When I get here, I don’t, it doesn’t feel that long. But when I’m away from it and not this time of year, the summertime or wintertime, yeah it does feel like a long time. It’s always great to be here though. —Mike Weir
AUGUSTA, Ga. — Mike Weir, who still makes his home in Sandy, is celebrating the 15-year anniversary of his 2003 Masters triumph when he defeated Len Mattiace in a sudden-death playoff.
The 47-year-old has struggled the last several years with a series of injuries and lost his status on the PGA Tour. He missed the cut in 25 straight tournaments and withdrew from five others over the past four years before recently making the cut at a PGA event in the Dominican Republic last month.
“That was my first cut in awhile on the PGA Tour, but I’ve been playing well towards the end of last year and this year,” he said.
Weir said he got a new driver and adjusted it so that he hits more of a fade now.
“It feels very comfortable, so even though it’s a really long golf course you still have to drive the ball well and drive it in the fairway and then hopefully take advantage of the par 5s and long par 4s.”
Weir said he “feels great” and is “really happy with where I’m starting tomorrow” and his 6:52 a.m. (MT) tee time with Brendan Steele and Matt Parziale.
As for the 15 years since he won the green jacket, Weir says sometimes it seems like a long time ago and other times not.
“When I get here, I don’t, it doesn’t feel that long,” he said. “But when I’m away from it and not this time of year, the summertime or wintertime, yeah it does feel like a long time. It’s always great to be here though.”
Weir played well in Wednesday’s Par-3 Contest, finishing at 3-under-par in a tie for seventh place overall.
WATSON WINS PAR-3: The Par-3 Contest was won by none other than two-time champion Tom Watson, who became the oldest winner of the annual event by seven years, at age 68. Watson carded a 6-under-par 21, needing only eight putts as he had a pair of chip-ins for birdies.
Watson defeated a pair of other “Toms” by one shot — England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Belgium’s Thomas Pieters, who both finished at 5-under par.
Watson won’t have to worry about the “curse” of not being able to win the Masters Tournament because he won’t be playing in it this year, having retired from the official competition two years ago. No winner of the Par-3 Contest has ever gone on to win the Masters' main event.
The only official aces in the tournament were made by Utah’s Tony Finau at No. 7 and South Africa’s Dylan Frittelli at No. 8.
Also making a hole-in-one was Jack Nicklaus’ caddy, his grandson, Gary Nicklaus Jr., who made an ace at No. 9.
Afterward, the elder Nicklaus said the moment ranked high on his list of things he’s seen at Augusta over the years.
“Watching your grandson do something, it’s really special,” Nicklaus said. “I got a few tears.”
He also said he had a premonition about it earlier in the week.
“We talked about three days ago, and I said, ‘Do you want to hit the ball on 9?' And he said, ‘Sure.’ I said, ‘Well I think you're going to make a hole‑in‑one.’ That’s what I told him three days ago. It’s his first hole-in-one, and it’s pretty special.”