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.
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Rose: 'Never' has Rory putted as well as Bay Hill

By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:20 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Justin Rose didn’t need to ponder the question for very long.

The last time Rory McIlroy putted that well was, well …?

“Never,” Rose said with a chuckle. “Ryder Cup? He always makes it look easy when he’s playing well.”

And the Englishman did well just to try and keep pace.

After playing his first six holes in 4 over par, Rose battled not just to make the cut but to contend. He closed with consecutive rounds of 67, finishing in solo third, four shots back of McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

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Rose said this weekend was the best he’s struck the ball all year. He just didn’t do enough to overtake McIlroy, who finished the week ranked first in strokes gained-putting and closed with a bogey-free 64.

“Rory just played incredible golf, and it’s great to see world-class players do that,” Rose said. “It’s not great to see him make putts because he was making them against me, but when he is, he’s incredibly hard to beat. So it was fun to watch him play.”

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Rory almost channels Tiger with 72nd-hole celebration

By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:11 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Rory McIlroy’s final putt at the Arnold Palmer Invitational felt awfully familiar.

He rolled in the 25-footer for birdie and wildly pumped his fist, immediately calling to mind Woods’ heroics on Bay Hill’s 18th green.

Three times Woods holed a putt on the final green to win this event by a stroke.

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McIlroy was just happy to provide a little extra cushion as the final group played the finishing hole.

“I’ve seen Tiger do that enough times to know what it does,” McIlroy said. “So I just wanted to try and emulate that. I didn’t quite give it the hat toss – I was thinking about doing that. But to be able to create my own little bit of history on the 18th green here is pretty special.”

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A performance fit for a King

By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:08 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Five hundred and 40 days had passed since Rory McIlroy last won, and since golf lost one of its most iconic players.

So much has transpired in McIlroy’s life since then – marriage, injury, adversity – but even now he vividly recalls the awkward end to the 2016 Tour Championship. He had just captured the FedExCup and $11 million bonus, but afterward, in the scrum, he was asked instead to reflect on the passing earlier that day of Arnold Palmer, at age 87.

“Obviously I had a great win and it was a great day for me, but in the big scheme of things, that didn’t matter,” he said. “The game of golf had lost an icon, a legend, an inspiration to so many of us. I probably wasn’t as ecstatic as maybe I would have been if Arnie hadn’t passed away.”

But there was McIlroy on Sunday at Bay Hill, at Arnie’s Florida home, summoning the kind of charge that would have made the King proud. With five birdies in his last six holes, he broke away from a stacked leaderboard to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational for his first victory on Tour in 18 months, since that bittersweet evening at East Lake.

“Kind of ironic,” he said Sunday.

But the connection between McIlroy and Palmer runs deeper than that.

Palmer and McIlroy’s wife, Erica, shared a birthday – Sept. 10.

Palmer wrote letters to McIlroy after each of his many victories.

Palmer had lobbied for years to get McIlroy to play this event, even threatening him. “If he doesn’t come and play Bay Hill,” Palmer said in 2012, “he might have a broken arm and he won’t have to worry about where he’s going to play next.”

McIlroy kept all of his limbs intact but didn’t add the event until 2015, when Palmer’s health was beginning to deteriorate. That week he sat for a two-hour dinner with Palmer in the Bay Hill clubhouse, and the memories still bring a smile to his face.

“I was mesmerized,” McIlroy said.

And entertained, of course.

Palmer ordered fish for dinner. “And I remember him asking the server, ‘Can I get some A.1. Sauce?’” McIlroy said.

“And the server said, ‘For your fish, Mr. Palmer?’ And he said, ‘No, for me!’"

McIlroy chuckled at the exchange, then added somberly: “I was very fortunate to spend that time with him.”

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

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McIlroy has been telling anyone who will listen that he’s close to playing his best golf, but even he was surprised by the drastic turn of events over the past 10 days.

During that 18-month winless drought, he endured an onslaught of questions about his wedge play, his putting, his health and his motivation. Burnt out by the intense spotlight, and needing to rehab a nagging rib injury, he shut it down for four months last fall, a mental and physical reset.

