Weir expects Tiger Woods to return to golf

Mike Weir expects his friend Tiger Woods to return to the PGA Tour sooner than later.


“My guess is he’ll be back for the Masters,” Weir said Friday. “I’m hoping he’s back for the majors. They’re at such great venues this year. Courses he’s obviously done very well on. I heard Jack (Nicklaus) talking about that the other day that it would be a big year for him to kinda get closer to Jack’s (record of 18 major titles) with the venues they’re at.

“But more than that, myself being a competitor, I want to see him there,” the 2003 Masters champion continued. “When I’m playing the majors and trying to win them, you want the best guy there to compete against. Selfishly I want him there for that and I think the Tour does. Obviously they want him back. It’s good when he’s around.”

Weir, speaking during a conference call from his home in Draper, Utah, said he hasn’t talked to Woods since having “reached out to him” in late November.

Woods, the world’s No. 1-ranked player and winner of 15 majors, crashed his SUV into a tree outside his Florida home in the early hours of Nov. 27 after what’s believed to have been an argument with wife, Elin Nordegren, the mother of the couple’s two children, upon discovering his infidelity.

The ensuing days and weeks saw myriad allegations of affairs come to light and Woods has taken an indefinite leave from the Tour to focus on his family matters. He wasn’t been seen in public since the accident.

“I guess he’s been unavailable,” Weir said.

Weir, who starts his season with next week’s Bob Hope Classic in La Quinta, Calif., is somewhat bewildered by the comments of some players who figure they can take advantage of Woods’s absence in attempt to dominate the Tour and even knock him from top spot in the world rankings, where he’s been for the last 240 consecutive weeks.

Geoff Ogilvy of Australia, prior to winning last week’s season opening SBS Championship in Hawaii, told reporters that No. 1 might be up for grabs this year, arguably more so when Woods was sidelined nine months following his victory at the 2008 U.S. Open while recovering from knee surgery. Woods returned to win five times in 2009.

“A lot of guys will be thinking ‘Here is my year,’ ” said Ogilvy.

“I don’t get the argument that someone is going to sneak up and all of a sudden take the bull by horns,” said Weir. “It could happen and hopefully I can do it, but it’s hard to do. It’s hard to win 8, 9, 10 times. I don’t know what other players are thinking, but I never look at it as an opportunity when he’s out. For me, you want to play the best and win when he’s there.

“He brings the best out of everybody else, especially in major championships,” Weir said. “Would guy like Y.E. Yang pull off all those shots (to beat Woods at the PGA Championship) if he was playing somebody else in the field in the last round? You don’t know. Maybe it brought out the best in him that day.

“I know he brought the best out of me when I played him in Montreal,” said Weir, referring to his dramatic victory over Woods in their singles match at the 2007 Presidents Cup at Royal Montreal.

Weir will be looking for his first Tour victory since 2007, when he ended the season with win at the Fry’s Electronics Open. After the Bob Hope, he’ll take a week off and play three consecutive weeks, the Northern Trust Open, AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, and the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

He plans to attend the second week of the Vancouver Olympics following the match play, taking in the Games as “just” a fan.

“The Olympics were here in Salt Lake City eight years ago. We had a great time, but my kids were really young and don’t remember much about it, so I just want to go up there and enjoy it,” he said

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