The week of the Masters has become one big routine for Mike Weir.
He’ll follow the exact same practice schedule as in years past. He’ll attend the champions dinner on Tuesday and participate in the par-3 tournament on Wednesday. And he’ll stay at the same house that he’s been renting for a couple years.
Weir will play in his 10th Masters next week and figures the most important tradition of all is finding time to relax during some of the busiest days of the season.
“I try not to overwork,” he said Tuesday on a conference call.
“I try to get a lot of my work done before I get there because it’s such a long week and such a grind mentally. A lot of guys kind of burn out by wanting to practice so much. You get tired in majors.
“That’s what I’ve learned over the years is that you do your prep work — your real hard practising — the week before you get there and you kind of ease into the week.”
That work is currently being done at Weir’s home base in Utah.
The Masters tends to be won and lost on the tough greens at Augusta National so he’ll be focusing a lot on his putting stroke. A little ingenuity allows him to do that from the comfort of his own home.
“I have some fast carpet in my basement that I’ll be working on quite a bit because those greens are so fast and so different from what we’ve played the last few weeks in Florida,” said Weir.
It’s been a pretty solid start to the season so far.
Weir made the cut in six of seven events and had a good chance to win two of them — finishing second at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and third at the Bob Hope Classic.
Even though most of the pre-tournament focus will be directed at Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, Weir thinks that a number of players could find themselves in the mix.
Defending champion Trevor Immelman and 2007 winner Zach Johnson are each moderate hitters who proved that Augusta is not simply a bomber’s paradise.
That’s been one of the surprising trends to emerge from changes that have seen the course lengthened dramatically over the past decade or so.
“The way the par-5’s have played the last few years, it’s really taken the advantage away maybe from the longer hitters,” said Weir.
“Even for them to go into some of those greens — 13 and 15 in particular — as firm and fast as those greens have gotten, it’s no gimme birdie for them like maybe in years past.”
His own victory during a soggy week in 2003 also proves that the course doesn’t have to be overpowered.
Instead, Weir relied mostly on accuracy from the tee and an impeccable short game to capture the first major ever won by a Canadian male.
While it remains the defining moment of his career, the 38-year-old doesn’t find himself reflecting on it too often.
“I don’t think about any of my wins very much really,” said Weir. “I’m very goal-driven to do what I’m trying to do now. I get little reminders once in a while, when I come down to my workout gym or I’m hitting balls and I’ll see a picture or something that reminds me.”