He's a Canadian who has been converted into a Utahn. Ten years ago, Mike Weir accomplished what very few golfers ever have by winning the 2003 Masters Tournament. Although he's a golf superstar, he's also a caring husband and father to two teenage girls.
Below is a transcript of Shauna Lake’s “Person 2 Person” interview with Mike Weir:
SHAUNA LAKE: What is it like for you to be kind of this golf legend? I don’t want to embarrass you, but just living in Utah and what’s your day to day life like when you’re living here in town?
MIKE WEIR: Well Shauna I don’t get noticed that much actually here in Utah. When I get around a golf course, yes I do, but outside of that it’s kind of nice because in Canada when I go to where I grew up in my home country, it’s a little different. It’s a little more hectic, and I can be a little more incognito, and I can be a little more under the radar here which is nice.
SHAUNA LAKE: What role did your parents play? I mean it’s tough to raise a golfer who gets a scholarship and goes to college and yet alone someone who achieves what you’ve achieved. It’s impossible almost.
MIKE WEIR: I would say they just left me to find my own path. They didn’t put any pressure on me at all. I guess they introduced me to all kinds of sports. You know growing up in Canada I was a hockey player. That was my first sport.
SHAUNA LAKE: Really?
MIKE WEIR: Oh yeah. I loved hockey and played all the way until I came to BYU in ’88.
SHAUNA LAKE: Tell me a little bit about the decision that brought you to Utah in the first place, to BYU more specifically.
MIKE WEIR: It was Karl Tucker really. I always tell people he was my dad away from home. I became really close to him. He was just a dynamic personality and convinced me to come to BYU. He had recruited a lot of Canadians over the years. You know it’s a very good program. The golf program at BYU has great tradition so I was really happy to come here.
SHAUNA LAKE: And you weren’t LDS. I mean, was it intimidating at all? I mean had you heard of Utah coming from Canada?
MIKE WEIR: I hadn’t. I hadn’t at all. I mean, I was 17 years old when I came here on a recruiting trip and you know was not familiar with the Mormon religion at all. So I came and visited the campus, I thought, ‘wow this is beautiful.’ I grew up in the flat part of Northern Ontario. So to see all the mountains and to see how pretty it was here I was kind of blown away by that aspect, but culturally that was kind of a shock definitely when I came to BYU, but it ended up working out pretty well.
SHAUNA LAKE: So why did you decide to stay in Utah?
MIKE WEIR: I didn’t get on the PGA Tour for seven years out of college. So I was playing a lot in Asia. I was playing in Australia. Again, coach was…I was very close to coach, and we played a lot of golf together when I was home and a lot of close friends. It just seemed like a good place for me to get on a plane, go to L.A., over to overseas, to Asia and Australia and travel. And then it just became home. We love the lifestyle. We hike a lot. We bike. We go river rafting in Southern Utah. We do all kinds of things, motorhoming down there. So we really enjoy the lifestyle here.
SHAUNA LAKE: I’ve always wondered, how do you quiet your mind down when you’re on that golf course?
MIKE WEIR: That’s a great question because that’s a real discipline. Following a routine is really big for a golfer, and I think any professional athlete. We’re big on routines and doing the same thing over and over so you can kind of put it on autopilot. So that’s important. I relay this story all the time, people ask me, ‘how did you make that putt on the last hole at the Masters?’ An eight footer you know? If I was thinking about that, I’d miss the hold by this far people tell me. And I think well if I did think about that I’d miss it by this far too. But the way I talk to myself, you got to talk to yourself that this is just a putt. It’s an eight foot putt. And I have to just follow the same routine and I can live with the consequences, good or bad.
SHAUNA LAKE: And what does it feel like when you put on that jacket?
MIKE WEIR: Well it was just a dream come true. I mean it gives me chills thinking about it because I guess just the mental discipline it takes to get through a tournament like that. I had won some other tournaments but a major championship really tests acutely, every minute, every shot and to be able to do that is more of a sense of self satisfaction of being able to stay in that moment for four straight days rather than that I won the tournament. It was a tremendous feeling. Something you crave as a golfer. If you’ve done it you want to do it again because it’s not like winning any other tournament. Winning a major championship feels much different.
SHAUNA LAKE: Was there ever a time where you got down on yourself? I mean was there a time where you’re like I’m just done with this?
MIKE WEIR: I did. I mean the last couple of years I have. As my daughters have gotten a little older I had a severe elbow injury that I had surgically repaired in 2011. It’s just been a tough road to get back to that level where I was used to for a while.
SHAUNA LAKE: And the expectations.
MIKE WEIR: And the expectations. It’s just, yeah it get a little more difficult as you get older. The way the game is now it’s just tough to be at that elite level and for myself it’s not as fun if you’re not in contention. If I’m fighting just to make the cuts and finishing 40th and 50th, it’s not very fun. So if I keep plugging along in the next year or two and I’m still at that point, I’ll probably retire. Because I just don’t want to be there in that position, but I’m still optimistic that I can get a lot better. I think next year’s going to be great, but if it doesn’t, if things kind of putter along like they are right now, I’m probably going to pack it in.
SHAUNA LAKE: Okay Mike it’s been so nice getting to know you a little better “Person 2 Person.”
MIKE WEIR: My pleasure Shauna, thank you.
For more about Mike Weir, visit mikeweir.com
-written and produced by Leslie Tillotsen
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)