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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PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

PGA Tour:

The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.

LPGA:

We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

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Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm

Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:16 pm

Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.

Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.

Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.

The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.