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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Alabama faces 'buzzsaw' Arizona for NCAA title

By Ryan LavnerMay 23, 2018, 2:00 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – There was no way Laura Ianello could sleep Monday night, not after that dramatic ending at the NCAA Women’s Championship. So at 12:15 a.m., the Arizona coach held court in the laundry room at the Holiday Inn, washing uniforms and munching on mozzarella sticks and fried chicken strips from Sonic, her heart still racing.

Ianello got only three hours of sleep, and who could blame her?

The Wildcats had plummeted down the team standings during the final round of stroke-play qualifying, and were 19 over par for the day, when junior transfer Bianca Pagdanganan arrived on the 17th hole.

“Play the best two holes of your life,” Ianello told her, and so Pagdanganan did, making a solid par on 17 and then ripping a 6-iron from 185 yards out of a divot to 30 feet. There was a massive leaderboard positioned to the right of the par-5 18th green, but Pagdanganan never peeked. The only way for Arizona to force a play-five, count-four playoff with Baylor and reach match play was to sink the putt, and when it dropped, the Wildcats lost their minds, shrieking and jumping over the ropes and hugging anyone in sight.

Watching the action atop the hill, Alabama coach Mic Potter shook his head.

“I was really glad we didn’t win the tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed,” he said, “because they’re a buzzsaw with a lot of momentum.”

Given new life, Arizona dispatched Baylor by three strokes in the playoff, then turned its attention to top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals on Tuesday morning.

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage

Facing two first-team All-Americans, the Wildcats beat them, too, continuing the curse of the medalist. In the afternoon, worried that the adrenaline would wear off, Ianello watched her squad make quick work of Stanford, 4-1.

“They’ve got a lot of great momentum, a lot of great team energy,” Stanford coach Anne Walker said. “They thought they were going home, and now they’ve got a chip on their shoulder. They’re playing with an edge.”

After a marathon doubleheader Tuesday at Karsten Creek, Arizona now has a date with Alabama in the final match of this NCAA Championship.

And the Wildcats better rest up.

Alabama looks unstoppable.

“They’re rolling off a lot of momentum right now,” Ianello said. “We know Alabama is a good team. But they’re super excited and pumped. It’s not the high of making it [Monday]; now they’ve got a chance to win. They know they have to bring it.”

Even fully rested, Arizona will be a significant underdog against top-ranked Alabama.

After failing to reach match play each of the past two years, despite being the top overall seed, the Tide wouldn’t be stopped from steamrolling their competition this time.

They roughed up Kent State, 4-1, in the quarterfinals, then frontloaded their lineup with three first-team All-Americans – Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight – in their semifinal tilt against Southern Cal.

Potter said that he was just trying to play the matchups, but the move sent a clear signal.

“It gets pretty tedious when you never miss fairways and hole a lot of putts and your opponent knows that you’re not going to spray it,” Potter said. “That’s tough to match up against.”

They breezed to the first three points, draining any drama out of the semifinals. Of the 99 holes that Bama’s Big 3 played Tuesday, they trailed after only two.

“We’re always consistent,” Stephenson said, “and that’s exactly what you need in match play. Someone has to go really low to beat us.”

That Arizona even has that chance to dethrone the Tide seemed inconceivable a few months ago.

The Wildcats had a miserable fall and were ranked 39th at the halfway point of the season. On Christmas Day, one of the team’s best players, Krystal Quihuis, sent a text to Ianello that she was turning pro. Once she relayed the news, the team felt abandoned, but it also had a newfound motivation.

“They wanted to prove that they’re a great team, even without her,” Ianello said.

It also was a case of addition by subtraction: Out went the individual-minded Quihuis and in came Yu-Sang Ho, an incoming freshman whom Ianello described as a “bright, shining light.”

Because incorporating a top-tier junior at the midway point can be intimidating, Ianello organized a lively team retreat at the Hilton El Conquistador in Tucson, where they made vision boards and played games blindfolded.

