Will Weir Split Bring New Life To His Game?

What’s wrong with Mike Weir? It is a question posed often of late, especially since his decline in play after winning The Masters just a short few years ago.

Injuries have hampered the Ontario lefty some but even when healthy he appears to be struggling with his consistency. Of course he is not the first, and certainly won’t be the last professional golfer to get into a “slump” but there is a certain special magnitude to his problems. Canadians do not have a lot of golf heroes and even fewer that have ever been within the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings on a regular basis.

That being said, nobody feels the pressure to stay at the top of the sport more than Weir himself and thus he has decided to make a change to his team heading into the 2007 season.

It is a major one too as he will no longer be working with Mike Wilson, the same coach who groomed him all the way from the Canadian Tour to the top echelons of the sport.

Will this be a step forward or drive Weir even deeper into a hole?

Who knows but the decision to change coaches (for now at least) has been made.

“Mike and I have enjoyed a lot of success during our time working together, but I think there are times in your career when a new perspective and a fresh set of eyes can be a productive thing,” said Weir of Wilson. “I’m heading into the off-season, an important time to accomplish goals in preparation for next season, so if a change was to be made, now was the right time. Mike has played an important role in my career over the past decade, and I’d like to thank him for all of his valuable contributions to my career.”

Weir will be working with Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer, a pair of teaching professionals headquartered in Philadelphia. The two teachers instruct four first-time winners on the PGA Tour – Aaron Baddeley, Dean Wilson, Will McKenzie and Eric Axley.

Weir is scheduled to join Tiger Woods, Geoff Ogilvy and Jim Furyk later this month in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf at the Poipu Bay Golf Course and Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa in Hawaii. He will replace Master Champion Phil Mickelson in the field.

Weir and Jim Rutledge will then represent Canada at the 2006 World Golf Championships – Barbados World Cup December 7-10 at The Country Club Course in St. James, Barbados.

The change comes at a key time for Weir. Not only does he have the aforementioned events to get ready for, it would seem a shame if he were not in Montreal next fall as part of the International squad competing for the President’s Cup. It was he and Tim Finchem who announced the event coming to that site during a press conference in 2005. Whether he is a sentimental favourite or not, no team captain wants a struggling player in his midst, even if they happen to have been born north of the 49th parallel.

Whatever the case, in true good guy fashion expect the lines of communication to remain open between Wilson and Weir – they have just been through too much together. And if things don’t work out with Plummer and Bennett, I wouldn’t be surprised if you see the duo reunite. As much as the new guys might bring a fresh perspective there is usually no substitute for the “girl you brought to the dance”.

Chasing the prom queen usually brings nothing but heartache but maybe this is the way Weir can find his way to get his own crown back.

One thing is for sure – all of Canada eagerly awaits the outcome.

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