Mike Weir said his play at last year's Canadian Open was awful. A lot has changed since then.

The 43-year-old Brights Grove, Ont., native returned to Glen Abbey Golf Club on Wednesday for the 2013 Canadian Open with a new approach to his game and a renewed confidence after last year's disappointing finish.

Weir shot 72 in each of the first two rounds in 2012, missing the cut by five strokes.

"The confidence level and the way I'm playing from a year ago is a big change," said Weir. "I feel confident when I tee it up on Thursday every week now. It's not quite where I want it to be, but I could say that about weeks that I've won before the week started and then things can kind of come together and you end up winning a tournament.

"So I'm hoping this week I feel good about my game and I think if I can get some momentum going early in this tournament and get rolling, I'll have a good chance."

Weir's renewed confidence comes from working on his driving at the range, allowing him to relax at the tees and concentrate on his putting.

"I have much more confidence with my ball striking and I'm able to spend more time on my short game now," said Weir. "I spent so much time on my long game that that feels pretty good for the most part now."

Weir's right to be encouraged after several big strides in his game this year, including a tie for 28th at the U.S. Open in mid-June after a strong fourth round when he shot 1-under par.

"I'm not fooling myself. I go out there and I tested like the U.S. Open," said Weir. "You can't fool yourself around a place like that."

Although Weir is far removed from his championship at the 2003 Masters, he still has an avid following among Canadian golf fans. On Wednesday, he had a small crowd trailing behind him at the pro-am tournament of the Canadian Open.

"It's great to have support like that. I think maybe their memories are a little better than some other people," said Weir. "They have a longer memory and know what I've done and know how hard I've worked and they follow what I'm doing.

"It's great to have that kind of support, especially being close to home."

Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ont., is hosting the Canadian Open with a $5.6-million purse.