Cal's Michael Weaver takes to golf's grandest stage
At the age of 21, Cal golfer Michael Weaver experienced true disappointment when a five-foot putt stood between him and the 2012 U.S. Amateur Title. (AP IMAGES)
Michael Weaver grew up in Fresno, California. At 10-years old, he got bored with the obligatory summer camp ritual. Begging his parents not to take him, his dad came up with an idea and dropped Michael at the local golf course. There, the youngster spent time perfecting his swing, while his parents were at work.
And it paid off.
Twelve years later, Weaver will be one of six Amateurs to tee off at one of golf’s most prestigious tournaments, the Masters. It’s the best gift the Cal junior could ask for as he turns 22-years-old on Friday at Augusta.
The journey to the Masters wasn’t easy for Weaver. Not that the junior in Cal's Haas School of Business undergraduate program is afraid of hard work. But at the age of 21, Weaver experienced true disappointment when a five-foot putt stood between him and the 2012 U.S. Amateur Title.
On that summer day in August, Weaver was on his game. He led from the seventh hole on, and was two strokes ahead with two holes to go. Needing the putt on the final hole, was more routine than a challenge.
“In my mind, I knew it was going in,” Weaver said.
His shot was dead on until a centimeter before the hole when an inexplicable “bump” changed the ball’s course.
“I kept thinking, are you kidding me?” Weaver said, “Why, why now, why is this happening right now?”
The miss led to a playoff with Weaver ultimately finishing as runner-up, but he got a first-rate lesson in life.
“Right from the start, when the round was over, Michael had a good perspective. He was like, ‘I was an U.S. amateur champ for a fraction of second’,” Weaver’s Cal coach Steve Desimone said.
"I think a lot of people could let that all fall down and get in funk and not come out of it, but that’s not Michael. He knew it was something other than him that caused this and he could live with that. He did everything he could. Winners find a way to bounce back.”
Now Weaver will try to bounce back on the grandest stage of them all with his Coach, family and friends cheering him on outside the ropes. Weaver becomes the first-ever Cal golfer to tee off at Augusta while still a student. It might not have been the way he dreamed of reaching the storied tournament, but nevertheless it is a dream come true.
“I don’t want to put it on a pedestal because I don’t want to come in awestruck the whole time. I want to play well,” Weaver said as a giant smile spread across his face. “But it’s going to be something I will remember forever. It’ll be a pretty surreal experience that first time they call me to the tee.”