Weekley proud to return to Kapalua for third time

By Doug FergusonJanuary 3, 2014, 8:07 pm

KAPALUA, Hawaii – The one culinary credo of Boo Weekley is to never eat or drink anything he can't pronounce.

But he doesn't have to be able to spell it. ''That wouldn't leave a lot,'' he said.

And that's why he didn't mind giving up his preferred choice of beer for what he calls – and spells – a ''My Tie'' when he returned to Maui for the Tournament of Champions. He could have done without that little umbrella, but he'll just add that to his list of new experiences in this wacky and wonderful life that golf has afforded.

One of the most colorful characters on the PGA Tour, he is proud to be among the 30 winners at Kapalua for the start of a new year.

Truth is, Weekley never thought he would last this long.

''That's just the way I am,'' he said. ''I get tired of something, and then I want to go try something else.''

It seems like a long time ago when the 40-year-old from the back woods of the Florida Panhandle first made it through Q-school wearing tennis shoes and rain pants (regular britches gave him a rash), and telling folk he went to ABAC (Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College), as if the acronym were as familiar as UCLA.

He didn't last but one year on the PGA Tour, and then returned to the minor leagues for four seasons before he made his way back, and this time stayed. He won at Hilton Head two straight years. He played on the Ryder Cup team in 2008, galloping off the first tee with his driver in a scene right out of ''Happy Gilmore.''

This is his third trip to Kapalua, and one he relishes the most.

Weekley tried to play through a shoulder injury a few years ago and it nearly cost him his livelihood. He failed to make it out of Q-school in 2011, played the following year main on sponsor exemptions and regained his card in the final event of 2012 when he tied for fifth at Disney. So to win again last year at Colonial, to make it back to the Tour Championship for the first time in six years, to book a flight to Hawaii for the start of a new year, well, he was just pleased as punch.

''It proved to myself I can come back after a drawn-out injury that could have been prevented if I would have stopped and took care of it instead of playing through it,'' he said, referring to a torn labrum in his left shoulder.

The idea of being forgotten was never a concern. Golf already has given him more than he expected.

Weekley was living in a trailer when he first got his PGA Tour card in 2001. His last-place finish at East Lake in September pushed his career earnings over $11 million. He now lives on five acres in Jay, Fla., not far from the 460 acres he has for hunting and fishing. He also has a couple of townhouses on the beach, and another lot near the water that he might develop. Golf paid for all that. If not for his two sons, 12 and 5, he might still be living in a trailer.

''You don't need much, just a place to keep your clothes,'' he said.

Weekley is as much known for what comes out of his mouth as the scores he puts on a card.

Like that first time he went to Scotland, playing at Loch Lomond ahead of the British Open at Carnoustie. He was paired one day with Paul Lawrie and while making small talk, asked him if he had qualified for the Open, unaware that Lawrie had won the claret jug in 1999.

The one regret was the time he was caught using foul language on Golf Channel during the first year of the Puerto Rico Open – he forgot the name of the tournament, referring to it as ''that place Chi Chi Rodriguez is from.'' Weekley says he was fined, and he was embarrassed at the prospect of his grandparents and kids hearing it.

After all these years, phrases like ''Thank you'' and ''Yes, sir'' roll easily off his tongue.

Last year in a restaurant in Houston, Weekley ordered seven pounds of crawfish (as an appetizer) and ate them as easily as a bag of potato chips. While the pile of crawfish was impressive, so was the sight of his cap resting on his knee beneath the table. Weekley doesn't sit down for a meal in a restaurant wearing a cap. His parents taught him better than that.

His idol on the PGA Tour is Steve Stricker.

Weekley sees a small comparison because Stricker also disappeared from golf for several years before making his way back in a big way, rising to No. 2 in the world at one point and becoming a regular in the Ryder Cup. He's more impressed with how Stricker puts a priority on his time at home (not to mention a deer stand).

''He's somebody I'd like to follow,'' Weekley said. ''He's always positive. We need people like that, instead of people who embellish who they are, what they want to be and who they ain't. It ain't about money out here. It's about camaraderie and respect for one another.''

Weekley probably won't get to No. 2 in the world. He has never been higher than No. 23.

A decent end to 2013 moved him up to No. 54. He played three times – Malaysia, Shanghai and Sea Island. That's right – Boo does Asia. And he likes it.

Even the food.

''I ate a lot of rice,'' he said. ''I like rice, as long as they let me put my own stuff on it. You can bring me white rice or brown rice, just let me doctor it up. Don't be putting any of that Fung-man-egg-choo stuff in there.''

That's not how it's pronounced. Which is probably why he didn't want to eat it.

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Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.

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Garcia cruises to five-shot win in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:10 pm

SINGAPORE - Sergio Garcia played 27 holes on the last day without dropping a shot to win the Singapore Open by five strokes Sunday in an ominous display of his newfound self-belief as he prepares to defend his Masters title.

Still brimming with confidence after claiming his first major title at Augusta National last year, Garcia started his new season with a runaway victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, finishing at 14-under 270.

Returning to the course just after dawn to complete his third round after play was suspended on Saturday because of lightning strikes, Garcia finished his last nine holes in 4 under for a round of 66 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.

With organizers desperate to avert the constant threat of more bad weather and finish the tournament on time, Garcia promptly returned to the first tee shortly after and fired a flawless 3-under 68, cruising to victory with 10 straight pars as his rivals floundered in the stifling humidity.

''It may have looked easy, but it wasn't easy. You still have to hit a lot of good shots out there,'' Garcia said. ''It's always great to start with a win, to do it here at this golf course against a good field in Asia on conditions that weren't easy. Hopefully I can ride on this momentum.''

Garcia's closest rivals at the end were Japan's Satoshi Kodaira (71) and South African Shaun Norris (70). Both birdied the last hole to share second spot but neither was ever close enough on the last day to challenge the leader.

Full-field scores from the Singapore Open

''I could not reach Sergio. I was thinking, 12 or 13 under for the win, but he went beyond that,'' Kodaira said.

Jazz Janewattananond (71) and his fellow Thai Danthai Bonnma (73) finished equal fourth at 8 under, earning themselves a spot in this year's British Open, while American Sean Crocker, who was given an invitation to the event after turning pro late last year, also won a place at Carnoustie by finishing in a tie for sixth.

Garcia made just three bogeys in 72 holes and his victory provided the 38-year-old with the 33rd title of his professional career and his sixth on the Asian Tour.

He has also won three titles in the last 12 months, including the Masters, and his game looks to be in better shape now than it was a year ago.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for Augusta National because of the steamy conditions and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament, which is regularly stopped because of inclement weather.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore a year ago, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

"I'm extremely happy with how the week went. It was a tough day and a tough week, with the stopping and going. Fortunately, the weather held on. Still, it was hard to play 27 holes under this heat and I can't wait to get a cold shower,'' Garcia said. ''I came with some good confidence and wishing that I will play well. I hit the ball solid the whole week and didn't miss many shots.''

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Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.