Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Boo Weekley - not cut out to be a turfgrass scientist, turns out to be not a bad golfer and a potent cheerleader

The most extreme thing we are used to seeing from an American Pro Golfer is a few fist pumps or a scream of celebration from players, who are then said to be really getting the crowd going. Usually the crowd will respond with the standard "USA" chant, stringing three letters together apparently seeming to appear such a good chant that no American has attempted to come up with anything better. The European fans, are hardened by years of watching putrid lower league football where they have to come up with ever more inventive and hilarious chants to keep themselves entertained. The small contingent of European fans were in great voice this weekend, surrounding the first tee and giving each of the players their own little song as they walked out on the final day. Such as these, taken from here...

Ollie Wilson: Ollie, Ollie, Ollie, oi, oi, oi!
Justin Rose: We've got our own JR, we've got our own JR
Graeme McDowell: You've got Big Mac, we've got Gmac
Sergio Garcia: Viva Espana
Robert Karlsson: Karlsson's bigger than Abba, Karlsson's bigger than Abba, la-laa-laa-laa
Paul Casey: Casey loves his spinach, Casey loves his spinach, la-laa-laa-laa
Ian Poulter: Walking in a Poulter wonderland

I don't think then that there were many people on my side of the pond who truly appreciated what a competitor Boo Weekley was going to be at this years' Ryder Cup. Or the potential he had to really get the crowd going. He single-handedly provided a reason to double the repertoire of songs to sing in support for the Americans, one particularly bright spark coming up with "BOOOO-S-A", maintaining the structure of the "USA" chant with BOO replacing U. It's not as sophisticated as any of the European Songs but my god it was effective.

There was no doubt what was going on in Boo's final match on Sunday, as from any given point on the course, a chorus of "BOO-S-A" could be heard as he pulled off another little miracle, of which there were many, on his front nine. Oliver Wilson actually played very well, in the most difficult of partisan atmospheres, not dropping a shot, being around two or three under himself. But Boo, supercharged in that atmosphere, driving them wild with excellent shots, feeding from their energy he got better still, It was a vicious circle which had him and the crowd in a frenzy by the end of a front nine; booming drives, stunning iron shots, massive putts had resulted in six birdies AND a chip-in eagle. That incredible run had to end and did, but the damage was done already, even with Wilson wining a hole to keep the match alive at dormie 5 there was way too much to do, but credit to Wilson, he would have given any other American quite a challenge but not Bo. The amazing reactions he illicited from the galleries had to have had an effect on other groups out on the course - has one player ever got such a reaction at a Ryder cup before?

The popularity of Boo appears to stem purely from the fact that "he's normal". That was the verdict of any fan I saw questioned. This "normal", means he hunts, he shoots, he fishes. He then comes home eats what he hunts and shoots and fishes, all while having a beer and chewin' tobacco, and watchin' other people hunt, shoot and fish on his tv. That's what I gathered anyway. Where he fits in the life of a professional golfer amongst all of that, I don't really know.

Boo, was temporarily educated at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, where he enrolled to study the fabulous discipline of turfgrass science but unfortunately, he failed out of the course. So, after one year at Baldwin, where he was a member of the golf team, Weekley returned home. He was hired as a hydroblaster at the Monsanto chemical plant in Pensacola, Florida. The job involved being lowered into large ammonia tanks to clean them with a high pressure power hose. You don't get much more "redneck normal" than that my friends. To the good ole boys of Kentucky, the ones who know how to hoot and holler, he just is one of them. He's the closest thing around to a real life Happy Gilmore, except he's doing golf for the money, not to save his grandma's house, but so he can keep himself in guns, ammo, rods and tackle...

Can you picture Zach Johnson riding his driver down the tee like a hobby horse , slapping his ass as he went? He would have to check the bible first. You don't have to try to picture Boo, he did it on Sunday. Ride 'em Cowboy! What a man...

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