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April 13, 2003

Mike Weir


BILLY PAYNE: Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure on behalf of Augusta National golf club to introduce our 2003 champion in his fourth Masters appearance, Mr. Mike Weir. Mike, congratulations.

MIKE WEIR: Thank you very much. Well, what do I say? It was an incredible day. I couldn't ask to play much better. To go bogey-free at Augusta National on Sunday. I can't ask for anything more. Once it all soaks in I'll realize how special it is. And it was just a gut-wrenching day. A lot of comeback putts that I needed to make and was able to make them. To do that coming down the stretch knowing what a great score Len's had today, that's what I'm really proud of. I wouldn't wish that last putt on 18 on anybody. That's as nerve wracking as it gets. And I was lucky to get it in the hole and happy to get it in the hole. So a great day.

Q. What's your size?

MIKE WEIR: I think it's 40 regular. 42 regular.

Q. 42 regular?


Q. Has Wayne Gretzky called you yet?

MIKE WEIR: No, I haven't spoken with him. I just spoke with Mr. Chretien and right now, though.

Q. Have you mentioned the Detroit Red Wings are your favorite team?

MIKE WEIR: Well, hopefully it's Deja Vu from last year. They had a tough year.

Q. Do you own any green jackets? And if not, how do you feel about wearing one right now?

MIKE WEIR: I don't own a green jacket. I was hoping some day this would be my first one. And I'm glad to be wearing it right now, believe me.

Q. Do you know Bob Charles personally?

MIKE WEIR: Yes, I had a chance to play a practice round with Mr. Charles at Royal Lytham when we played the British Open there a couple years ago and that's where he won his Open Championship and I was able to play a practice round with him there. We had a great day and he's a great gentleman, obviously. I know he would be pretty happy today as well.

Q. Let's go back to Chicago a few years ago where you're in the final group with Tiger and obviously shooting 80 wasn't what you had in mind. Looking back at that, looking where you are now, how does it make you feel?

MIKE WEIR: A lot of hard work's gone in since that PGA Championship. That was summer of '99, so in three years I won five tournaments leading into -- that's kind of set me up for this week. And a lot of experience along the way worked a lot on my swing, my game to tighten that up. Make it more consistent. My putting I worked on that very hard. And that was the difference today. I made literally all my putts inside of eight feet today. And at the PGA that year I don't think I made one of them. That was the difference this week. All week I putted fantastic.

Q. And just as a follow up, the emotional side I suppose rather than the physical side?

MIKE WEIR: Well, yes, obviously it was very difficult day for me then, but at the same time I did observe how Tiger managed his victory there. And the clutch putt, I remember he made on 17 and how he really stayed with his game and so I took a lot in that day even though it was a tough day for me, I still took a lot of positives out of there.

Q. Earlier this year you talked about how last year you actually felt you had let the Canadians down. What do you say now?

MIKE WEIR: This win is a win for me and my family, but it is a big win for Canadian golf and the fans that have been very supportive of me. I think that's why I made those comments, because the fans have been really supportive and I felt like I kind of let them down last year. I didn't play very well at all, and I was very motivated to, not only for myself, but for those reasons as well to come out and play well this year. I still feel like I obviously exceeded my expectations of what I thought I was going to do at the beginning of the year. Hopefully I would be in contention in some of these things and pull them off. But to gather such momentum early this year and I've been able to keep it going.

Q. For those of us who aren't familiar with your story, what is it like growing up a Canadian golfer? Who do you root for?

MIKE WEIR: I was really just a summer golfer until I went to university at Brigham Young University. I would play hockey through the winter and fall and spring and then play golf in the summer. Spring and summer and fall a little bit. But it was just kind of a seasonal sport and I didn't grind too hard in the off season. So I did hit balls. My dad put a net in our garage to hit balls into this net. And we would fish the balls out of the pond at my golf course and save those.

So on a decent day in the winter we would go pound them out into the lake. I grew up on Lake Huron. We would hit them in the lake there. So that was the extent of my golf really. In the winter time there wasn't very much.

Q. Is your father a Scot? Did he come from Scotland and has his influence, is that what really got you into golf in the first place?

MIKE WEIR: Well, yes, his roots are Scottish. Yes. And he introduced me to the game and got me started in the game. He got me my first set of clubs. And my dad's a 18, 20 handicap. He loves the game. I think I took -- what I did take from my dad is just a little bit of the calmness. He's just such a calm, even-keeled guy that I was actually thinking about that today when I was walking around out there I saw my dad. He just looks gone. And it kind of calmed me down.

