Final Event Finally Not Scary for Boo

By Associated PressOctober 31, 2007, 4:00 pm
 LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Boo Weekley was deep in the woods at dark for a quiet celebration.
It was opening day of bow hunting season in Florida.
'I ain't been able to hunt on opening day of bow season in six years,' Weekley said. 'I had to golf. I had to make money to keep my Nationwide Tour card or to get ready for Q-school. Dude, I was so excited. I was there an hour-and-a-half before daylight.'
Equally rewarding was what got him there.
This is the first time in six years that Weekley hasn't had to worry about where he was playing the following year or trying to explain to his family that he was good enough to make a living at a game they only saw as recreation.
Going into the final event of the season at Disney, Weekley already had earned $2.6 million and won at Hilton Head for his first PGA TOUR victory. He made his first trip overseas to Scotland this summer. He'll take his first drive down Magnolia Lane in April at the Masters.
And he's going to China next month to represent the United States in the World Cup.
Boo Weekley in China?
'They could open a new era in U.S.-China relations,' Scott Verplank said.
Even Weekley had a hard time digesting how a guy who grew up in the backwoods of the Florida Panhandle and once worked as a hydroblaster for Monsanto at $7.50 an hour could be carrying the flag for American golf in the World Cup.
He got the chance when Arron Oberholser withdrew to have surgery on his hand and five Americans ranked ahead of him weren't interested in spending Thanksgiving week in China on short notice. And he jumped on it when he realized he could take his old teammate at Milton High School, Heath Slocum, as his partner.
'It took me three days and then I realized, 'I can't believe I'm going to China.' It's hard to believe,' Weekley said Wednesday at the Children's Miracle Classic, where he is playing to start shaking off some of the rust. 'And the fact I get to take my best friend. Heath can relate to me. He knows me better than anyone. I get nervous around a lot of people. I'm like a cat in a roomful of rocking chairs.'
The trip to China was proof of how far Weekley has come this year. It also was a reminder that for all the hype over his homespun humor, twangy talk and simple lifestyle, the country boy can play golf pretty dang good.
He was a novelty when he first qualified for the PGA TOUR through qualifying school in 2002, back when he wore rain pants because regular britches gave him a rash, and sneakers because golf shoes made his feet sore. Asked where he went to college, Weekley replied, 'ABAC,' as if everyone knew about Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.
He didn't last long, finishing 200th on the money list, and spent three years on the Nationwide Tour before he made it back.
But what a return.
Weekley is among the best ball-strikers on tour, lacking only in self-belief. He found that in a troubling loss at the Honda Classic, when he three-putted for bogey from 30 feet on the final hole to fall into a four-man playoff, won the next day by Mark Wilson.
Most players would be scarred by missing a 3-foot par putt to win for the first time.
'It was probably by best moment, feeling that, 'OK, I belong here. I know I can compete,'' he said. 'I just choked. It happens to the best of us. Don't matter who you are.'
He won six weeks later by muffing a chip behind the 17th green at the Verizon Heritage, then chipping in for par to beat Ernie Els.
That put him in the spotlight more, and in front of a microphone.
He amused the British during his two weeks in Scotland, particularly when he was paired with Paul Lawrie at Loch Lomond and asked if he had qualified for the British Open -- apparently not realizing that Lawrie won at Carnoustie in 1999 and Open champions are exempt until they are 65. Worse yet, he had never heard of Jean Van de Velde.
Asked about the FedExCup, Weekley left the room laughing by saying, 'I was never good at math.'
Each one-liner fed into the perception of a country bumpkin who could swing a golf club. And that's just fine with Weekley. The twang is not an act. He naturally answers questions with a 'Yes, sir,' and refers to his parents as 'Daddy and 'Momma.'
He knows he can play. Whether anyone else pays attention to that is none of his concern.
'I like it that way,' he said. 'Don't want nobody to know. If you believe in who you are and what you're doing, you'll achieve your goals.'
So who is he? And what is he doing?
'I'm here to play golf,' Weekley said. 'And I'm going to do it as long as I can.'
Weekley doesn't mind mingling with the fans and the media, but he gets out of his comfort zone when approached by a horde of people. Perhaps the most nervous he felt all year was when he was asked to speak to students at Milton High, and found himself standing before a room of 100 kids and teachers.
'I started to stutter,' he said. 'I don't the spotlight. When I play, I don't hardly look at the ropes, just what in front of me.'
His future has never looked brighter.
One year he was on the Nationwide Tour, the next year he was No. 22 on the PGA TOUR money list, No. 36 in the world ranking, and on his way to China to play for his country.
And what does he know about China?
'It's a long ways away,' he said. 'And they got the Great Wall of China.'
That'll do.
Related Links:
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Full Coverage - Children's Miracle Network Classic
  • Getty Images

    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

    Getty Images

    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

    Getty Images

    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

    His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

    “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

    Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

    Getty Images

    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry