Notes Boo Does Britain Tiger and the Telly

By Associated PressJuly 16, 2007, 4:00 pm
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland -- Boo Weekley brought his backwoods charm to Britain, and already committed a faux pas.
Only it had more to do with history than culture.
Weekley says he doesn't pay attention to golf when he's not playing, and he made that abundantly clear last week while playing with Paul Lawrie at the Scottish Open.
Weekley, who grew up in the Florida Panhandle, was delighted to have qualified for his first British Open through a money list for PGA TOUR players. So he was happy to hear that Lawrie would be going to Carnoustie, too.
'I asked him, 'How'd you get in? You qualify?'' Weekley said in his syrupy drawl.
Lawrie won the British Open in 1999 the last time it was held at Carnoustie, setting a major championship record with a 10-shot comeback on the final round, helped mightily by the famous collapse by Jean Van de Velde on the 72nd hole.
British Open champions are eligible through their 65th birthday.
Lawrie is often overlooked because of Van de Velde's follies, making triple bogey on the final hole to blow a three-shot lead. Then again, Weekley had a quizzical look when someone mentioned Van de Velde.
'Who?' he said.
He slowly shook his head, as if trying to recall the name of someone who went to kindergarten with him.
'What did he do?' Weekley said.
Reporters were halfway through the memorable shot sequence when they gave up.
The trip otherwise has been uneventful for Weekley, although no way is he getting behind the wheel of a car -- not on the wrong side of the road, and with cars coming mighty fast in the other direction.
'I ain't driving. Nooooo,' Weekley said. 'These people over here, they all drive like Mario Andretti. They drive way too fast.'
Tiger Woods often says the best part about being home is knowing all the channels on his remote control.
He didn't have to take much of a crash course when he arrived at the house he is renting in Carnoustie.
'No cable,' Woods said. 'We have five channels. They had one show about vegetables. They were giving out ribbons for brussel sprouts.'
Lucas Glover missed qualifying for the British Open, but headed over to Carnoustie as the first alternate, hopeful someone would drop out. He strolled casually onto the grounds Monday wearing blue jeans, apparently unaware that Shingo Katayama had withdrawn with back and knee injuries.
'I'm on the bubble,' Glover said.
Actually, you're in.
'Really?' Glover replied.
That was the good news. His more immediate concern was locating his clubs, which failed to make it on his flight from the United States.
He wasn't alone, either.
Masters champion Zach Johnson couldn't practice Monday for the same reason. Ditto for Pat Perez and Carl Pettersson, who were on the same flight with Glover. And then there was Justin Leonard, who arrived on Sunday after a week off. His clubs had still not arrived by Monday afternoon, and the airline wasn't sure where they were.
'We just made him a new set, too,' Nike manager Kel Devlin said.
Ben Curtis has a clothing endorsement with Reebok to wear NFL logos of the cities where he plays, which would seem to give him a choice at the British Open.
But the former champion had the New York Giants logo on Sunday, and the Miami Dolphins on Monday.
That's no accident.
The Giants and Dolphins will play the first regular season NFL game in Europe next month, and Curtis said Reebok asked him to wear those teams to help promote the game.
'I'm the promoter,' the unassuming Curtis said. 'I'm the Don King of the NFL in Europe.'
Sean O'Hair made his British Open debut in 2005 by winning the John Deere Classic on Sunday, scrambling to get a passport and arriving just in time to play at St. Andrews.
It's been a different kind of hectic this time.
O'Hair got a virus in the final round of the AT&T National at Congressional that caused him to lose seven pounds, although he still closed with a 68 and tied for 25th. He then had to skip the John Deere Classic because doctors found a cyst under the nose his 6-month-old son, Luke. The surgery to remove the cyst was last week, and O'Hair said the boy was doing fine.
The best news was to find Carnoustie wasn't nearly as bad as he expected, especially after watching in on TV in 1999.
'I was expecting a lot more rough,' he said. 'I heard it was real nasty. But I think it's one of the greatest courses in the world.'
Peter Thomson has noticed several changes in the 50-plus years he has been at the British Open, from the course conditions to qualifying procedures to equipment -- even the accommodations.
'It was very difficult to get a room,' said Thomson, a five-time Open champion. 'We stayed in the Station Hotel up the road there somewhere, north of here. And of course, the London Express used to come through and the whole place would rattle.'
Thomson recalls in 1953 that a French player named Jean needed a place to stay. Roberto de Vicenzo offered the Frenchman to stay in his room, but none of the rooms had a bathroom. Guests had to go down a corridor to the public restroom.
'I had to get up at night and go down the corridor,' Thomson said. 'I stepped out of the room and here is a body with his back to the wall and his head down and his feet stretched out in the corridor, stark naked. I looked and it was Jean. He'd gone out of the room, and unfortunately, the latch must have locked the room because he couldn't get in without waking Roberto.'
Thomson suspects the lack of rooms is why Carnoustie went 24 years (1975 to 1999) without the British Open. And there's a message in there for the 156 players at Carnoustie this week.
'The players of today are really spoiled,' he said. 'And they've got to know that.'
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - 136th Open Championship
  • Getty Images

    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

    Getty Images

    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

    Getty Images

    Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

    What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

    Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    “I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

    McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

    He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

    Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

    “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

    Getty Images

    Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

    Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

    Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

    Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

    Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

    Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.