Golf Stereotypes Boo

By Adam BarrApril 22, 2007, 4:00 pm
Just when I thought I had American golf figured out, a number of new thoughts occurred to me about types in our sport. And although this type of column may not be high up on the importance scale after this weeks horrific events in Virginia, a new type of thinking was necessary to get some relief from the disturbing notions that tragedy unearthed.
Even staid, middle-aged types like me sometimes dig around YouTube and other populist websites in search of evidence of new and hip culture. (But never at work! No sir! Not on work computers! Would never do it. I promise. Now stop looking at me through those hidden cameras.)
Boo Weekley
Boo Weekley and his genuine disposition could go a long way in making golf seem less stuffy. (WireImage)
Usually this happens after a TGC whippersnapper reminds me just how staid and middle-aged I am. No matter, though. The other day I searched golf and came up with a video ' a collection of cartoonish stills, really ' showing television golf as stultifying, dull, vapid and joyless. A golfer with 16 names followed by a 'IV' was frozen over a shot, waiting endlessly to pull the trigger as life went on elsewhere. The stench of pointlessness hung heavy. Implied class accusations tumbled out of the deadpan voiceover.
Another video, Chipping with Satan, is a 52-second short-game lesson with the Dark Lord. Price for mishits: your immortal soul. I swear, I will never sneer at Dave Pelz again.
After I got over the momentary needle-shock ' after all, this is my livelihood were skewering here ' I moved on to the chuckle stage. Gotta laugh at oneself, right? It made me realize two things, though. First, its amazing that some people have ample time to pay attention to the things they hate. I barely have enough hours for the people and things I love. Second, outside our familiar precincts, American golf still suffers from a hoity-toity, plaid-pants image in the minds of many.
Erasing it may be too big a job for this generation, even if we succeed in getting more people to play. But I see hope. Witness Boo Weekley, winner at Hilton Head last week, and his complete refusal to dilute his country-boy roots with even one drop of citified dandiness. The pride of Milton, Florida has gladly admitted to the crimson hue of his neck more than once, and I have yet to meet anyone who does not like to be around him and his genuine happiness. From a TV production point of view, hes a joy ' there is seldom any need to cover Boo interviews with B-roll (supporting video) because its just so dang fun to watch him talk. When Boo smiles broad as a country mile and says its from his Deddys sahd of the family that he gets his propensity for getting himself into trouble and making things tough for himself, its impossible for listeners (and watchers) not to smile as well.
Of course, Boos appeal has less to do with his background and style (in Florida, we call it cracker) than with his obvious genuineness. People can spot a phony, and they can be spotted in all walks of life. It follows that they can just as easily pick out a genuine character, a person of parts. Fortunately, golf has been full of them. Welcome to the club, Mr. Weekley.
Weekleys name has been mentioned as successor to golfs self-appointed Chief Redneck, John Daly. (Before you accuse me of harshness with the R-word, please back off and recall that J.D. used to wear that very word on his golf shirts for all the world, city and country, to see.) But rather than successor, I see Boo as a new member. Daly, despite his on-course slump, isnt going anywhere, no matter how long that slump continues. I saw him at a TaylorMade/Maxfli event in Augusta, and he not only remembered me, he gave me a big hug and we asked about each others children. Genuine, to be sure. My only hope for John is that his great big appetites let him stay with us for a long time.
So next time you meet some video-making whiteneck who thinks golf is a sport of types, tell him hes right. Its for all types.
That includes patriotic types. Heres an e-mail I just got that represents the state of your generosity with golf equipment for our soldiers overseas:
After seeing your story about golf balls in Iraq, I took your thoughts and asked what a little Golf Association in Fredericksburg, Texas could do to help out with your plea. So, as President of the Super Senior Golf Association at Lady Bird Johnson Golf Course, I told the membership about what I saw on the GOLF CHANNEL and asked if we wanted to get involved and help out our troops.
U.S. soldiers
(L-R:) Lt. Col. Wayne Tasler, Spec. Andrew Bertelsen, PFC Lluke Schuppel, and PSClass Rebecca Knight about to use some of the golf equipment you have sent to Iraq.
The group said they would be more than happy to help. So we had a little roundup of the spare equipment we all had in our closets, garages and attics and came up with 210 golf clubs and more than 4,000 golf balls. After boxing and packing we ended up with 19 boxes weighing 457 pounds. You should have seen the sight at the post office when we brought them in for shipment.
I must say, I have made a new friend in Chaplain Tim Kersten. [Kersten is the replacement for Capt. David Sifferd, the chaplain with whom this story began last September. Capt. Sifferd has been rotated home. ' AB] He is a fellow Texan and we have been communicating by e-mail.
Attached is the e-mail I received Tuesday afternoon advising the clubs and balls had arrived in Iraq:
They've started to arrive in force as of today's mail run! It's great...and attached are some pictures of some soldiers from our Task Force and our Commander as well. Thank you so much for your faithful efforts on behalf of our soldiers! Trusting you have a great tournament. The Lord's continued blessing...
Timothy P. Kersten
Chaplain (CPT) USAR
PSYOP Task Force 10 ' Iraq
Tim further stated they were not only using our clubs, but were palletizing a set with golf balls to send to the troops at Camp Speicher in Tikrit. From there they will spread out to our other troop locations as feasible.
Thanks for letting me boast a little about a 50 member Senior Golf Group, and a bunch of great Americans. -- Bob Henke, Fredericksburg, Texas