But after an encouraging start to his 2018 campaign in the Middle East, McIlroy was a non-factor in each of his first four Tour starts. That included a missed cut last week in Tampa, where he was admittedly searching.

“The best missed cut I’ve ever had,” he said.

McIlroy grinded all last weekend, stumbling upon a swing thought, a feeling, like he was making a three-quarter swing. Then he met for a few hours Monday in South Florida with former PGA Tour winner and putting savant Brad Faxon. They focused on being more instinctive and reactionary over the ball.

“He just freed me up,” McIlroy said.

Freed up his stroke, which had gotten too rigid.

And freed up his mind, which was bogged down with technical thoughts and self-doubt.

“The objective is to get the ball in the hole,” he said, “and I think I lost sight of that a little bit.”

All McIlroy did at Bay Hill was produce the best putting week of his career.  

Starting the final round two shots back of Henrik Stenson, McIlroy made the turn in 33 and then grabbed a share of the lead on the 11th hole.

Tiger Woods was making a run, moving within a shot of the lead, but McIlroy answered with a charge of his own, rattling off four consecutive birdies – a 16-footer on 13, a 21-footer on 14, a chip-in on 15 and a two-putt birdie after a 373-yard drive on 16 – that left Woods and everyone else in the dust.

Then McIlroy finished it off in style, rolling in a 25-footer on the last that was eerily similar to the putt that Woods has holed so many times at his personal playground.

“I know what the putt does,” McIlroy said, “so it was nice to make my own little bit of history.”

Justin Rose has played plenty of meaningful golf with McIlroy over the years, but he’d never seen him roll it like he did Sunday.

“He turned on the burners on the back nine,” he said. “He always makes it look easy when he’s playing well.”

It’s little wonder McIlroy pulled ahead of a star-studded leaderboard, closing with a bogey-free 64 and winning by three shots at 18-under 270 – he led the field in driving distance, proximity to the hole, scrambling and strokes gained-putting.

“It’s so nice that everything finally came together,” he said.

Over the next two weeks, there figures to be plenty of conversation about whether McIlroy can channel that fearlessness into the major he covets most. The Masters is the only piece missing from a career Grand Slam, and now, thanks to Faxon’s tips, he’s never been in a better position.

But after a turbulent 18 months, McIlroy needed no reminder to savor a victory that felt like a long time coming.

There was a hug for his parents, Gerry and Rosie.

A kiss for his wife, Erica.

A handshake for Palmer’s grandson, Sam Saunders, and then a fitting into the champion’s alpaca cardigan.

The only thing missing was the King himself, waiting atop the hill behind 18 with his huge smile and vice-grip handshake.

“Hopefully he’s up there smiling,” McIlroy said, “and hopefully he’s proud of me with the way I played that back nine.”

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McIlroy remembers Arnie dinner: He liked A-1 sauce on fish

By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 1:06 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Fresh off a stirring victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rory McIlroy offered a pair of culinary factoids about two of the game’s biggest names.

McIlroy regretted not being able to shake Palmer’s hand behind the 18th green after capping a three-shot win with a Sunday 64, but with the trophy in hand he reflected back on a meal he shared with Palmer at Bay Hill back in 2015, the year before Palmer passed away.

“I knew that he liked A-1 sauce on his fish, which was quite strange,” McIlroy said. “I remember him asking the server, ‘Can I get some A-1 sauce?’ And the server said, ‘For your fish, Mr. Palmer?’ He said, ‘No, for me.’”

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

A few minutes later, McIlroy revealed that he is also a frequent diner at The Woods Jupiter, the South Florida restaurant launched by Tiger Woods. In fact, McIlroy explained that he goes to the restaurant every Wednesday with his parents – that is, when he’s not spanning the globe winning golf tournaments.

Having surveyed the menu a few times, he considers himself a fan.

“It’s good. He seems pretty hands-on with it,” McIlroy said. “Tuna wontons are good, the lamb lollipops are good. I recommend it.”