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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Long Day for Mike Weir

Monday was the day for U.S. Open Qualifying. All over the country (and a couple of sites overseas) Open hopefuls played 36 holes to try and win a spot. Of course, there were more losers than winners -- there always are; there are a LOT of hopefuls! But some were sadder than others.

Two-time Open champion Lee Janzen, for example, got disqualified for wearing steel spikes. Steel spikes aren't allowed on the qualifying courses and it said so on the rules sheet. Janzen missed it (shades of Dustin Johnson!) but was philosophical about it, saying his first 18 holes pretty much killed his chances anyway.

Ryan Palmer and Zack Fischer have played 9 holes of sudden death at the Dallas TX site... and they STILL don't know who got the last spot! They'll finish up this morning -- that's happening at a couple of sites -- and one of them will go home disappointed after a very tough battle.

Mike WeirAnd then there was Mike Weir, still working his way back from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. (That's an elbow ligament operation named after a famous baseball pitcher who had it. It was considered radical surgery at the time.) Weir ended up in an 11-for-7 playoff and was the last man out.

It's been a long climb back for Weir. He's currently 963 in the world. That 2003 Masters victory probably seems a million years in the past.

But at least there's some good news. Weir is the first alternate at his site. (The winner of the Palmer-Fischer playoff will be the first alternate at their site as well.) Being a first alternate isn't such a bad deal. The USGA always leaves some spots open for players who move up into the Top 60 of the world rankings this week. (I think they left 6 spots this time.) And if some of those places aren't filled -- and most of them probably won't be -- first alternates will be called to fill in those spots.

In addition, there will probably be some withdrawals before the major actually starts. The first alternates will get the first crack at those spots as well.

Since there are 11 first alternates, there's even a chance that all 11 of them will get their chance at Merion after all.

I hope so, for Mike Weir's sake. It's amazing how much a good break like that could help his comeback.

And the best news may be that metal spikes will probably be allowed at the U.S. Open. At least he shouldn't have to worry about that.

The photo is from his page at Wikipedia.

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