Wilson Wins Weekley the Story


Now the secret is out on Thomas Brent Weekley. Father of Thomas Parker Weekley.
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.

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