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From zero to hero and back again.

In 2003, Mike Weir denied Tiger Woods of a hat-trick of consecutive wins at Augusta National. Suddenly, he had enjoyed the ‘best moment’ of his career.

Shortly after slipping on the green jacket, though, Weir felt the immediate pressure of becoming a Masters champion.

Despite his best efforts to cope with the ‘ultimate feeling’, perceptions changed, pressure intensified, and expectations shot up.

“I tried not to change, but perceptions do, and your time can get taken away,” Weir told bunkered.

“You can never be prepared for what happens after you win a major championship, I was coming up through all these tours and my goal was to make a career out of golf.

“I kept getting better than I ever thought I could and next thing I’m a major champion, but that’s not why you get into it.

“Sometimes I handled it well and other times I didn’t.”

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Weir, a former mini tour player, turned professional in 1992 and won three times on the Canadian Professional Golf Tour.

He first reached the PGA Tour in 1998 but soon lost his playing privileges and was forced to re-qualify through Q-School for the following season.

Preparations for the shock Masters success couldn’t have gone any better. Following a Tour Championship triumph in 2001 was wins at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and Nissan Open in 2003.

Weir tied for third at the U.S. Open in June and won a second Nissan Open title in 2004, but then went over three and a half years without another tour success.

It was a level of golf that the Ontario-born golfer could not keep up.

“From the outside there is a pressure to play that way all the time,” the 53-year-old said.

“Being the guy from Canada, nobody has ever done that before. I think my own and other expectations were that it would continue and for a while it did.

“But then I went through a dip, tore an extensor tendon in my elbow and my game fell apart.”

“I wanted to continue being one of the best players in the world and contending in majors, so when you don’t win another one it can be frustrating.

“I don’t think that’s different for any player, sometimes that time can get in the way.”

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It was in 2010 that Weir returned to work with instructor Mike Wilson, although the severe elbow injury brought his season to an early close.

Whilst playing on a major medical exemption, Weir struggled to make cuts and lost significant status on the Tour, as he watched his form and world ranking plummet to an all-time low.

But as he prepares for another drive down Magnolia Lane as a past Masters champion, Weir has learned to appreciate that moment, 21 years on.

“There were some low points as the years wore on,” Weir said.

“My expectations and not meeting those expectations was very tough. But as I’ve got older, I’ve learned to accept that this game is very difficult.

“To be able to experience that one time in your life is incredible. I have the utmost respect for guys like Nicklaus and Tiger, who have won multiple majors.

“It’s very hard to do that and have your mind in that place.

“My career started very slow and then hit a peak before a lot of things happened and I struggled for a long time, but that’s life sometimes.

“It’s not always ascending; it’s got peaks and valleys. My game is in a better place and my life is in a better place, personally, too.”

To read the full interview, check out the April issue of bunkered, available now! Click here to subscribe.

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John Turnbull A graduate of the University of Stirling, John joined the bunkered team in 2023 as a Content Producer, with a responsibility for covering all breaking news, tour news, grassroots content and much more besides. A keen golfer, he plays the majority of his golf at Falkirk Golf Club. Top of his 'bucket list' is a round of Pebble Beach... ideally in the company of Gareth Bale.

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