Wilson Wins Weekley the Story
Not to be confused with Boo Radley.
Which was the character invented by Truman Capotes close friend Harper Lee and played in the movie To Kill A Mockingbird by Robert Duvall in his first cinematic role.
Are you scared yet?
Apparently Mark Wilson wasnt. Weekley was the most compelling figure in Mondays continuation of the four-way playoff that began in the twilight late Sunday at the Honda Classic.
He did everything but win. Wilson took care of that part by making a birdie on the third playoff hole to eliminate Jose Coceres. Weekley and Camilo Villegas had dropped out a hole earlier with bogeys.
Weekley had chewed and spat and scratched and clawed all week long down in Palm Beach Gardens which is in the same state as Weekleys home town of Milton yet a million miles from Boos Florida Panhandle identity.
Trouble was, when it came right down to winning time, he couldnt shake in a 39-incher on the 72nd hole. And that let Wilson, Villegas and Coceres back into the turkey shoot.
Nerves got me, said Boo.
But for better or worse the Honda Classic was terrific stuff all week long. Nobody anywhere near the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking was anywhere near the leaderboard as daylight dwindled Sunday. Yet, as much as any event on the PGA TOUR so far this year, it was a tournament you couldnt take your eyes off of.
(And before you go all Strunk & White on me, it absolutely was a tournament worth ending a sentence with two prepositions.)
So many players were still prowling around the lead well into the latter stages of the final round. So much built-in drama awaited all of them at the vaunted Bear Trap, the three-hole stretch beginning at the Par 3 15th at PGA National.
Villegas, the stylists stylist from Colombia by way of Gainesville, came out of the pack with birdies at 16 and 17 to pull within a shot of the lead. But he fired and fell back. His wedge into the par 5 18th missed the green to the right and was lucky to stay dry. He thought he needed birdie. He made par.
But hold on: Five-under turned out to be good enough for more golf. Robert Allenby, who once won a six-man playoff at Riviera in 2001, bogeyed 15 and 16 and missed overtime by one. Tripp Isenhour hit a perfect putt on the 72d hole. And all it didnt do was go in the hole. Both finished at four under.
Charlie Wi, the journeyman native South Korean by way of Cal-Berkeley, had led much of the tournament and survived a triple bogey early in his Friday round. As late as the ninth tee Sunday he was still hanging around at five under. Alas for him, the early part of the inward half stopped him cold.
Its going to be a nervous last hour, NBC-TVs Johnny Miller predicted over the air with equally parts glee and foreboding as the leaders reached the final holes.
Allenby hadnt won since 2001. Villegas had never won. Wilson had been to Q-School each of the last 10 years. The charmingly countrified Weekley, another non-winner, hadnt been outside of Milton, Fl. for very much of his life.
And then there was Coceres, who birdied his first five holes Sunday. Had he done much in the United States other than parring the fifth playoff hole to nudge Billy Mayfair for first place at Harbour Town in 2001? Actually he had also won at Disney that same year. But he was 43 years old now and had to be wondering how many more chances like this he was going to get.
In the end, Wilson had the goods. He even survived a two-shot penalty incurred Friday when his caddie, Chris Jones, revealed to his playing competitors what club he had used on the tee of the fifth hole.
Villegas will live to fight another day. And it will be left to Weekley to gnaw the hardest on this defeat.
The media was poised to announce a new folk hero. And it was Boo Weekley, a genuinely aw shucks kind of guy.
Said Boo, when it was finally over: Thats golf. His five-year-old son, Thomas Parker Weekley, would still love him, Boo said. And that counted for a whole lot.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.
The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.
McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.
McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.
''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''
Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.
''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''
McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.
''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''
The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.
''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''
The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.
Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel
If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days engaging pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.
Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:
When in the Middle East... pic.twitter.com/lNv1Lh79E0— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) January 16, 2018
If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGCC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:
Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."
Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."
I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H
And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.
Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational
Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.
The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.
Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.
“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”
Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews
Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.
Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.