Thanks, folks, and keep it up.
Photo by Enrique Berardi/LAAC

Top-ranked amateur Niemann one back at LAAC in Chile

By Nick MentaJanuary 21, 2018, 8:44 pm

Argentina’s Jaime Lopez Rivarola leads the Latin America Amateur Championship at 5 under par following a round of 3-under 68 Saturday in Chile.

The former Georgia Bulldog is now 36 holes from what would be a return trip to Augusta National but his first Masters.

"The truth is that I crossed off on my bucket list playing Augusta [National], because I happened to play there," Rivarola said. "I've played every year with my university. But playing in the Masters is a completely different thing. I have been to the Masters, and I've watched the players play during the practice rounds. But [competing would be] a completely different thing."

He is followed on the leaderboard by the three players who competed in the playoff that decided last year’s LAAC in Panama: Joaquin Niemann (-4), Toto Gana (-4), and Alvaro Ortiz (-3).

Click here for full-field scores from the Latin America Amateur Championship

Chile’s Niemann is the top-ranked amateur in the world who currently holds conditional status on the Tour and is poised to begin his career as a professional, unless of course he takes the title this week. After a disappointing 74 in Round 1, Niemann was 10 shots better in Round 2, rocketing up the leaderboard with a 7-under 64.

“Today, I had a completely different mentality, and that's usually what happens in my case," Niemann said. "When I shoot a bad round, the following day I have extra motivation. I realize and I feel that I have to play my best golf. The key to being a good golfer is to find those thoughts and to transfer them into good golf."

Niemann’s fellow Chilean and best friend Gana is the defending champion who missed the cut at the Masters last year and is now a freshman at Lynn University. His second-round 70 was a roller coaster, complete with six birdies, three eagles and a double.

Mexico’s Ortiz, the brother of three-time Tour winner Carlos, was 6 under for the week before three back-nine bogeys dropped him off the pace.

Two past champions, Matias Dominguez and Paul Chaplet, sit 5 over and 7 over, respectively.

The winner of the Latin America Amateur Championship earns an invite to this year’s Masters. He is also exempt into the The Amateur Championship, the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Open sectional qualifying, and Open Championship final qualifying.

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McIlroy gets back on track

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 21, 2018, 3:10 pm

There’s only one way to view Rory McIlroy’s performance at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship:

He is well ahead of schedule.

Sure, McIlroy is probably disappointed that he couldn’t chase down Ross Fisher (and then Tommy Fleetwood) on the final day at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. But against a recent backdrop of injuries and apathy, his tie for third was a resounding success. He reasserted himself, quickly, and emerged 100 percent healthy.

“Overall, I’m happy,” he said after finishing at 18-under 270, four back of Fleetwood. “I saw some really, really positive signs. My attitude, patience and comfort level were really good all week.”

To fully appreciate McIlroy’s auspicious 2018 debut, consider his state of disarray just four months ago. He was newly married. Nursing a rib injury. Breaking in new equipment. Testing another caddie. His only constant was change. “Mentally, I wasn’t in a great place,” he said, “and that was because of where I was physically.”

And so he hit the reset button, taking the longest sabbatical of his career, a three-and-a-half-month break that was as much psychological as physical. He healed his body and met with a dietician, packing five pounds of muscle onto his already cut frame. He dialed in his TaylorMade equipment, shoring up a putting stroke and wedge game that was shockingly poor for a player of his caliber. Perhaps most importantly, he cleared his cluttered mind, cruising around Italy with wife Erica in a 1950s Mercedes convertible.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

After an intense buildup to his season debut, McIlroy was curious about the true state of his game, about how he’d stack up when he finally put a scorecard in his hand. It didn’t take him long to find out. 

