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Matt Slocum, AP
Mike Weir, of Canada, hits out of a bunker on the first hole during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament Wednesday, April 8, 2015, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
I’m excited for the year’s first major. There is nothing quite like playing The Masters. That drive down Magnolia Lane each year is so special and everything that is done here is first class. They treat the players so well from the moment you arrive. —Mike Weir

If he wasn’t a former champion with a lifetime exemption, Mike Weir wouldn’t be playing in this week’s Masters, which starts Thursday at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.

Weir, who lives in Sandy, has been struggling this year with a persistent injury to his right elbow, which caused him to miss a lot of time this spring. Before withdrawing from both the Northern Trust and Honda Classic tournaments in February, Weir had made only one cut on the PGA Tour since September.

On his blog, Weir wrote about his injury and how it might affect him this week.

“I wish I could tell you that I’m 100 percent here, but that’s not the case,’’ he wrote. “My arm that started bothering me in Los Angeles is still tender and that is affecting the amount of work I can put in to prepare for the tournament. It’s just not strong enough to do the things I want to do with it.’’

But he also said he’s excited to be at The Masters.

“I’m excited for the year’s first major,’’ he said. “There is nothing quite like playing The Masters. That drive down Magnolia Lane each year is so special and everything that is done here is first class. They treat the players so well from the moment you arrive.’’

Weir will tee off Thursday at 6:18 a.m. MT in a group that includes Canadian amateur Corey Conners and American Ben Crane. On Friday, the threesome tees off 9:25 a.m. MT.

Other Utah golfers who are playing well on the PGA Tour this year — Daniel Summerhays, Tony Finau and Zac Blair — are not eligible to play in The Masters, one of the most exclusive tournaments in the world.

Weir is currently ranked 361st in the world. He lost his PGA Tour status after missing the cut in all 14 tournaments he entered in 2012 and only ranking 174th in the FedEx standings in 2013. He made only nine cuts in 25 tournaments last year, but a second-place finish at the HP Byron Nelson Championship in Texas was enough to regain his full-time status on the PGA Tour.

After missing the cut at Augusta the three previous years, Weir played well last year, starting off 73-72, before finishing in a tie for 44th place with a four-day total of 297.