The Man In Boo Weekleys Shadow

By Brian HewittNovember 9, 2007, 5:00 pm
If you took Heath Slocum, who grew up in rural Florida, and paired him in a two-man press conference with, say, Henry Kissinger, one of the great dialoguists of the 20th century, Slocum would come off sounding like..well.Boo Weekley.
But if you took Slocum and put him in a two-man press conference with Weekley, who also grew up in rural Florida, Slocum would come off sounding like Kissinger.
To be sure, Slocum and Weekley are both golf smart. And just because a person drawls doesnt mean he or she is not intelligent. The point here is this: If Slocum sounds just a little country when he talks; Weekley is a double order of the same with molasses on top.
Actually the PGA TOUR did put Weekley and Slocum together on a two-man podium recently. This was because the two were high school teammates in tiny Milton, Fla., and will renew that competitive bond later this month as teammates representing the U.S. at the World Cup in China.
Just as the good Dr. Kissinger used to advise President Nixon about Chinese politics, you can be sure Slocum will spend a good deal of his time advising good friend Weekley on food, customs and many other things Chinese when they get to Asia.
This is the same Boo Weekley who traveled to Scotland this year for his first Open Championship and said it wasnt all that bad. After all, he said, they spoke American over there.
This is the same Boo Weekley who has been charming the blogs off of golf writers for several years now with his simplified ways and aw shucks personality. This is the same Boo Weekley who, through no fault of his own, has cost Slocum a lot of hard-earned publicity.
Consider the following:
  • Heath Slocum made 22 of 28 cuts this year; had six top 10s and won $2.184 million in official earnings.
  • Slocum finished No. 30 on the money list, having already earned an invitation to the 2008 Masters by virtue of playing his way into the TOUR Championship.
  • Slocum is a two-time career winner on the PGA TOUR and, this year, wound up third in scoring average (70.13) despite finishing 172d in driving distance.
    Scoring, by the by, was again the province of Tiger Woods whose end-of-season average of 69.1 was a full shot better than surprising No. 2, Jeff Overton. For his part, Slocum had the lowest scoring average on the PGA TOUR of any player who completed more than 60 official rounds.
    Anyway, when Boo and Heath wound up in the pressroom at the same time, most of the gathered media chose to feature Weekley in their reports.
    But it was Slocum who assumed the role of official team captain when the two were asked about representing their country in a foreign land and why it meant so much.
    Its still pride, Slocum said. Pride between the both of us and, yeah, American pride. Again, were going to be the only two Americans in the field. We definitely want to play well for ourselves and our country. This is as close to the Olympics as you can get in golf, I suppose, right now.
    The Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup doesnt truly let every country in. I think its just going to be a blast. And, yeah, I dont think either of us want to make the trip during Thanksgiving that far around the world to not play well. Were going there definitely to win.
    Slocum has played in Japan and he knows it will take about 18 hours in the air to get to China. Boo said something about a crop duster when asked about his travel plans.
    Weekley and Slocum will both be playing in their first Masters next April. Look for them together during their practice rounds and at the Waffle Hut for breakfast on Washington Road.
    The trip to Georgia will be shorter than the one to China. Weekley at Augusta National will be a novelty story again. But dont take your eyes off of Slocum. The way he manages his game and attacks a golf course is not unlike the style of Zach Johnson.
    Zach Johnson is the defending champion. No, Slocum will not be any kind of favorite at the 2008 Masters. But dont bet against him showing up in the press room later in the week than his good friend, Boo.
    Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
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    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.” 

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    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.”

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    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.