Weekley seeks three-peat at Heritage
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – Boo Weekley’s having too much fun at Harbour Town to worry about chasing history.
Weekley tries for three wins in a row at the Verizon Heritage when the PGA Tour event tees off this week. But if the folksy, self-proclaimed redneck is feeling any pressure to succeed here, he didn’t show it Wednesday.
“If I win, I win,” Weekley said, a wide grin on his face. “It ain’t like I ain’t going out there to try. If it happens, man, it’s going to happen. You know what I mean? There’s no sense forcing the issue. Just go out and enjoy life and enjoy what’s in front of you.”
That’s been Weekley’s credo long before the former chemical plant worker from the Florida Panhandle became a PGA Tour champion and U.S. Ryder Cup folk hero.
Now, he’s can achieve what no one else has on architect Pete Dye’s treacherous, maddening masterpiece.
For many here, it’s a week to catch their breath after the churning stomachs and rising pressure at the Masters – if they didn’t take the week off.
Masters winner Angel Cabrera isn’t here. Neither are the two players Cabrera beat in a playoff, Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell.
Tiger and Phil? Not here either.
In all, six of the world’s top 20 players are here. Just two of the top 11 Masters finishers – Steve Flesch and Jim Furyk – are playing.
Weekley wouldn’t miss this tournament for the world, especially after the past two years.
He broke through for his first tour win in 2007, chipping in on the 71st and 72nd holes to outlast Ernie Els.
Weekley doubled up last spring, his second career victory coming by three strokes over Aaron Baddeley and Anthony Kim.
Weekley’s only problem this week could be a balky back. He said he felt like he “slept on a cinderblock Sunday night,” and the pain has continued.
Weekley received stretching and heat treatments the past few days, although he was seen grimacing after a drive in Wednesday’s pro-am.
Weekley said he has scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine. “It’s something that will always be there, and my beer gut don’t help it,” he said.
Should Weekley threepeat, he’d be the tour’s first to make the same tournament his first three PGA Tour victories since Leonard Gullett, who won the Wisconsin PGA in 1929, 1933 and 1934, according to Dave Lancer of the PGA Tour.
That doesn’t include winners of the majors before the PGA was formed in 1916.
Weekley would also inch closer to Tiger Woods’ run of four straight wins at the Buick Invitational from 2005-2008, the tour’s most recent run of same-tournament success.
Weekley continued his stellar play well past Harbour Town. He was in the top 25 on the money list each of the last two years and cemented his place in U.S. Ryder Cup history with his game, his plainspoken words and his decidedly un-PGA Tour-like antics – remember that “Happy Gilmore” style gallop off the tee.
How often is Weekley asked to recreate his pony ride? “Everytime I tee it up and about every hole,” he said. “I can’t believe I still did it.”
Weekley wanted to bring more momentum into the Verizon Heritage, but he’s had only one top 10 finish this year and missed the cut at the Masters.
“It’s been a rough year so far,” he said.
Then again, Harbour Town’s narrowing fairways and smallish greens bring Weekley a confidence like few other spots on tour.
“It can look like the hardest course in the world and it can look fairly easy when you’re playing well and you know what you’re doing,” said Davis Love III, a five-time Verizon Heritage champion who’ll play with Weekley on Thursday and Friday.
Weekley apparently knows what’s he’s doing here. Even if he doesn’t, don’t expect to see him hang his head. Life’s too good for any of that sad-sack stuff.
He joked about blowing past Love’s Harbour Town wins mark. “That’s going to be shot out of the window,” he said. “I’m going to give him six.”
He compared Harbour Town to a couple of his favorites in the Panhandle, then discussed a new remedy for one of the South’s most infamous plagues – the no’see-ums.
Weekley learned from a Seattle golf pro that a few dabs of the mouthwash – Listerine – on exposed skin would keep the invisible pests from biting. Only things didn’t go so well when Weekley used it.
“I tried it with Scope,” Weekley cackled. “But they like Scope.”