Weekleys Wild Week Just Getting Started

By Associated PressJanuary 1, 2008, 5:00 pm
2007 Mercedes Benz ChampionshipKAPALUA, Hawaii -- Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were among four PGA TOUR winners who decided to stay home from the Mercedes-Benz Championship and the start of the 2008 season.
 
Boo Weekley thought he might be staying home, too, although not by choice.
 
He left his tiny town in the Florida Panhandle at the crack of dawn Friday and didn't arrive in paradise until the early morning hours Sunday. That he made it as far as Kapalua was a minor miracle, considering an oversight that showed how little golf and how much time Weekley has been spending in his beloved outdoors.
 
Airport security found two bullets from his rifle in his carry-on bag.
 
'That was kind of like, right out of the gate started the whole week for me,' Weekley said Monday. 'They put the red flags on me. I had the cops there. I thought I was going to jail.'
 
He used that bag during a hunting trip to Illinois and never saw them when he packed for Hawaii. But as Weekley soon discovered, those airport scanning machines don't miss much.
 
'I just begged and pleaded,' he said. 'I just sat there and shook my head like I was an idiot, you know? They confiscated the bullets and then broke down a bunch of stuff, got in everything and put a flag by me. They said they were going to red flag me.'
 
Once he got out of that mess and arrived in Atlanta, he missed his connection by minutes and had to spend the night. Weekley, his wife and son and her parents then caught a flight Saturday morning to Los Angeles, where they spent nine hours in the airport because of delays.
 
But it was good to finally arrive and soak in the view from his villa of the Pacific Ocean, with the occasional splash of humpback whales if he can see through the clouds and rain.
 
'It's a pretty view,' Weekley said. 'I live on the water down where I live. It's just a different name for it. It's called the Pacific here instead of the gulf.'
 
The Mercedes-Benz Championship is for winners only, but it will have only a 31-man field when the season begins Thursday. Woods, a seven-time winner in 2007, is skipping for the third straight year. Mickelson hasn't been to Kapalua since 2001. British Open champion Padraig Harrington typically takes a long break in Ireland this time of the year, and Adam Scott called over the weekend to say he was taking the week off because of exhaustion.
 
Those that showed up are reminded of what got them here, especially someone like Weekley.
 
Last year was his second try on the PGA TOUR, and after blowing a good chance at the Honda Classic -- he three-putted from 30 feet on the last hole to fall into a four-man playoff, won by Mark Wilson -- he captured his first PGA Tour victory a month later by chipping in twice and beating Ernie Els in the Verizon Heritage at Hilton Head.
 
But when asked his biggest thrill of 2007, Weekley pointed more toward the loss.
 
'I learned more about myself at the Honda than however long I've been playing golf,' Weekley said. 'I learned that I'm a better person than I thought I was -- a better player. Three-putting the last hole ... I felt like crying, but at the same time, I felt joy that, 'Hey, I put myself in this place.' It was my opportunity. I'm the one that choked. It's my fault. I can handle this.
 
'I might not succeed, but I can handle it.'
 
He handled it beautifully, and he succeeded.
 
Weekley finished 23rd on the money list with over $2.6 million, and wound up representing the United States with good friend Heath Slocum at the World Cup in China, where they lost to Scotland in a playoff.
 
Weekley made fast friends along the way, especially with Colin Montgomerie, who couldn't stop talking about the country boy from the Florida Panhandle a few weeks ago at the Target World Challenge.
 
'He's a character, Boo,' Montgomerie said. 'I'll tell you what, Boo can play golf. Boo is very good. Boo is excellent. And he's got that complete, laid-back attitude that is superb for this game. He doesn't seem to care. It's amazing how many putts go in when you don't seem to be bothered, and that's him.'
 
Weekley is among 14 newcomers to Kapalua. That includes Sony Open winner Paul Goydos, whose previous victory in 1996 was when the Mercedes-Benz Championship was held at La Costa.
 
Brandt Snedeker might be sharper than most, having played in Japan and Australia, where he lost by one shot in the Australian Open. But he got the flu on Christmas Eve and was still trying to get this strength back.
 
Still, his outlook is far different from last year, when he was a rookie on the PGA Tour with low expectations.
 
'Last year, my main goal was to keep a job for this year,' said Snedeker who won the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro and was voted rookie of the year. 'This year, I want to put myself in contention a lot, give myself a lot of chances to win and be there in the majors. I have a much more specific game plan this year.'
 
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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

     

     

    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.