Q. Reflect for a minute on the years when you were going through the Canadian Tour and Australia and five times trying to get your card. Some of the positive things that kept you going. Because some people might not have kept going because it was a long road, really?

MIKE WEIR: Yeah, it was a long road. I mean it took me six years to even get on the tour out of college. And those times missing Q school and overseas and playing overseas and the commitment that that takes not only for myself, my family, my wife. It's a lot of time away, even though she did travel with me before we had kids, caddied at odd times.

And it's an unbelievable progression that I've finally gotten here, but I think even back then I believed I that would I get here somehow. I would figure it out. My golf swing wasn't very good back then and I knew I would kind of figure out a way to do that and overhaul that.

Q. They raised a question earlier about the Bob Charles question. But just for the record, can you make a statement about the significance of this for left-handed golfers?

MIKE WEIR: Well, it's been a long time since Mr. Charles won a Major. So it's the first time in a long time. Phil's been close obviously in the last few years. But there's other lefties out there that are coming up. There's five other guys I believe on tour that have their cards and are good players and there will be more to come.

Q. But you broke through. You're the guy that broke through in our era.

MIKE WEIR: Right. It's great. I am a left-handed golfer, but when I'm out there I don't think of myself like that. I'm a golfer. It's a great win for me.

Q. In the tour book it says that at 13 you asked Nicklaus if you should change to right-handed. Are you a right-handed thrower or writer?

MIKE WEIR: I'm mixed up. I write with my right hand, play racket sports with my right, but I throw with my left, serve tennis with my left and play with my right. But I did write to him when I was, yeah, 13 and he wrote back and said stick to your natural swing and I still have that letter in my office. We have kind of reminisced about that letter, Jack and I. So it's a neat little story.

Q. Walk us through the 18th green. That must have been quite a frightful experience, and then through the shots at the playoff hole.

MIKE WEIR: Yes, you know, I had, I believe, 195 yards to the hole from the fairway up the hill. So I had a 4-iron into the green. Which is no easy task. And I was trying to hit a low shot to land it below and run up there. The other day I landed a 4-iron on the top and it ran over the back of the green. I didn't want to have that downhill putt today so I thought if I could hit one low and run up there and by the sound of the crowd it sounds like it almost got up there and came back down and then I really watched Jeff's putt closely. He was a little bit further right, which the slope is not quite as severe on that side where I was putting from on the left. It's higher there. But I did watch his putt and he gave it a pretty good rap, it looked like, and I thought I did too. I was really surprised to see it come up that far short. That's a really difficult putt to judge and really happy to make that one, obviously, to get into the playoff.

Q. Leading up to this tournament, there's been some talk about everything except for golf. You come in here and everybody talks about Tiger winning, but you're a left-handed golfer winning, a Canadian golfer winning, does that kind of sum up this Masters Tournament? It's been kind of odd.

MIKE WEIR: Yeah, it's been obviously a little bit odd with obviously a bunch of things going on, and outside the gates, the facility. And with the weather and everything, it's just been a little bit of a hectic week. But I didn't pay much attention to that. I was here to play a golf tournament. Once I was inside the ropes I wanted to be very focused and was able to do that.

Q. On the back nine, Mattiace got up by a couple. Did you look at the leaderboard a couple of times? And kind of walk us through your position there.

MIKE WEIR: The first time I saw it, I heard a big roar. I hit my tee shot on 13. And I saw that Len, I believe, made an eagle somewhere.

Q. Eagle at 13?


Q. 15?

MIKE WEIR: 15, he made eagle. 16, maybe I saw it. That's what I saw when he got to 8 under, was 16. I was on 13. And I was on the green, I had a very difficult putt. My ball ran over the back of the green, went on the upslope and stayed there, hung up. So I had a tough putt, kind of down and back up and over. And I ran it 15 feet by. I told Brennan, I said we really need to get this thing in here. I really got my eyes out where I needed to get them and really focused on that putt and hit it perfectly. I hit the put solid. That was my concentration. And it just went right into the middle and that was a big putt right there. I knew I needed to get that one in. And then coming in, the last few holes are difficult. A few good ones I made there.

Q. A lot of effort led up to that moment on the 10th green, the playoff hole. What was it like out there? How did it feel and once it happened, I think your dad was out there, I'm not sure, but who else did you hug out there? Why was it important that they were there for you as well?

MIKE WEIR: Absolutely it was important that they were there. The feeling really was intense pressure for sure. But I saw the difficulty Len was in and I still needed to do my job and try to make that putt. But definitely two putt it. Len's's such a great putter, even though he was kind of behind the tree and hit it whatever, 25 feet or whatever, the odds of him making that putt were probably pretty good. He shot 65 today. And I wanted to bear down. On my first putt I thought I hit a good one. I was surprised by how far that ran by. And Len's putt was fast too.

