The struggles with injuries that have plagued Canadian golfer Mike Weir for the last couple of years have finally caught up with him in a significant way. Last season, due to injuries, Mike finished the year outside of the magic top 125 who gain/keep their fully-exempt status for the following year. Mike was given a special condition by the tour because of the injury, however, and had a certain number of events this season to make the amount of money that was the difference between where Mike finished last year (~150) and where he needed to finish (125) - a sum of roughly $250,000. This weekend's Honda Classic was Mike's last chance to make up the difference, but with only ~10,000 in earnings in the first events of the season, his prospects were grim.
And indeed, in the end, it was not to be. Very very rough first two rounds of the tournament leave Mike in last place at a whopping +22. Nowhere near good enough to make the cut, let alone make it into the top 5, which is where he would have had to finish to take home the money needed.
So what happens now? As I understand it, Mike will lose his fully-exempt status on the tour. He can continue to play on sponsor's exemptions and of course, as a previous winner of the Master's, he will be at Augusta in April. If he can play well enough in the events that are available to him to get into the top 125 by season's end, I believe he will regain his card for next year. Alternatively, he could enter qualifying school later this year to attempt to gain re-entry that way.
But one has to wonder if, with the poor play and the continuing injury challenges, he will pack it in and call it a career. If he did, he would have much to be proud of, including the win at Augusta and stellar representation of the international team at the President's Cup. But I can't help feeling sad about it, both because Mike seems like a nice guy but also because he would leave the game without a Canadian heir apparent. I know, I know, there's Stephen Ames, but for some reason Ames has never been received as warmly by Canadian golf fans as Mike has been. There's something about the way Ames carries himself that has kept Canadians from really being willing to call him "ours."
Anyway, stay tuned, folks. I'm sure that much will be said about Mike Weir in the days to come and his future will become clearer. But for the time being, this golf fan is sad.