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Weir getting ready for a busy off season

Mike Weir is busier playing golf than he's used to. But he's not complaining.

Canada's Masters champion faces a packed fall schedule, and it's all because of his victory in Augusta in April.

Last year he had three months off between the end of the 2002 season and the start of this year's campaign.

This time, a two-week break is the most he can look forward to.

``I'm pretty busy. But I'll take winning the Masters and having a few more tournaments to play in,'' said Weir, among the four seeded players in the World Match Play Championship that begins Thursday.

``I have next week off then I play two weeks in a row through our Tour Championship. Then I have a week off before we go to the Presidents Cup in South Africa.

``So it's a little bit hit and miss here and there. I don't have any stretch off except after Tiger's tournament (the Target World Challenge). I think I have two weeks off before the Mercedes Championship which kicks off our season.

``So it's a little different than last year when my last event was, I think, this event. And I didn't play again until the Phoenix Open. So I had almost three months off last year.''

Weir said he had to weigh carefully whether to participate in the World Match Play, which now offers 1 million pounds ($1.67 million) to the winner. The alternative was taking time off to spend with his family, skiing or fly fishing.

``With winning the Masters there's a lot of things happening in the fall with the Presidents Cup and the PGA Grand Slam, along with my kids going back to school. So I had to take some time to think about what I wanted to do.

``I really enjoyed this tournament last year even though I didn't like being beaten in the first round. So I wanted to get back here.''

Weir lost 4 and 3 to Padrag Harrington a year ago.

``I want to play a little more internationally,'' Weir added. ``That's another reason I chose to come to play. I think it is important for everybody to play as much as they can in places other than their own tour.''

Weir, who on Friday will play the winner of a Thursday match between Thomas Bjorn of Denmark -- runner-up in this year's British Open -- and Len Mattiace -- second to Weir in the Masters -- said he has not played as well recently as he did earlier.

``It's been a great year though not quite as good as I'd like the last month or so. But it's been fantastic, especially the start of the year where in the first 10 events I had a chance to win in almost every one of them. That was a lot of fun.''

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