They laughed that weekend and all throughout the spring – or at least until Pagnanganan made that last-ditch eagle putt Monday. Then tears streamed down Ianello’s face.

Folding uniforms after midnight, she regaled Alabama assistant coach Susan Rosenstiel with stories from their emotional day on the cut line, not even considering that they might face each other two days later for a national title. She was too delirious to ponder that.

“I feel like a new mother with a newborn baby,” Ianello said. “But we’re going off of adrenaline. This team has all the momentum they need to get it done.”

Yes, somehow, the last team into the match-play field might soon be the last team standing.

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Pairings, tee times set for championship match

By Jay CoffinMay 23, 2018, 1:02 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – Alabama coach Mic Potter has three first-team All-Americans on this team. It’s little surprise that all three are going out first in the Crimson Tide’s championship match against Arizona Wednesday at Karsten Creek.

Potter tinkered with his lineup in both the quarterfinal victory over Kent State and the semifinal win over USC. But with the NCAA title on the line, this one was a no brainer.

“We don’t want to sacrifice anything,” Potter said. “We just want to give ourselves a chance to win every match.”

Arizona kept its lineup the same all day Tuesday in defeating Pac-12 foes UCLA and Stanford in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. That meant junior Bianca Pagdanganan, the Wildcats grittiest player this week, was in the last match of the day. She won twice.

Now, with all the marbles riding on the championship match, Arizona coach Laura Ianello moved Pagdanganan up to the third spot to assure that her match is key to the final outcome.

Junior Haley Moore, Arizona’s best player all year, is in the fifth spot and will face Alabama senior Lakareber Abe.

“Win or lose tomorrow, this has been a helluva ride,” Ianello said.

Alabama (2) vs. Arizona (8)

3:25PM ET: Lauren Stephenson (AL) vs. Yu-Sang Hou (AZ)

3:35PM ET: Kristen Gillman (AL) vs. Gigi Stoll (AZ)

3:45PM ET: Cheyenne Knight (AL) vs. Bianca Pagdanganan (AZ)

3:55PM ET: Angelica Moresco (AL) vs. Sandra Nordaas (AZ)

4:05PM ET: Lakareber Abe (AL) vs. Haley Moore (AZ)

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Women's NCAA finals: Arizona vs. Alabama

By Jay CoffinMay 22, 2018, 11:49 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – It’s the SEC vs. the Pac 12 for the women’s NCAA Championship; Alabama vs. Arizona, to be more specific.

Both the Crimson Tide and Wildcats cruised in their respective semifinal matches Tuesday at Karsten Creek. Alabama easily beat USC, 3-1-1; Arizona defeated match-play juggernaut Stanford, 4-1.

Alabama’s top three players, Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight were unstoppable forces in both matches on the marathon day. Stacked in the top three positions in the semifinals all three won their matches on the 17th hole, making the last two matches inconsequential.

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage

Arizona, the eighth seed, won as decisively as second-seeded Alabama, but needed a miracle to be in this position in the first place.

Junior Bianca Pagdanganan drained a 30-footer for eagle on the last hole of stroke play on Monday to get the Wildcats into a playoff against Baylor, which they won on the second hole. Then on Tuesday, presumably running on fumes, they downed top-seeded UCLA in the morning, then crushed Pac-12 foe Stanford in the afternoon.

Pagdanganan, Gigi Stoll and Hayley Moore each won both matches for Arizona on the hot, draining day.

“I don’t want to let them down so I do my best to rise to the occasion,” Pagdanganan said.

Said Arizona coach Laura Ianello: “How many players, when you tell them under pressure that you need them, can really handle it,” Ianello said about Pagdanganan. “This kid can.”

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NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 11:30 pm

The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

After three days of stroke play, eight teams advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals were contested Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live finals action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.


TV Times (all times ET):

4-8PM: Match-play finals (Click here to watch live)