Golf is better when Tiger Woods is winning tournaments and the only thing that makes it more fun is when Boo Weekley wins, too. He’s a redneck and talks like one (“ain’t” is a regular in his vocabulary), loves beer (the cheap, American kind) and singing (if you’re walking down the fairway with him, he’ll likely be crooning and making up his own lyrics to a familiar tune), and I’m pretty sure he golfs to support his fishing habit.
What you see is what you get, though he is smarter than he may lead you to believe, and everybody loves Boo, who broke his five-year victory drought at the Colonial Invitational.
Boo’s near-flawless ballstriking separated him from the pack of nineteen players that were all four shots within the lead at the start of the final round at Colonial Country Club. (Ugh, I took him off my Fantasy team after he missed the cut last week and I watched him spazzing on the range on Tuesday, but I’ve been informed that he showed up to Byron Nelson at 4pm on Wednesday and his meltdown I witnessed was just Boo being Boo.)
While he missed some short putts coming down the stretch on Sunday, his putting in the first three rounds was better than usual for Boo, whose strength isn’t on the greens.
“Just look at his stats,” said his swing coach Scott Hamilton, brushing aside the ones Boo left out there. “He putted really well, especially for Boo. He might have missed a few Sunday, but those were just nerves.”
Since Weekley’s last claim to fame as a member of the victorious 2008 U.S. Ryder Cup, where he galloped down the fairway celebrating, he has battled with nagging injuries, including a torn labrum and cysts in his rectum (seriously, he’ll describe the whole gruesome issue in detail, too).
“It feels good to actually have butterflies again, knowing that I’m in this, an opportunity to maybe win,” Weekley said, who has three other top-ten finishes this season. “I might have shot 80 today. But I didn’t. It was my time to win.”
Boo didn’t look at the leaderboard until the 13th hole when he saw his name at the very top. He had a 22-footer for birdie and rolled it in to get to 14-under, where he finished at the end of regulation.
“That’s when I realized, ‘Wow, here I go.’ I need to do something, either hold on to it or try to make a couple of more birdies,” Weekley said. “I knew I was hitting the ball too well just to hold on.”
He knocked his tee shot on the par-3 17th to three feet, but he missed the birdie putt — not that it mattered. He had pulled ahead with consecutive birdies on nos. 8-10 and never looked back. Scott Stallings threatened earlier in the day, but he double-bogeyed the 15th while Boo was making the turn. Matt Kuchar, the highest-ranked player in the field, holed a 20-footer on the 18th hole to move to solo second and made it look closer than it actually it was.
Last time Boo played his way to the winner’s circle — besides the Ryder Cup — was the 2008 Heritage when he successfully defended his title. This was his third career victory. At The Heritage, the champ receives a tartan jacket and at Colonial, the winner also gets a similar red plaid jacket, but don’t ask Boo to tell them apart.
“I couldn’t tell you, it’s been so long,” said Boo, who also secured his spot in the U.S. Open by moving to no. 55 in the world rankings.
Hamilton, his swing coach, said he worked with Boo at the range on getting back down the line, instead of laid off — that was why Boo was having a mini-meltdown earlier in the week. I watched him pound balls for hours and I’d actually never seen him so serious on the range because ballstriking is always his strength. He clearly got things figured out with the help of Hamilton.
But putting is where Boo struggles and that’s what usually prevents him from winning tournaments — he hits it as good or better than anyone. The secret?
“We got him a double-overlap putting grip this week and it was on,” said Hamilton in a phone conversation on Sunday night before he had to take Boo’s call on the other line (I understood, begrudgingly).
Scott *always* says that Boo would have 20-something victories if he could just putt half-decent. I believe him, but kind of brush it off because, I mean, what teacher doesn’t say that about his student?? Well, it was quite the week for Hamilton, who also teaches Matt Every (T4) and Tim Herron, among others. He said it was pretty much the best ever — after all, two of his students finished in the top five. Yeah, I’d take that.
Every, who was struggling this season aside from a T9 at the Phoenix Open, started working with Hamilton in April, and since then, the results have gotten progressively better.
And the last word goes to Boo: “I finally get my name on that wall with Ben Hogan and some of the greats that have played here. It’s awesome.”
Oh, here’s the video of Boo’s celebration at the ’08 Ryder Cup at Valhalla: