Scary Good Finish Weekley Saves Heritage Win

By Associated PressApril 16, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 Verizon HeritageHILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- Augusta National, get ready for Boo Weekley.
 
Perhaps no one fits the mold of the staid, in-control PGA TOUR pro less than Weekley, the 33-year-old country boy from the Florida Panhandle. He punctuates answers with 'reckon' and 'ain't,' and one time, in Texas, got so angry with his play, he put a hole in his golf bag with a club.
 
Boo Weekley
Boo Weekley's short game helped him save his first PGA TOUR win. (WireImage)
Now, after his first PGA TOUR victory at the Verizon Heritage on Monday, Weekley's got a spot in next year's Masters.
 
'I don't think the plaid's going to fit me,' said Weekley, picking at his tartan winner's coat. 'I'd like to have a green one to go along with.'
 
Weekley got that chance -- and made up for his heartbreaking loss at the Honda Classic last month -- with a pair of dramatic, par-saving chips on the 17th and 18th holes to defeat Ernie Els.
 
'Right now, it feels good,' he said. 'It ain't all sunk in yet.'
 
Along with $972,000 and a PGA TOUR exemption through 2008, Weekley becomes the first PGA TOUR winner to qualify for next year's Masters after Augusta National chairman Billy Payne restored a privilege taken away in 1999.
 
Weekley had gained the sympathy of golfers everywhere last month when he missed a 3-footer on the 72nd hole of the Honda Classic that would've given him the outright win. Instead, the 33-year-old Weekley fell into a four-man playoff eventually won by Mark Wilson.
 
Weekley got it done this time.
 
He nearly squandered a three-shot lead at Harbour Town Golf Links before his heart-stopping finish.
 
Weekley made bogey on the 16th, then muffed a chip behind the 17th green. He followed the blunder with a 40-foot, par-saving chip to keep a one-stroke lead.
 
But then Weekley had his troubles on Harbour Town's lighthouse hole, No. 18. He chipped across the green and into the fluffy rough down a short slope. Once again, Weekley's short game saved him, this time rolling it from 36 feet away.
 
Weekley never thought about his Honda gaffe from last month, confident his time in the spotlight would come.
 
When his first chip fell, Weekley thought 'this could be my day.' He knew it about 15 minutes later when he repeated the feat to close out the win.
 
'Unreal,' Weekley said. 'This is unreal.'
 
The Big Easy, bidding for his first TOUR win since 2004, lost his chance on No. 17, driving into the hazard behind the green for a bogey. Els made things interesting, though, putting his second shot -- and last opportunity to tie -- at the 18th inside 2 feet.
 
'I don't think I want to see this replay,' Els said, smiling.
 
Weekley finished with a 68 and was one in front of Els (70 ) and two ahead of Stephen Leaney (68). Masters champion Zach Johnson continued his inspired play a week after slipping on the green jacket with a 71 to finish sixth.
 
Difficulties with the weather Sunday forced the tournament to finish Monday for the first time since Jose Coceres defeated Billy Mayfair in a 2001 playoff.
 
The Verizon Heritage probably has never had a champion like Weekley, whose nickname comes from Yogi Bear's sidekick, Boo Boo. Weekley played golf for a year or so at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Ga., until it did away with the golf program 'for bullriding or something like that.'
 
When asked about being allergic to cotton products, Weekley compared it to ringworm, where 'little pus pockets pop up on your skin there.'
 
He didn't mind the Sunday delay until Monday because he had stayed up too late Saturday playing cards. Weekley's preparation for the final round last night? 'Ate about a handful of jelly beans and called it quits,' he said.
 
Els had opened the tournament with two 65s and appeared ready to pick up his first TOUR victory since 2004. Still, it's his seventh top-10 finish here in nine visits to Harbour Town.
 
Jerry Kelly, who used a hole-in-one Saturday to take the third-round lead, was still two shots in front at 15 under after an eagle on the par-5 second. His chance to end a nearly five-year-old victory drought slipped away when he drove into the water on No. 10. He finished with a 77.
 
Winds, though not as fierce as Sunday, continued to whip off Calibogue Sound, tilting flagsticks on Harbour Town's three closing holes when play resumed at 8 a.m.
 
PGA TOUR tournament director Slugger White stood off to the side on No. 16 early Monday, hands in pockets, monitoring for the severe gusts that moved resting golf balls off greens a day earlier.
 
The sand from a bunker along the left side of No. 16, blown back in the bunker overnight, again covered part of the fairway.
 
After hitting an approach to the 16th, Glen Day skipped up the fairway, singing, 'We're having a heat wave.' A group ahead, D.J. Trahan had a black knit winter cap pulled down over his ears.
 
When Trahan's trio hit into the Harbour Town's famous lighthouse hole, No. 18, their shots at the flag were carried several yards off the green and closer to the near empty grandstands than the cup.
 
Not everyone had trouble with that windy stretch: Ryan Armour went birdie-birdie-birdie through Nos. 16-18.
 
Weekley had his troubles with the conditions, too, just less than his competitors. Now that he's a PGA TOUR champion, Weekley expects to be the same fun-loving golfer who's spent the past four seasons on the Nationwide Tour.
 
'I ain't going to change,' he said, grinning. 'I ain't got no reason to.'
 
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

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    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

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    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

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    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

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