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Weeks: Weir happy to lend local knowledge to DeLaet

Bob Weeks
4/8/2014 9:25:54 AM
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Monday was almost a complete washout at the Masters and I hate to think what it will cost the fine folks at August National to reimburse all the patrons who only managed two hours of viewing time before the heavens opened and the course was cleared.

If you're keeping track, the last time a practice day was lost to the weatherman was back in 2003, and we all know how that turned out.

Monday's rain fell for a long time and it was punctuated with some great lightning and thunder exhibitions. Our TSN crew wasn't even allowed on the grounds to tape our segments, forced to wait it out for six hours in the international broadcast centre, tucked away behind the Par 3 course.

Meanwhile, Canada's two participants this week were passing the time in different ways.

Graham DeLaet, making his maiden voyage in this major, was enjoying a cribbage tournament at one of the homes he's rented here. Rowdy friends from Saskatchewan in one house (might we see the first Melonhead at Augusta?), he and his family in the other.

Mike Weir, making his 15th start at Alister MacKenzie's masterpiece, managed to play nine holes before the storms and pronounced himself in good form.

"I've been playing pretty well," he said, after touring the back nine alongside Jason Day and reigning British Amateur champion Garrick Porteous. "I just haven't been scoring well. The last month, I've felt very good about my game – I just haven't gotten the ball in the hole."

Of course, Weir plays with a little more spring in his step around this course, drawing on the memories of his 2003 win.

"It's special any time you come here," said Weir, who has missed the cut in his last three starts at the Masters. "You just kind of soak in the good feelings of the essence of the game."

Tuesday morning, the Canadians will head out together, like Master Po and Grasshopper, Weir hoping to lend his local knowledge to the first-timer DeLaet.

"He has all the power in the world and his short game has really rounded into form the last couple of years," said Weir, analyzing DeLaet's game. "I think this course really sets up well for him. He's such a great driver of the ball and it's an underrated fact that people don't talk about too much, driving the ball around Augusta National and I think it's a real key if you can get that ball in the short grass. With his power, I think he can really do well here."

Weir acknowledged that while he and DeLaet have chatted casually a few times already, it's been mostly about off-course stuff – how the tournament is run, what to expect at the gates and that sort of thing. During their round, he'll offer details about slopes on greens, where to miss and maybe even point out the former location of the Eisenhower Tree, which met its end in a wood chipper in February.

Weir has never had the opportunity to mentor a young Canadian at the Masters, which may say a great deal about the status of golf north of the 49th over the past decade or so. He's been the lone guy with the Maple Leaf on his bag since 2010 when Stephen Ames no longer qualified.

But Tuesday, under what appears to be sunny skies with warming temps, he'll get that chance. He's only too happy to help, although he'll still be hoping to grab some of that magic from this place for his own.




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