SCOTTSDALE – Mike Weir had gone 85 tournaments without a victory when he teed it up at the Frys.com Open a year ago.
Four days later, the Canadian beat Australian Mark Hensby by one stroke for his eighth PGA Tour win but first since February 2004.
“It definitely restored some confidence,” Weir said Wednesday.
The low-key Frys tournament begins a four-day run Thursday on the par-70, 125-yard Raptor course at the Grayhawk Golf Club.
Most of the PGA Tour’s big names are sitting out these Fall Series events, but for Weir, the tournament was a much-needed refresher course in winning.
“To get that feeling again, to have to do something down the stretch,” he recalled. “I had to make a nice putt on 17 and to do it again on 18, had to make a great save. When you’re able to do that, come through, it just reminds you that you can still do it when you need to and have to do it.”
Weir hasn’t won since the Frys event, but he did finish second twice – at the Memorial in May and the Deutsche Bank Championship in September.
“It’s been a pretty solid year,” he said. “I would say it hasn’t been a great year, but it’s been steady. You know, this will be my last tournament on the tour to try to get a win and make it a very good year.”
Weir has earned $2.8 million this year, 15th-best on the tour, making him the highest-ranked player in the field. The Frys.com Open, in its second year, has a $5 million purse. The winner gets $900,000.
Marc Turnesa, winner of last week’s Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children Open, withdrew from this week’s tournament.
The event is important for golfers trying to move up on the PGA Tour pecking order.
“This is a big time of year for a lot of players,” Weir said, “whether it’s trying to secure their card, trying to get in the top 70 to get the invitationals, trying to win.”
The top 125 on the money list earn exempt status on next year’s tour. Nineteen-time tour winner Davis Love III is at No. 125. But even if he slips below that spot, his career accomplishments allow him to enter any tournament.
Tennis: Blake wins
BASEL, Switzerland – Fourth-seeded James Blake advanced to the second round of the Swiss Indoors on Wednesday, beating Germany’s Nicolas Kiefer 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Fellow American Mardy Fish, the No. 8 seed, was upset by Feliciano Lopez of Spain, 7-6 (9), 6-4, in a second-round match.
Ga. Tech’s Bell out
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech senior basketball guard and team captain D’Andre Bell will have season-ending surgery to correct a spinal condition, but he said Wednesday he still hopes to complete his college career in the 2009-10 season.
Bell, who started 22 games last season, was diagnosed with a congenital condition known as spinal stenosis.