One-of-a-kind Weekley gunning to get back Tour card

By Randall MellOctober 17, 2012, 1:30 pm

Boo Weekley still looks like he walked out of the pages of a Dan Jenkins novel.

Country-boy strong with a blacksmith’s hands, plow-horse thighs and that colorful Southern drawl, Weekley’s story continues to sound like a figment of some writer’s imagination.

Even in his struggles this year, the tale grows.

While Weekley, 39, has been absent from the game’s spotlight for a few difficult years, he’s back in it this week at the McGladrey Classic. He’s back for reasons he would prefer not to be.

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Weekley is perched at No. 121 on the PGA Tour money list, making him one of the fall’s “bubble boys” in the quest to earn PGA Tour fully exempt playing privileges next year. After McGladrey, Weekley will get one more shot at securing a top-125 finish at the season-ending Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic Nov. 8-11. The Disney-based event announced Tuesday that it had extended a sponsor exemption.

Highly motivated to turn around his game, Weekley wants to write a happy ending to his unlikely story.

“It’s embarrassing, how is that? Just the way I’ve been playing the last two years,” Weekley said during the Children’s Miracle Network media day. “I don’t care if I’ve been hurt or not.”

Weekley’s injuries go beyond his third shoulder surgery at the start of this season.

In his typically guileless manner, he revealed Tuesday that one of his injuries has literally been a pain in the rear.

“I had cysts in my rectum,” Weekley said. “How do you put that?”

That’s pretty much how you put it, he was told.

Pain has been an unwelcome companion this year.

Weekley has had three surgeries this season, one on his shoulder, two to remove those cysts.

After losing his PGA Tour card last year and failing to make it through Q-School, Weekley is working to earn his status back mostly through sponsor exemptions. This week he will play his 24th event of the season. Two-thirds of his starts have come through sponsor invites.

Though Weekley has won twice in his career, he says winning his card back will feel like a victory.

“It will make a big difference in how I feel as a player,” Weekley said. “My big thing right now is I have no self esteem on the golf course. I have no confidence on the golf course.

“Ever since I came back from that hiney surgery, that is how I’ve felt.”

In ’09, Weekley hurt his left shoulder jamming his club into a hillside in the final round of The Players Championship. He hasn’t been the same since. He had one surgery on that shoulder in 2010, another at the start of this year. He had his first surgery on the rotator cuff in his left shoulder as a boy in ’87 or ’88 after he hurt himself playing baseball.

This spring, Weekley finally started feeling good about his game again, only to endure the setback those cysts caused in April at the RBC Heritage, an event he won in ’07 and ’08.

“I started hurting at Hilton Head on Saturday night,” Weekley said. “On Sunday, I felt like I could hardly walk. I went over to [the Texas Open], and I couldn’t walk at all.”

Weekley had the first cyst removed in outpatient surgery the week after, but the pain didn’t go away. Another MRI revealed a larger cyst, and he had that removed, too.

“They had to put me out for that one,” Weekley said. “I’ve been fighting ever since then because I’ve lost all my confidence.”

Weekley missed a month of the season recovering.

Feeling better physically now, he is still waiting for his game to return fully. He has missed his last four cuts in a row, seven of his last nine.

“The shoulder feels great now, but there are still some problems, some tightness in it,” Weekley said. “It won’t ever get right, I don’t think.”

There was some inspiration for Weekley at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic media day. That’s where he met Chandler Fullman, a 16-year-old junior at Hoover High School outside Birminham, Ala., who was chosen by the children’s network to represent the hospitals in the tournament’s pro-am competition. Fullman collapsed as a freshman while working out at school the day he was supposed to try out for the golf team. He fell into a coma and didn’t wake up for nearly six weeks.

Diagnosed with AVM, Arteriovenous Malformation, an abnormal connection between veins and arteries, Fullman had to learn to walk again and hit golf balls again, but he’s rebounding promisingly.

Fullman didn’t know Weekley was going to be attending media day on Tuesday at Disney World, but it was great timing. Just this past week, Fullman filed a book report in English class. He chose to review “True Boo,” Weekley’s autobiography.

“I hope he gets better grades than I did,” Weekley cracked.

Fullman and Weekley hit it off.

“I like Boo because he is such a down-to-earth, normal guy,” Fullman said. “He is like his book. He is true Boo. And being from Hoover, Ala., he talks just like we do.”

Fullman’s story inspired Weekley.

“If it doesn’t inspire you, you don’t have a heart,” Weekley said.

Not so long ago, Weekley said he wouldn’t be long for the PGA Tour. His great aim was to make enough money so he could retire early and hunt and fish more.

Weekley says his ambitions have changed, the injuries changed them.

“I am looking at it very differently,” he said. “I have to make this happen. I don’t want to go out and have you all writing that I left on a hard note.”

Weekley wants his larger-than-life golf tale to have that happy ending.

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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry