Originally created 12/05/01

A dose of Southern charm for the PGA Tour



WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- What happens when you mix the PGA Tour with "Mayberry RFD?" Meet Boo Weekley, one of the most colorful characters to emerge from Q-school.

"I don't know what the PGA is supposed to expect, because I ain't ever been out there," he said in a syrupy Southern drawl. "I just showed up being myself."

Who's Boo?

Thomas Brent Weekley is from the Florida Panhandle town of Milton. He got his nickname as a kid because he was enamored with "Boo-Boo" on the Yogi Bear cartoons.

He doesn't dress like a golfer. Weekley wears sneakers because golf shoes hurt his feet, and rain pants because cotton pants cause him to break out in a rash.

"I know I don't wear the right attire for everybody, but that's just me," he said. "Maybe I can run into some more pants that might be a little more suitable for the tour. I'd like to bring out some camouflage. It they let me do that, it wouldn't hurt my feelings at all."

College experience?

"ABAC," he said, rattling off the acronym as if it were UCLA. That would be Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, a two-year school in Tipton, Ga.

Previous employment?

He farmed cotton and soybeans, and operated a hydroblaster while working at a chemical plant.

Priorities? In order.

Weekley was right on the cut line going into the final round and was asked whether he expected the pressure to become more intense, and the significance of getting his card.

"If it happens, it happens. If it don't, it don't," he said. "All I can do is go out and play golf and have fun with it."

Oh, yes, he also has game. Weekley finished at 18-under 414, in a tie for 23rd.

TIGER PROOFING: Tiger Woods never has been a big fan of tournaments where rounds in the 60s are required just to keep pace. So, expect to see some changes at his Williams World Challenge next week.

Along with his duties as host, Woods has asked the superintendent at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif., to raise the mowers.

"I made them grow the rough a little higher," he said on his Web site (tigerwoods.com). "You can't just go out there and shoot 20 under. They're going to have to go out there and play."

A year ago, Davis Love III closed with a 64 for a two-stroke victory over Woods. Love finished at 22-under 266.

TEAM MATCHES: Juli Inkster and Dottie Pepper will be going for their fifth straight victory this weekend in the Hyundai Team Matches, and both have a little extra incentive.

"We're in the middle of starting construction on our house, and Juli is in the middle of expansion," Pepper said. "I think that'll probably take care of it."

Each has won $400,000 over the past four years in the Hyundai, the only tournament that features competition among all three tours.

Inkster-Pepper will go against Karrie Webb-Kelly Robbins, Janice Moodie-Lorie Kane and Grace Park-Wendy Ward. Moodie replaced Se Ri Pak, who is with her ailing father in South Korea.

From the PGA Tour, defending champions Tom Lehman and Duffy Waldorf will compete against the teams of Fred Couples-Mark Calcavecchia, David Toms-Steve Flesch and Joe Durant-Skip Kendall.

Tom Watson will be going for his third straight seniors victory, this time with a different partner. Andy North has replaced Jack Nicklaus, whose back is sore. Other senior teams are Bruce Fleisher-Arnold Palmer, Allen Doyle-Dana Quigley and Gary McCord-Tom Kite.

The tournament is at Monarch Beach Golf Links in Dana Point, Calif.

DUNHILL LINKS: The Dunhill Links Challenge, the European tour's version of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, is back on the schedule for next year and in a timely spot on the calendar - the week after the Ryder Cup.

"The overwhelming support for the event, from both professional and amateur participants alike, was the deciding factor," tournament spokesman Iain Banner said.

Paul Lawrie won the inaugural event - at $5 million, the richest in Europe - in dramatic fashion by holing a 60-foot putt from the Valley of Sin on the 18th hole at St. Andrews.

The other courses in the rotation are Carnoustie and Kingsbarns. The tournament was criticized for its weather delays and pro-am format, a novelty in tradition-rich Scotland.

What remains to be seen is whether any Americans - already in Europe for the World Golf Championship (Ireland) and Ryder Cup (England) - will stay an extra week.

Several top players don't like going to Pebble for one reason - bad weather.

DIVOTS: Ernie Els and Retief Goosen are playing in the Vodacom Players Championship in South Africa. It will be Els' last chance to avoid his first winless year since 1991. ... Nancy Lopez will be inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in February. ... Nissan has signed on for another four years as title sponsor of the Los Angeles Open at Riviera, through 2006. ... The stable of players using Nike Golf's new clubs is growing. Mark Brooks, John Cook, Glen Day, Brian Gay and Franklin Langham all have signed deals to play the clubs next year. All five already had ball, shoe and glove deals with Nike. ... Annika Sorenstam and Karrie Webb won't wait until the official start of the LPGA Tour season to resume their rivalry. Both plan to play in the Australian Ladies Masters the week before the LPGA kicks off in Hawaii. ... Jim Butz is the 2001 winner of the Ernie Sabayrac Award for lifetime contributions to the golf industry. Butz has spent 53 years in golf. He is a former assistant executive director of the PGA of America and now is secretary of the Association of Golf Exhibitors.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Stephen Allan, Danny Ellis, Lee Porter and Brent Schwarzrock are the only players who have made it through Q-school the last two years.

FINAL WORD: "Everybody used to say that golfers peak when they are 35. I might be retired at 35." - Ty Tryon, 17, after becoming the youngest player to get his PGA Tour card.