Boo Plays Britains Bumpkin

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CARNOUSTIE, Scotland -- Now that 'The Beverly Hillbillies' is no longer on the telly, Boo Weekley has become Britain's favorite bumpkin.
 
In Friday's episode, the man who never leaves the Florida panhandle for long and was named after his favorite cartoon character -- Yogi Bear's sidekick, Boo-Boo -- followed up an opening-round 68 with a 72 and was four strokes off the lead midway through the British Open. Afterward, he met with reporters.
 
Q: What about things away from the course, food, things like that?
 
A: It's rough. It's been rough on that food. It's different eatin' here than it is at the house. Ain't got no sweet tea, and ain't got no fried chicken. ...
 
Q: What about driving around? Is that putting you off?
 
A: I ain't drivin'. I ain't drivin' nowhere.
 
Q: Scary?
 
A: I think so. On the wrong side of the road? Yes, sir.
 
Weekley would be a great story anywhere. He turns 34 on Monday, 10 years after turning pro and working as a laborer at a chemical plant before that. Weekley finally made it through qualifying school in time for the 2002 PGA Tour season, but finished 200th, lost his playing card and scuffled around the Nationwide Tour for the next four years.
 
He returned to the big time by finishing seventh on the minor-league circuit's money list in 2006. In 20 events this season, he's already banked $1.9 million and may be best known in the States -- if at all -- for missing a heart-wrenching 3-footer for par to win the Honda Classic, then losing in a four-way playoff. That, and for playing in nylon golf pants because cotton gives him a rash.
 
On his second tour of Carnoustie, under those nylon pants and a short-sleeve, powder blue shirt, Weekley again wore the camouflage long johns he uses for huntin' and fishin' -- two things he loves as much as golf. The long sleeves helped keep him warm, but they also made Weekley look as though he had tattoos on both arms, running from his elbow to his wrist.
 
Turns out Weekley's family hails from somewhere nearby, even if he isn't sure exactly where that is.
 
Q: What did you know about Britain, or Scotland, before you came here?
 
A: I would say my family was from here. That's all I knew. I knew it was a long way from where I grew up.
 
Q: Did they tell you much about it?
 
A: No, sir.
 
Q: Any background?
 
A: No, sir.
 
Q: Where, exactly, is your family from?
 
A: I couldn't tell you that, neither. But I know they're from here, south of here, down south on the border down there, I think. That's all I know.
 
Incredibly, Weekley knows even less about golf's oldest tournament than about his ancestral home.
 
Q: Did you watch any British Opens in the last, say, 15 years?
 
A: No.
 
Q: You didn't?
 
A: If I did, I was flicking through there and wondering who it was or something like that, but I didn't. I don't watch golf.
 
Q: There wasn't a curiosity?
 
A: No.
 
Q: Do you know about the previous champions and great players?
 
A: No.
 
Weekley was not joking. Last weekend, he played the Scottish Open paired for two rounds with local hero Paul Lawrie, who won the British Open at Carnoustie in 1999.
 
Lawrie took home a pile of money, the claret jug and an invitation to every Open until he's 65. But the Scotsman has often said he never got the respect that accomplishment deserved because most people remember Jean Van de Velde's spectacular collapse at the 72nd hole.
 
At one point during their round, Weekley turned to Lawrie and asked whether he was playing in the Open this week. (Boo didn't know who Van de Velde was, either, but that's another story).
 
Q: Paul Lawrie, you apparently played with him last week?
 
A: Yeah. I kind of put my foot in my mouth there, didn't I? But I didn't know. If you don't know, you don't know. I hated what I said, especially with him just saying what he said a couple days before, that he don't get no respect. And then I say something like that. It's like wham! Here's a slap to your head.
 
Compared to Boo, former British Open champion John Daly is a sophisticate. Weekley never had a passport until he realized he'd need one to play a PGA TOUR event in Mexico earlier this year. Imagine how the Brits would feel seeing another claret jug cross the Atlantic to become a beer pitcher.
 
Q: Had you been out of the country before you went to Mexico?
 
A: I been to Canada once, but that ain't really like leaving. ...
 
Q: Are you thinking about going out for a drink and mixing with some of the locals?
 
A: No, probably not.
 
Q: They'd love to meet you.
 
A: Yeah, I'm pretty sure they would.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - 136th Open Championship
  • Full Coverage - 136th Open Championship