's just the way it is. You know, he was, at the times you said, it did feel for a lot of us like we were playing for second and that's probably how much ahead he probably was at that time. But, you know, he's still, I feel, like the best player out there right now. There's a bunch of us trying to catch him but I still think he's the best player right now. But the gap is probably narrowing just a little bit.

Q: How is it possible that the No. 1 player in the world can't find a driver he likes with all of the technology that's out there now? I mean, you've gone through your searches for clubs and found something you like; it doesn't seem reasonable.

Mike Weir: Well, I have no idea what his ?? the way he's gone about trying to find the driver. I'm not going to even comment on that. I don't know what ?? I'm just not even going to comment on that.

Q: Could you tell me what your upcoming schedule is the next few weeks and are you going to play at the stop in Boston?

Mike Weir: Unfortunately, no, I'm not going to stop in Boston. I'm playing next week in Ohio, skipping Boston, playing the Canadian Open and then taking some time off before THE TOUR Championship.

Q: What kind of preparations have you made for this week's tournament and how does the course sort of fit your eye for your game?

Mike Weir: Well, I think the main thing is to get the ball in the fairway off the tee. Whatever it takes, 3-wood or driver or sometimes long irons, that's first and foremost.

You know, second part of your question, how does it fit my eye? It's good. It's a great golf course. You have to shape the ball a little, left-to-right, right-to-left, it's just very demanding off the tee. That's the main thing, if you can get it in the fairway, you'll probably be all right.

Q: Another two-hole stretch, 5 and 6, getting it off the tee, 5 is one of the tougher ones, the point of entry, and then you have a bit of a break on 6, the par 3; can you talk about that stretch?

Mike Weir: I'm trying to look at 5, trying to remember it. Yeah, 5 is another one of the demanding driving holes out here. You have to keep it in the left-center of the fairway and you're hitting it to a pretty undulating green.

6, a pretty basic par 3, it has about a 6? or 7-iron, but the green is very slopey, so there's three or four pretty good pin spots out there. So two good holes.

Julius Mason: Thanks very much for coming in, Mike.

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