Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Speirs keeping eye on time

Q-school disappointment weighs on him

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It's hard to say if Winnipeg's Adam Speirs is battling a mid-life crisis, but when you have just enough past that it starts to gnaw at your future, it might qualify.

Speirs, 32, has no reservations about sharing his internal debate as he prepares for yet another attempt at on-course answers at this week's Players Cup, hosted by Jonathan Toews.

"I'm not that young," Speirs said Monday, fresh off Pine Ridge's 18th green after an early-morning practice round. "I've been out here almost 10 years. OK, so what's the game plan? What's the timetable? That's all stuff you ask yourself. I'm not going to be out here on the Canadian Tour when I'm 40."

The root of Speirs' latest self-talk was not last week's missed cut at the Dakota Dunes Casino Open near Saskatoon.

He's at least had some moderate success on the tour this season, with four cuts made in seven tournaments.

The most recent raft of future questions comes out of last fall's disappointment at the PGA Tour's qualifying school. Speirs had assembled some game -- golf jargon for sharpness -- in the second half of the season. He went smartly through the first stage of Q-school but fell flat on his face in the second stage in Seaside, Calif.,

Once again he was close but couldn't move on to the golden opportunity that awaits all golf dreamers at the third and final stage, where the valuable and often life-changing Tour cards are up for grabs.

"It's just getting to be that point where I'm at the second stage for the fourth or fifth time and I haven't gotten through and it just weighs on you," Speirs said. "One of the things I saw when Graham DeLaet got through to the finals (2009), that was his third trip to the second stage and he was at that stage where if you don't make it at this point, the next time you get there, it's just 'here we go again.'

"For him to get through that year was great timing for him. I think the more that you don't get through, it gets harder and harder, especially at my age."

Speirs is 10 years removed from his second Manitoba Amateur title.

"That may be funny to say, but this is my ninth year as a professional and time's ticking," he said. "Every time you get to second stage, you think, 'this is my opportunity.' I was playing so well last year, played well at first stage and felt really good about that and to just not really show up at second stage was a disappointment."

In 2008, Speirs appeared to have turned a corner, scoring a very popular victory at the Greater Vancouver Charity Classic. Having already qualified for two U.S. Opens, scoring his first Canadian Tour win certainly set expectations higher.

"There are 40-year-olds on our tour and they've had some success," he said. "I'm thinking about Mike Grob, who's been on the PGA Tour, on the Nationwide Tour and he's playing better than I am right now.

"You look at that and think to yourself, 'I'm not sure I want to be exactly where I am now when I'm 40.'

"It's not concerning, but those thoughts are in my head. I'm 32, I've got a nephew now, my buddies have kids -- all that crap. Crap in the nicest way."

The definitive answer to any of this is unlikely to come at Pine Ridge this week, but Speirs knows well that you have to compete to get anywhere.

"This year? I'm getting there," he said. "I haven't played great, but I've made cuts and that's allowed me to play a little more under a competitive atmosphere and it's given me a little more confidence.

"It's not where I want it to be because I'm unsure about a couple of things, but I've made some cuts and that's making it feel better."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 12, 2011 D2

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