Bittersweet 2007 for Tiger tamer Weir

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LAS VEGAS, Oct 15 (Reuters) Although Mike Weir believes he is a better all-round player than when he won the Masters four years ago, he has bittersweet memories of his 2007 campaign.

The Canadian left-hander achieved a career highlight by beating world number one Tiger Woods in the singles at the Presidents Cup but is yet to taste team success in the biennial competition.

Having represented the Internationals against the US on three previous occasions in the Ryder Cup-style competition, Weir had desperately hoped to be part of a winning combination in Montreal last month.

''It's been frustrating,'' the 37-year-old from Ontario told Reuters after tying for 10th in the Las Vegas Open at the TPC Summerlin yesterday.

''Four times I've been on the team and we've had a tie and we were close the last time at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club but we just haven't been able to pull it out.

''This year's matches were a lot closer than the final score but the last three or four holes killed us in a bunch of matches. I played very well but it was still a bittersweet experience.'' Playing in front of a sell-out crowd of 30,000 at Royal Montreal Golf Club, home favourite Weir beat Woods one-up but the Americans clinched the Cup for a fifth time by 19-{ points to 14-1/2.

However, the memory of beating the game's leading player on Canadian soil will live with Weir forever.

PRETTY SPECIAL ''It was a thrill for me to play in front of the fans like that and I will remember that win for the rest of my life, the ovations I was getting,'' he said. ''It was pretty special.'' Asked how the pressures of Montreal matched up to the challenge of trying to land his first major title, Weir replied: ''It was similar.

''Winning a major might have a little bit more pressure but playing in front of 30,000 people against the world number one, there are a lot of expectations from the home crowd. To play as well as I did, I'm pretty proud of that.'' Aside from taming Tiger, Weir's greatest satisfaction this year has come from the improvement in his game following hard work on rehoning his swing with a new coach.

''It's still a little bit of a work in progress but it's feeling much more comfortable,'' the seven-times PGA Tour winner said.

''I'm not thinking as much and that's a process of time, working through the changes.

''Overall I'm a much better player, the only difference is that my short game hasn't been as good,'' added Weir, who became the first left-hander to win a major in 40 years with his Masters victory.

''The last month or so l've been able to spend a lot more time trying try to sharpen that up because my ball-striking, the distance I can hit it now and the height I can hit it when I need to -- I didn't have any of those shots when I won the Masters.

''I was a one-dimensional player and had to really rely on my wedge game and putting. Now I feel I am a much better player. I just need to sharpen up the short game a little bit.'' Reuters BJR GC1557

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