Playing the first two rounds alongside Dustin Johnson – the undisputed world No. 1 who was fresh off a blowout victory at Kapalua – McIlroy beat him by a shot. Despite a 103-day competitive layoff, he played bogey-free for 52 holes. And he put himself in position to win, trailing by one heading into the final round. Though Fleetwood blew away the field with a back-nine 30 to defend his title, McIlroy collected his eighth top-5 in his last nine appearances in Abu Dhabi.

“I know it’s only three months,” he said, “but things change, and I felt like maybe I needed a couple of weeks to get back into the thought process that you need to get into for competitive golf. I got into that pretty quickly this week, so that was the most pleasing thing.”

The sense of relief afterward was palpable. McIlroy is entering his 11th full year as a pro, and deep down he likely realizes 2018 is shaping up as his most important yet.

The former Boy Wonder is all grown up, and his main challengers now are a freakish athlete (DJ) and a trio of players under 25 (Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm) who don’t lack for motivation or confidence. The landscape has changed significantly since McIlroy’s last major victory, in August 2014, and the only way he’ll be able to return to world No. 1 is to produce a sustained period of exceptional golf, like the rest of the game’s elite. (Based on average points, McIlroy, now ranked 11th, is closer to the bottom of the rankings, No. 1928, than to Johnson.)

But after years of near-constant turmoil, McIlroy, 28, finally seems ready to pursue that goal again. He is planning the heaviest workload of his career – as many as 30 events, including seven more starts before the Masters – and appears refreshed and reenergized, perhaps because this year, for the first time in a while, he is playing without distractions.

Not his relationships or his health. Not his equipment or his caddie or his off-course dealings.

Everything in his life is lined up.

Drama tends to follow one of the sport’s most captivating characters, but for now he can just play golf – lots and lots of golf. How liberating.

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Crocker among quartet of Open qualifiers in Singapore

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 2:20 pm

Former amateur standout Sean Crocker was among four players who qualified for the 147th Open via top-12 finishes this week at the Asian Tour's SMBC Singapore Open as part of the Open Qualifying Series.

Crocker had a strong college career at USC before turning pro late last year. The 21-year-old received an invitation into this event shortly thereafter, and he made the most of his appearance with a T-6 finish to net his first career major championship berth.

There were four spots available to those not otherwise exempt among the top 12 in Singapore, but winner Sergio Garcia and runners-up Shaun Norris and Satoshi Kodaira had already booked their tickets for Carnoustie. That meant that Thailand's Danthai Boonma and Jazz Janewattanond both qualified thanks to T-4 finishes.

Full-field scores from the Singapore Open

Crocker nabbed the third available qualifying spot, while the final berth went to Australia's Lucas Herbert. Herbert entered the week ranked No. 274 in the world and was the highest-ranked of the three otherwise unqualified players who ended the week in a tie for eighth.

The next event in the Open Qualifying Series will be in Japan at the Mizuno Open in May, when four more spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs. The 147th Open will be held July 19-22 in Carnoustie, Scotland.

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Got a second? Fisher a bridesmaid again

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:40 pm

Ross Fisher is in the midst of a career resurgence - he just doesn't have the hardware to prove it.

Fisher entered the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a share of the lead, and as he made the turn he appeared in position to claim his first European Tour victory since March 2014. But he slowed just as Tommy Fleetwood caught fire, and when the final putt fell Fisher ended up alone in second place, two shots behind his fellow Englishman.

It continues a promising trend for Fisher, who at age 37 now has 14 career runner-up finishes and three in his last six starts dating back to October. He was edged by Tyrrell Hatton both at the Italian Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the fall, and now has amassed nine worldwide top-10 finishes since March.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Fisher took a big step toward ending his winless drought with an eagle on the par-5 second followed by a pair of birdies, and he stood five shots clear of Fleetwood with only nine holes to go. But while Fleetwood played Nos. 10-15 in 4 under, Fisher played the same stretch in 2 over and was unable to eagle the closing hole to force a playoff.

While Fisher remains in search of an elusive trophy, his world ranking has benefited from his recent play. The veteran was ranked outside the top 100 in the world as recently as September 2016, but his Abu Dhabi runner-up result is expected to move him inside the top 30 when the new rankings are published.