Boo does Scotland turning into a fun affair
Until last week, Boo Weekley had never been outside the United States. But after only a few days getting over the culture shock of his first trip to Scotland, he's eager to get his first Open Championship started. But he'll pass on the Blood pudding, thank you very much.
By Melanie Hauser, PGATOUR.com Correspondent
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland -- Over here, he's become a charming curiosity.
There's that backwoods twang. Those descriptions which split infinitives and butcher the King's -- or is it the Queen's? -- English. That aw-shucks, happy-to-be-here way he has of letting you know he's comfortable in his own skin. Those yes m'ams and yes sirs.
And, well, those other things that only Boo Weekley could do. With such a disarming charm, we add, that he was immediately -- give or take a Fleet Street headline about his tales of wrestling alligators away from his uncle's porch in Florida and getting in the ring with an orangutan -- forgiven for his sins.
Boo started by landing at Loch Lomond last week and wondering wasn't that the place with the monster? Uh, no. That would be Loch Ness.
He followed that up with a less regrettable moment. Boo was so excited to find out playing partner Paul Lawrie was playing in this 136th Open Championship, too, that he asked the Scot how he got in the field. Did he qualify?
It was from the heart, really. Boo doesn't do golf history so, well, he didn't know Lawrie at won the 1999 Open at Carnoustie, surviving a playoff with Justin Leonard and Jean van de Velde, whose infamous collapse overshadowed Lawrie's win. He really didn't.
"It might have insulted him by me saying that and if it did, I'll apologize to him." Boo said Tuesday afternoon.
But not for his lack of golf history. Boo just plays the game. Has a talent for it and proved it, winning this year's Verizon Heritage and playing his way to the Open for the first time. And, in case you didn't know, his first trip out of the United States.
Call it Boo does the UK. And hang on for dear life. Just like he did when the courtesy car picked him up at the airport.
"They drive on the wrong side of the road over here," he said. "They scare me to death. I got in a car and, well, I've never been over here; I've never been out of the country -- and I never knew they drove on the wrong side of the road. They took off and it was 'Whoa, where you going?'"
No, Boo doesn't drive over here. No way. But he will tell you the one from last week about another Loch Lomond volunteer and the John Deere six-wheeler.
It seems the other person in the courtesy car with him last week was running late to catch a plane and the driver tried to oblige. Players were still on the final three holes, the Deere Gator was on the side of the road and ....
"She just run up the side of it," he said, shaking his head. "Run right up the whole side of this brand-new BMW car on this John Deere tractor. I don't know if she tore the tractor up, but she scratched the pure you-know-what out of that car.
"It looked like she'd been down at Daytona. I looked down the side of that car, there's a green line down the side. Good night ... I was sittin' in the back seat and getting ready to climb into the trunk of it."
As for the food? Boo doesn't do Scottish cuisine either.
"I don't see how in the world they survive over here on some of this food they eat," he said. "Their taste buds are different. It's just a different culture than the United States."
Here, he's eating fish. Lots of it. What he isn't eating? Blood pudding. Or porridge.
"I tried some white stuff the other day, it looked like grits," he said. "That's what I thought was grits. It was some kind of chopped up white wheat (porridge). I didn't like it neither."
What he did like -- until he hurt his left hand -- were the courses over here. After a hot start at Loch Lomond, he closed with 74-71 to tie for 30th.
And here at Carnoustie? Well, so far, he said, this links golf isn't that different from back home.
"Its kind of similar to how a lot of courses are around the house," he said, mentioning The Moors, which used to host the Emerald Coast Classic. "You got to bump and run it. The only thing that's different is the way they build the bunkers out here. I mean, if you didn't have all them lips on those bunkers, it wouldn't be links-style golf."
Maybe so. But Boo hasn't seen Carnoustie in competition. Nor has he truly seen it's Carnasty self in a southwest wind and driving rain. He didn't even get a taste of it in Monday morning's driving rain. He watched from his window at the Carnoustie Hotel.
"It's going to be curious if the wind gets up and blows or it if it rains when the wind's blowing a little bit," he said. "(Monday) morning was awful out here. I watched a bunch of people play and I was like, 'There ain't no way you can play in this ... no.' I'm not going to play in it unless I absolutely have to."
He just might. There is rain expected this week, but at the Open you expect the unexpected. Especially when you're on the east coast of Scotland by a bay.
"It's still target golf," he said. "You just play it off of mounds. You pick a bunker and hope you get a good roll. You can't control what happens on the ground. Line, target, hope it pans out."
To prepare, Boo didn't turn to the history books. He played 18 holes by himself Monday afternoon -- "and did all our homework around the greens" -- and 10 holes Tuesday. It was way too slow, he said.
No one expects Boo to jump up and win only the second major he's played in. Then again, no one expected him to tie for 26th at the U.S. Open. So there he is on Ladbroke's big board as a 150-to-1 shot along with former major champs Davis Love III and Michael Campbell, Lucas Glover and Jerry Kelly.
He's faced much tougher odds. Like regaining his playing card. And working on rebuilding his marriage to the woman he divorced.
"It's been tough," he said. "If you can swallow and accept responsibility and you can swallow and forgive somebody, life's easy. It's easy to forget somebody and walk away. It's not easy to stand there and say, 'Hey we both were wrong, let's take the responsibility and make it right.'"
She and his son are here this week and their room overlooks the 18th green. Well, it would if there weren't grandstand bleachers obstructing the view.
Boo stood below the window, pointing it out. He was done for the day and wanted to rest his left hand, which he hurt digging on a couple of shots at Loch Lomond.
"If we can just keep me from hurting, should be fine," he said, noting that he can't put much power on his tee shots. "We'll do what we can. If it gets to hurting too much, we'll duct-tape it together."
But no matter what happens, Boo does the UK has been fun.
"The people are nice. I've had a real joyous time," he said. "They're hard to understand sometimes, but I'm pretty sure I am, too, once we get to talking.
"Some of them, I just had to tell them, write it down."
Like we said, he's charmed them. Even if it's been in a curious way.