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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Heading to Augusta

Tomorrow, Jay Payne and I will begin working our way down to Augusta to watch the Masters practice round on Monday. I'm very much looking forward to getting back there again and am curious to see if I will notice the changes that have been made to the course in the past few years. The last time I was at Augusta was in 2001, and most of the changes before then involved length.

On our way down, we'll be playing Duke University Golf Club, Bryan Park (Champions), Tot Hill Farm, and Clemson's Walker Course.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Boo Weekley: Goofball or Godsend?

Much has been made recently of Boo Weekley. If you don't know who he is yet, pay attention to the golf websites and TV during the next few months; I guarantee you'll hear about him.

Boo qualified for the Tour in 2002, but he couldn't cut it. He was way out of his depth socially, and due partially to his discomfort with new environment and with the pressure that accompanies playing in big tournaments, he couldn't keep his card. However, he's back and better than ever.

He has quite a game, but his personality and hillbilly tendencies make him stick out from all of the other Tour players, including John Daly. There are some hicks banging around, but none are as unsophisticated as Weekley. His exploits with chewing tobacco, cotton allergies, camouflage, and sneakers are well-known, and his "aw-shucks" attitude are dividing golf fans everywhere.

I think the Tour needs more guys like Boo. It needs characters who are not putting people on or acting out a role. It needs the genuine article, a naif who throws around "nothings" and "aints" like someone out of a William Faulkner novel. He might not be the kind of guy you'd hang out with on the weekend, nor would he be your first choice as a business partner, but he sure makes the vanilla Tour more entertaining when he's in contention.

In last week's Honda Classic, Boo was 39 inches away from stardom. He missed the putt. He admitted that he was shaking like a leaf, but he actually put a nice stroke on it; it was just way too hard. So, he went into extra innings with Jose Coceras, Camilo Villegas, and Mark Wilson. The four golfers demonstrated how diverse the Tour is (two Latin Americans, one clean-cut player, and one hillbilly), but you have to figure most of the audience (and the Tour brass) were rooting for anyone but Boo to win.

Me? I was hoping Boo would have made the putt in regulation or won in the playoff. Mark Wilson, the eventual winner, was gritty, didn't give up, and made putts from everywhere to stay alive. Hats off to him. He's very likeable. But Boo would have made an interesting champion who could be a Godsend for a Tour that could use as many true characters as it can find.