The shadows from the trees were just coming across the green and it's tough to really pick up little subtlties and breaks there. But after obviously after he missed his bogey putt I wanted to finish it off in style. But luckily it didn't run too far past.

Q. The people you hugged, who were they?

MIKE WEIR: Well, I can't even remember. Well, obviously, my wife. And my dad, my brother, Jim, and my agent, Dan. He ran out there. And I believe that was it.

Q. Two things, Mike. You talked yesterday about what you would go over last night after a rough day yesterday. What was that like?

MIKE WEIR: I remember what you asked me last night about my iron shots. Really the difficulty was my iron shots. And I didn't want to put too much stock into it because I was feeling -- I was really fatigued last night. I think the week took its toll and my legs were really cramping I got back to the room and put my legs up sat in a hot bath and slept probably almost 10 hours last night. I was just beat. I felt much better when I woke up today. So I knew my legs would be fresher, probably my iron shots felt more stable over the ball when I was hitting my approach shots, and it paid off. I hit much better iron shots so I think that's what the problem was yesterday.

Q. On Tuesday after your practice round you came out and didn't sound too happy. The course was playing too long, you thought, and you weren't crazy about the conditions. How do you explain what happened this week?

MIKE WEIR: Well I knew the golf course was long but I still felt like I had a chance. I felt like my wedge play was very good. I wasn't hitting on all cylinders early in the week and possibly the delay until Friday may have helped me a little bit, to get a little bit extra time in, a little extra work. I think it probably did help me a little bit.

Q. A little bit off the beaten path, when you consider how great you played today and the good things that did happen to you, can you talk a little bit about the contrasting day that your playing partner had today and that early break out of the bunker and going through that?

MIKE WEIR: Well, it's difficult to watch. Jeff conducted himself very well out there even under difficult circumstances. You don't wish that on anybody. And the ball came back and hit him and he made a double bogey and hung in there really well. Came back and then caught a bad break on 12. He hit the shot too long, but then it was in a bad spot in the bunker. It looked like a spot where maybe someone that was in there before didn't do a very good job raking it. I don't know. But it looked like the ball was sitting down and obviously from there he hit a poor shot into the water and then he came right back.

He birdied 14, 15, 16, I believe. And finished it off really strong. He's got to be proud of that. Unfortunately, that's this tournament. Things like that seem to happen sometimes. It's just the phenomenon of Augusta National.

Q. Does that give you an idea about the fine line there is here?

MIKE WEIR: I was saying that last night the fine line between a very good shot to one where it could be a potential disaster is a very fine line. You get the little subtle gusts of winds that you get out there. It's just so tricky out there. It's crazy.

Q. Did anyone bring to your attention or did you read or see the comments from Phil when he was asked who he thought the next left-hander to win a Major would be?

MIKE WEIR: I haven't, no. What was that?

Q. He said --

MIKE WEIR: I'm sure he said himself.

Q. He said I think we all know the answer to that question.

MIKE WEIR: Well, yeah, I'm sure, you know, he's obviously confident in himself and I'm sure he believed he was going to win today.

Q. Have you discussed it, you and Phil, about, either facetiously or not, who might be the first-left hander to break the mold?

MIKE WEIR: No, we've never talked about it.

Q. Is this the best you've ever putted, particularly from 8 feet? And if there was one particular key stroke today anywhere or key shot, where would it be?

MIKE WEIR: It probably was the best I putted definitely inside of 10 feet the best I've putted. And it was a key putt, obviously. On 18 that was a big putt. But probably that putt on 13. I think that was crucial. To miss an opportunity, I had a 4-iron into the green to miss that opportunity. To make a birdie there would have been really tough to come back from. Three shots back. On those last few holes there.

Q. Can you just talk a little bit about how many times in your life you have heard you're standing on the wrong side of the ball? And also can you say something to the left-handed golfers who have had to endure the wisecracks from right-handers?

MIKE WEIR: You're a lefty, right?

(Laughter.) Well, now you have some ammo to give them when you're on the tee.

(Laughter.) I think back even when I was starting out junior golf the equipment issue was a bit of a factor. That was a tough thing. Now it's not an issue. I think you'll see more left-handed golfers. The fathers of the past changing their sons to right-handed I think is no longer an issue anymore. So I think you'll see a lot more lefties out there.

Q. Speaking of the lefty thing, what do you remember about that Canadian Skins game on Prince Edward Island when you were with Couples and they were giving you grief about being left-handed?

