The PGA Championship

An Interview With: Mike Weir

August 14, 2003

Julius Mason: Mike Weir, ladies and gentlemen, firing a 2-under par at the 85th PGA Championship.

Mike, some opening thoughts and we'll go through your card and Q&A, please.

Mike Weir: Basically my round, I felt like what held me in there for a good round was driving the ball. I drove it well today. I hit all but I think two fairways. I believe I missed No. 5 and No. 9 fairway. I hit the rest of them. From there, at least you have a chance.

Going through my card quickly, I chipped in on No. 3 from just in front of the green out of the short grass; not out of the long grass. I had a fairly straightforward chip up the hill.

No. 4 was a lucky one. I hit my third shot over the back of the green and was in some really heavy rough and just took a slash at it, it happened to go in.

And then the fifth hole, I did miss the fairway by about a foot and had to lay up and made a bogey.

7, my bogey there, I hit a good drive and a 4-iron that plugged in the bunker. Didn't get that up-and-down.

Made a 10-footer on 8 for birdie.

All the way through the back, all pars, until 15, I hit a 6-iron to about 12 feet and made that one.

I had a couple chances on the last three, 16, 17 and 18. But overall, it was a good day.

Q. Can you describe the shot on 4 behind the green, it looked like you popped up to look at the line and then couldn't find the ball?

Mike Weir: It went into the grass, and the way it was laying over, it went right underneath. So when you are right on top of it, you couldn't see it. You could only see it from an angle. It was buried. Is it was really, really buried.

I did a lot of work this week around the greens, practicing a little bit different technique, trying to find a way to hit those type of shots out of the deep stuff, and figured out a way. You're not expecting to make those, but I thought I could maybe get that within, eight, ten feet which I thought would have been a pretty good shot out of there with the lie, but it came out perfect. It was one that I got lucky.

Q. Do those greens look good to your eye? You seemed to be pushing putts three or four feet past the hole?

Mike Weir: Above the hole, they are quick. The last few holes, well, 16 and 18 in particular, I was a little bit above the hole but not too much. You know, sure enough, they run three, four, five feet by in a hurry. But I'm used to giving Brennan heart attacks. I'm always running them by, it seems like.

Q. Your thoughts on 17 and 18, those are the two holes that are supposed to give the guys a lot of difficulty this week, and you played them fairly well today.

Mike Weir: Yeah, I was happy with the way I played them. I hit a nice drive on 17. Still had a 5-wood in. I had 244 yards to the hole. That's a real tough hole and almost made birdie there. I hit a good drive on 18 and hit a 5-iron from 193 yards, I believe.

So two real difficult finishing holes to finish up. Today at least I played them well. Hopefully I can the rest of the week. But they are solid holes.

Q. You had a pretty good save at 9, how important was it to keep it going?

Mike Weir: That was a nice putt to get some momentum going or keep the momentum going, because I kind of stalled. After making those two chip-ins on 3 and 4, I came back with a bogey, and then to come back with a birdie on 8, I didn't want to give it right back again. That was a nice putt there to go to the back nine.

Q. 12 feet?

Mike Weir: It was probably 15 feet.

Q. Is it a given that whoever wins this week is going to have to make a ton of up-and-downs from around the green, from bad lies, from 70 yards away? It looked as though you had to do that six or seven times today.

Mike Weir: You know, I did it twice. I only missed a couple fairways, so I only really had to save myself a couple times, on 9, which I did, and 5, which I didn't.

You're going to have some of those. I mean, you're right, the player who does do well around the greens, inside of 100 yards, you're going to have to be pretty sharp this week.

Q. You said outside that you are looking for something yesterday and you seemed to begin to find it last night. Can you explain a little bit what you were looking for and what you found?

Mike Weir: Well, I've just been a little off with my alignment. My alignment has just been a little bit poor.

So, I don't know why, I just can't seem to set up correctly on the right line. That's just been a problem of mine the last couple of weeks. Today I started to feel more comfortable, where I was aiming. Where I was aiming I felt like I was aiming way left. It's good to have my coach there to reaffirm, to say, no, you're aimed correctly. I guess I was aimed so far off before, that what is normal didn't seem right to me. But I started to feel more comfortable and hit some good shots out there, and started to feel more comfortable aligning it.

Q. What was your ball doing?

Mike Weir: It's a little bit of both, kind of hanging it out to the left and drawing it a little bit too much sometimes. It's just that there wasn't much of a pattern there.

Q. How well is this course set up for a left-handed player such as yourself, and are the pin placements what is making everybody struggle out there so early in the tournament?

Mike Weir: Well, the first part of your question, I think just any player that's driving it well, I wouldn't say a left-hander or a right-hander, it doesn't matter. A player who is in control of his ball out there is going to play well. You can't play out of the rough here.

As far as left-handed goes, 17 and 18, you have to draw a little bit. There's a lot of holes you have to fade it out there, as well. So you have it all.

As far as putting, there's some really good pins out there today. I think that's, maybe your question of why there are not a lot of putts being made, there's some tough pins.

Q. Players of moderate length have won the first three majors. Is that reflective of the setups of those golf courses for those majors or is it just a coincidence of those players playing particularly well that given week?

Mike Weir: I think, you know, it's probably a little bit of both. I think the setup has something to do with it.

For me at Augusta, the golf course played very long, it did. But my wedge game was very good and I drove it well and I putted great. So anybody who is really putting well is going to have a chance any week, and I happened to be really hot with the putter.

Going to Jim at the U.S. Open, the course is a little firm, balls are running out there, length was not a huge factor there. You have to hit it in the fairway.

Same with this week, you have to hit it in the fairway. That's still bottom line, no matter how far you are hitting it, you have to be hitting fairways.

Q. How much more difficult do you expect this course to get over the next three days as it dries out?

Mike Weir: It will get more difficult as it dries out. Balls that are slightly curving and they hold in the fairway because it's soft, those ones will start to hop into the rough. The ball will start to run out on the greens. Right now it's kind of take dead aim at the pin and the ball is stopping close to the pin. As the sun and a little bit of breeze, the greens start to firm up and dry up, the pin placements will get more difficult, the greens will get firmer, putting will be more difficult. That's just the evolution of a golf course during a major championship. It keeps getting more difficult as the week goes on.

Q. You said you were having some back problems. I assume you felt pretty good today?

Mike Weir: Yeah, I felt okay. It's still a little bit tight but I think the more I play, I kind of -- I just need to keep it warm, so it's nice that it's so warm and muggy out there for me right now. It's feeling okay.

Q. On No. 9, you drove into the rough. I think you just had to pitch up. Was it just one of those terrible lies you just had to take your medicine on? How bad was the lie on the approach?

Mike Weir: On 9, yeah. I don't think you'll see any player be able to reach the green from out of the rough. Just any lie you get in there is just very thick and very wet. So you know when you miss the fairway off the tee, it's going to be that; you're laying up, basically. Bottom line.

Q. You're one of the better putters on TOUR, you missed a few short; were the greens like you thought they would be?

Mike Weir: The greens were good. I didn't leave any short, I don't believe. I putted well today. Made a lot of putts, made a lot of putts inside of eight feet and rolled the ball well.

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

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