Mike Weir turns 50 on Tuesday and he planned on spending it quietly at dinner with family and friends, perhaps a hike during the day.
“The interesting thing about professional golf is that you look forward to your 50th birthday instead of dreading it,” said Weir of his coming of age for PGA Tour Champions.
“I’ve been looking forward to this for quite awhile. Things are on hold a bit, but I’m working hard on my game,” he added.
The same coronavirus pandemic that has shut down the PGA Tour Champions schedule for now has also put that tour’s only stop in Canada in jeopardy.
The Shaw Charity Classic is scheduled for Aug. 28-30 at Canyon Meadows Golf and Country Club in Calgary, where all city permits for events through to Aug. 31 are cancelled.
Tournament organizers say they are working with officials, but don’t expect a definitive answer until June. To go along with that, international borders remain closed, as it stands now, and anyone crossing from the U.S. must go into 14 days of isolation.
Whatever happens, the tournament vows to carry on with its renowned charity work, an important factor for Weir, although he holds out hope that it can still be played.
“I’ve heard players rave about the event-such a great field, great community support-so I’m hoping for a chance to get up there and play and get this modified season started,” he said.
Weir’s first PGA Tour victory came in his homeland at the 1999 Air Canada Championship in Vancouver. He took Vijay Singh to a playoff at the 2004 Canadian Open at Glen Abbey before finishing second and three years later won a memorable singles match against Tiger Woods at the Presidents Cup at Royal Montreal.
Also close to his heart are three wins on what was the Canadian Tour.
“I remember a lot of my time playing the Canadian Tour-it’s called PGA Tour Canada now, but back then, the Canadian Tour – playing across the country and playing in some smaller towns and some of the great golf courses that we have across the country and the great scenery,” said Weir, who says he had a clothes rack in the back seat as he lived out of his car in those days.
How things have changed as he arrives on the Champions circuit an eight-time PGA Tour winner and a former Masters champ. He stresses, however, that he can take nothing for granted.
“When you have three rounds and guys are shooting 15, 20 under, you have to get out of the gate fast and be ready to go. It doesn’t mean just because you turn 50 and you’ve had success on the PGA Tour that it’s going to translate to the Champions Tour,” said Weir.
“You have to really put the work in and be ready to go and that’s what I’ve been really trying to concentrate on for quite awhile now, especially the last year.,” he said.
Weir’s last tournament came in mid-February at the Lecom Suncoast Classic in Florida, where he opened with a 70, but followed up with rounds of 68-68-65.
It will be months between tournaments when he finally does get back to competitive play, but Weir says he did take something away from that Korn Ferry Tour event.
“I’ve been trying to work on some of the things I was working on and paying attention to in that event, but all in all, I think we’re all going to be a little rusty when we get back, but there will be somebody who jumps out of the gate,” he said.
Weir has stayed active throughout the pandemic. Golf courses have remained open in Utah where Weir resides, with precautions against coronavirus, and at the beginning, it was a solitary experience.
“I’ve been able to take my golf bag, my little carry bag, and throw about six or seven clubs in there. At the beginning, I was able to go out there by myself to play,” said Weir, adding that as state restrictions eased, he has had company lately.
“The last couple of weeks, I’ve been able to play with some buddies and get out there and have some friendly competition,” he said.
He did take a bit of a break recently, however, when his 50-year-old body sent him some warning signals.
“I just came off taking a week off because I did listen to my body. I’d been working really hard and my back was starting to tell me that it was time to slow down a little bit and I just took a week off,” he said.
“I didn’t swing a club, I didn’t hit a putt, I didn’t hit a chip. I did a lot of stretching and yoga and took my dog on a hike and just tried to keep moving, but not that explosive golf movement that can aggravate the back,” said Weir.
His debut on PGA Tour Champions, turning 50 and the coronavirus pandemic haven’t been the only things on Weir’s mind lately.
His girlfriend Michelle Money’s 15-year-old daughter Brielle suffered a serious head injury in a skateboarding accident at the end of March that required surgery and her being put in a medically induced coma.
The good news is she’s home and on the mend.
“She’s doing very well,” said Weir.
“She’s definitely got a way to go, but where she was to where she is now, she’s doing extremely well. With her therapies, her short term memory is coming back and things are clicking in a little bit more and more all the time,” he said.
“She goes through good days and bad days, but all in all, she’s doing well,” he added.
In a difficult year, it’s refreshing to hear good news with Brielle making progress and maybe, it’s a welcome sign of things to come for the world, with life, businesses and tours safely getting back to work, meaning Weir can finally launch his Champions career.