Yes, it’s been a decade and a half since that seminal Canadian golf moment when Mike Weir donned the green jacket, representative of a victory at The Masters. In doing so he became the first Canadian male to win a major professional golf championship.
While fifteen years is not a massive amount of time in the grand scale of the world, for the average person’s memory, it can be enough for details to diminish greatly.
With the recent move by The Masters to upload the final round broadcasts to their YouTube channel, it gave me time to refresh my own memory about some of the remarkable facts of that day.
Here are eight of them to honour the winner, Mike Weir, and the eight times (so far) that he has won on the PGA TOUR.
On A Roll
The victory at the 2003 Masters was the third of the season for Mike Weir. By the time he reached Augusta that year he had already won the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and the Nissan Open. He would finish 5th on the money list for the season, earning $4,918,910.
The first player you see on the 2003 Masters broadcast is Tiger Woods. At the time he was a three-time winner of the championship and was chasing his third victory in a row at Augusta National. He started the day four shots back of the lead after a 66 on Saturday.
Heading into the final round of the 2003 Masters, Texan Jeff Maggert held a two-stroke lead. It would prove to be a tumultuous day for him. Despite playing sixteen holes really well (-5), he took a quintuple bogey and a triple bogey on the other two on his way to shooting 75. The “mess” included hitting himself with his own golf ball on the 3rd hole in an attempt to extract himself out of a fairway bunker.
While all of Canada and fans of Mike Weir were elated about the final result of the 2003 Masters, the real emotional ramp up came during the third round. At one point on that Saturday Weir held a six-stroke lead. At that time he was 7 under par, the same score that would eventually earn him a spot in the playoff with Len Mattiace.
On the 7th hole during the final round Weir pulled his tee shot into the right tree line. Fortunately, he was able to get relief from casual water that allowed him to be able to hit a shot from 196 yards into the bunker at the front of the green from where he was able to save par.
Here Comes The Rain
It rained so hard early in the week of the 2003 Masters that Thursday’s first round was cancelled, with the tournament actually starting on Friday morning with the players teeing off on both sides of the course. The soggy conditions contributed to a cut line that fell at a lofty +5.
Clutch Putt Needed
After an approach shot of almost 200 yards on the 72nd hole, Mike Weir was left with a lengthy uphill putt to try to win The Masters outright. Unfortunately he left that putt seven feet shy of the hole requiring a pressure-filled putt to secure a spot in a playoff with Len Mattiace. Fortunately Weir did not have to make a similar length par putt to win the sudden death playoff. Mattiace made a double bogey on #10, the first and only extra hole; Weir made his only bogey of the day to win.
Lefties In The Playoff
With the victory Mike Weir became the first left-handed golfer to win the Masters. Len Mattiace, although he plays golf right-handed, is also left-handed. His father switched him to playing from the right side when he was a kid.