FARMINGTON – Most folks aren’t usually excited to turn 48, but for Utah golfer Mike Weir, turning 48 two months ago, on May 12, was kind of a big deal. It meant that he was eligible to play on the Web.com Tour with exempt status for the next two years.
You might wonder why that would be important to a guy like Weir, who has won eight tournaments on the PGA Tour, including the 2003 Masters, and has pocketed more than $27 million, the 37th most all-time on the PGA Tour.
But for Weir, who has struggled for much of the past decade with a series of injuries and below-par play, it’s exciting as he gears up for a “new chapter” in his golfing career by playing with a bunch of kids half his age.
Weir wants to play on the Champions Tour in 2020 when he turns 50 and join old friends and competitors on the links. By playing on the Web.com Tour, he can keep his game sharp along with his competitive edge. He’s played in four Web.com events before playing Thursday in the first round of the Utah Championship at Oakridge Country Club.
Weir was all smiles after his round Thursday, even though his even-par 71 left him in a tie for 104th place, 10 full shots behind first-day leader Cameron Champ, who shot a career-best 61 at Oakridge Country Club. Weir had his two daughters, Elle, 20, and Lili, 17, following him, not to mention several other friends, and he finished strong.
“I’m really enjoying my golf now — I love to compete still and am having a lot of fun,” he said. “Today wasn’t my best, but I’m enjoying golf maybe more than I ever have.”
A day earlier, Weir had shot “eight- or nine-under par” in a pro-am, but some poor drives cost him some shots on Thursday. He had started poorly, falling to 3-over par through seven holes, but he settled down and played 3-under the rest of the way, including a birdie on the last hole when he hit his approach within six feet.
“I know I’m playing well, I just wasn’t real sharp today, so I wanted to just stay patient and say, ‘hey there’s lots of golf left’ and birdied two of the last three to get it back to even,” he said. “I get out early with the good greens tomorrow and maybe I can shoot a 7 or 8 under and get back in there.”
Weir is the “old man” on the Web.com Tour, where there are few golfers older than 30. He’s eligible under category No. 8 among the 32 categories for determining each week’s field. Three former PGA Tour players ages 48 and 49 are eligible for each Web.com event, and since he has more career earnings than anyone else, he’s always assured of playing whenever he wants.
You’d think it might be a bit demeaning for a former Masters champion to be playing in the “minor leagues” and earning checks for $1,578 as he …read more
Source:: Deseret News – Sports News