No camouflaging the fact that Weekley is thriving
The Carnoustie gallery started twittering Friday when they glimpsed his turtleneck, which looked as if his arms were covered in tattoos. But what kept them talking was a second-round 72 that has Boo Weekley contending in his first Open.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.com Chief of Correspondents
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland -- From a distance on Friday, Boo Weekley's forearms looked like they were covered with a spider web of tattoos.
In reality, he was wearing a turtleneck made out of camouflage material under his light blue shirt to ward off the chill of the Scottish summer. That didn't stop the murmur in the crowd, though.
"I've heard," Weekley said with a smile. "I mean, if I do, I got 'em all the way up my leg and my back. I ain't got no tattoos."
The speculation only served to increase the allure of the affable Floridian who appears as out-of-place at the 136th Open Championship as grits and red-eye gravy at a five-star restaurant. That is, until you realize how well he's playing.
Weekley fired a 1-over 72 at Carnoustie on Friday to finish the first 36 holes of his first Open Championship in red numbers. He'll start the weekend at 2 under, which leaves him just four strokes off the lead held by Sergio Garcia.
Still, Weekley wasn't completely satisfied. He only hit 60 percent of his fairways on Friday, as opposed to 73.3 percent the previous day. Weekley hit three fewer greens, as well, and took two more putts when he got there.
"We didn't have our A game today," Weekley reported. "We struggled off the tee a lot. Out here you got to drive the ball pretty straight and keep it out of the wind. If it gets in the air, the wind's going to take control of it, and we didn't do that a couple of times today.
"I was disappointed in losing a couple (coming home). I just struggled all day hitting the ball solid. We got away with a bunch of breaks today hitting-it-wise because I struggled off the tee and with my irons. I just chipped and putt it halfway decent today."
Sporting several days' growth of stubble on his chin, Weekley compared Carnoustie to the course he grew up playing in Milton, Fla. -- only a "whole lot shorter." Both are firm and fast, and he learned to bump shots onto the green there.
"You can use any club you want around the greens, which is a good thing," he said, in that syrupy southern drawl of his. "And the putting surface here is excellent. They're a little hard to read sometimes but they roll real good and they're real flat."
Like the proverbial Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's court, Weekley finds himself in an unfamiliar world, longing for sweet tea and fried chicken. He's made due, though, by visiting the tented village for a plate of Abroath smoked haddock "that's some of the best you'll ever eat."
Weekley had never been to the United Kingdom before last week when he played in the Barclays Scottish Open at Loch Lomond. He'd been to Canada -- "but that ain't really like leaving," he said -- and Mexico, but this is the first time he needed to use the passport he got last Christmas.
Weekley's ancestors -- or, kinfolk, as he probably would say -- are actually from Scotland. He "couldn't tell you" what part of the country, but, appropriately, he speculated from "down south on the border, I think."
Weekley knows what it feels like to be out of place, though. He said he was lost and nervous during his first stint on the PGA TOUR in 2002. After earning a second chance this year, Weekley found his comfort zone and picked up his first TOUR win at the Verizon Heritage.
"Me and my caddy Joe, we worked hard last year -- real, real hard," Weekley said. "Harder than I've worked in the last five years at it and that's the reason we're back out here this year.
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"We focus on a lot more things than I used to, I'd say, in the past, 'We focus on different spots; we got to hit it here, we got to hit it there. If we miss it we leave ourselves a chance to at least make par.' That's the whole thing -- keep yourself from making the bad numbers."
So now Weekley will play in the Masters next year, and he's contending in his first major championship here at Carnoustie. He's a millionaire several times over with more than $1.9 million in the bank this year alone. He ranks 14th in the FedExCup, as well.
"It is hard to believe," Weekley admitted. "But you know, it is just a matter of time. I'm a firm believer if you work at it, keep trying and keep believing, you're going to get where you want to go, especially in golf."
Even when you sometimes find yourself far away from home in Scotland.