MIKE WEIR: I don't remember them giving me grief, I don't remember that. I remember them, those guys, I was just a rookie on the Tour, then I was, and Mark had just won I believe, I know he won The Masters that year. I don't know if it was after the British Open, the Skins, or not. But anyways, those guys, Mark and Fred and John Daly were very encouraging to me even though I was just a rookie out there. And that meant a lot to me. And they're great guys and that was a pretty special week, actually.

Q. Didn't they ask you to hit the ball right-handed?


BILLY PAYNE: Mike, why don't you go over your scorecard and then we'll take a couple more questions.

MIKE WEIR: Okay. The card. I hit a drive and a 7-iron I believe to the back of the green on 1 and 2-putted.

2, I hit a drive. The wind kind of came back into our face on 2 and I had a little too far to get to the green so I laid it up to 95 yards, hit a sand wedge to three feet. I made that. Or two feet.

3, I hit a 5-wood and a pitching wedge to about 20 feet and two putted.

4, I hit a 4-iron short of the green or just left of the pin maybe 30 feet and ran that putt probably -- I forgot about that one -- I ran that putt about eight feet by and made that coming back.

5, I hit it in the fairway bunker, hit it short of the green, chipped up to three feet, made that par.

6, I hit a great shot in there to about three and a half, four feet. And made that one.

7, I drove it right, hooked a 3-iron into the front bunker, hit it out to about a foot.

8, hit a good drive, a 3-wood left, pitched it short of the green. Hit a great little pitch shot up and over the hill to about five feet and made that one.

9, hit a really good drive and a 9-iron to maybe 12 feet, 15 feet and just missed that one on the right side.

10, I hit a good drive in the fairway and a 6-iron, I believe, maybe 40 feet short of the hole. 2-putted that.

11, I hit a very good drive and an 8-iron. It was the best drive probably I hit all week. A drive and an 8-iron to about 15 feet and grazed that right over the hole.

12, I hit an 8-iron to the left fat side of the green. I remember Jack Nicklaus hitting it over there. I said, I'm not attacking that pin, keep it over to the left. So I learned something from Jack, from the Masters there. I made a nice 2-putt, ran that one two feet, four feet by, made it coming back.

13, hit it around the corner, 4-iron over the green, ran it 15 feet by and made that coming back.

14, hit a good drive, but I was on a little bit of a side slope, a difficult pin for me as a lefty to get at. And with a ball above your feet, trying to hit a cut to a left pin, I caught the slope and ran down about 50 feet and made a nice 2-putt there. Maybe about a five-footer for my second putt there.

15, hit a drive to the left in the rough, I had no option there out of the rough. I hit an 8-iron up and over the trees. Hit a nice wedge from 91 yards, I believe, sand wedge, to about four feet. Made that.

Hit a 6-iron into 16 to about 10 feet above the hole curler. Kind of nursed it down there and it didn't go in. Didn't hit the greatest putt there. And I tapped in there.

17, a good drive in the fairway again and an 8-iron, 40 feet, almost made it but ran by about four feet. Made it coming back.

And then 18 a good drive, 4-iron into the middle front part of the green, 45 feet, rolled it up there six, seven feet and made it.

BILLY PAYNE: Two more questions, ladies and gentlemen. On the end, sir.

Q. My two questions, if I might, could you just relate your conversation with Mr. Chretien?

MIKE WEIR: My conversation? Well he said he's in the Dominican Republic right now so he was sitting there with the President of the Dominican Republic and he said they were watching and he was jumping up-and-down and his wife was jumping up-and-down and he said they were very excited. And he said he was very proud of me, obviously, and it was just real nice of him to think to call me.

Q. The other thing was in the fullness of time do you realize that you've probably done something that people in our country will remember for a long, long time?

MIKE WEIR: It's tough to grasp that right now, but I know it's pretty special, that's for sure.

Q. You never won a Major before, but you had other wins, what do you do to celebrate?

MIKE WEIR: I don't know. We'll find out in a little bit. But I know that we have a dinner tonight. And I'll enjoy that. My wife's here, she just flew in today. I'm thrilled to have her here to share this with me. I have my dad here. Unfortunately, my mom's not here. She had a little stress fracture in her foot and has a cast on and wasn't able to come down. But mom, I love you, and if you're watching, we'll see you soon. They're coming up for Easter to our house. So I'll just spend time with my family tonight I'm sure.

Q. How about the girls?

MIKE WEIR: They didn't come, no.

BILLY PAYNE: Ladies and gentlemen I know you join us in congratulating Mr. Mike Weir, 2003 Masters champion.

End of FastScripts....

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