McAllister: Weekley leans on caddie for first victory in five seasons

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May 26, 2013
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM

FORT WORTH, Texas -- A mysterious twitch in Boo Weekley's left eye this weekend caused him to lose focus. Literally. When his eyelid started to flick like a hummingbird fluttering its wings, he simply couldn't judge distances or read greens.

 

Doctors have been unable thus far to pinpoint the exact reason for this annoying development. Maybe his eyes were drying out in the Texas wind and heat. Maybe it was lack of sleep (not possible, according to Boo). Or maybe the cause was stress, as his caddie Barry Williams suggested. After all, Weekley hadn’t won a PGA TOUR event in five years and had rarely been in contention in that span. His best finish this year was a backdoor second place in Tampa Bay when he shot a 63 in the final round.

But this weekend at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, he found himself in the mix, in the heat of battle. The better he kept playing, the higher he kept moving up the leaderboard ... and the more pressure he faced.

"He hasn't been in this situation in quite a long time," Williams said.

Whenever Weekley's left eye started to twitch, he called for Williams to provide the distances and reads. On Saturday, it was at least 15 times. Probably a similar amount during Sunday's final round.

Somehow, Weekley and Williams made it work, as Boo shot a pair of 66s at Colonial this weekend to end his five-year drought on the PGA TOUR, claiming a one-shot win over 54-hole leader Matt Kuchar, who desperately wants one of the tartan plaid jackets given to Colonial winners. Defending champ Zach Johnson, who has two of them, finished third.

caddie
Caddie Barry Williams and Boo Weekley.

Weekley has received a tartan plaid jacket for all three of his wins on TOUR. The first two came in 2007 and again in 2008 at the RBC Heritage, which uses its own style of tartan different than the Scottish Royal Tartan used at Colonial.

Asked if he could tell the difference in the two tartans, Weekley looked down at the jacket he had just slipped on Sunday and said, "No, sir. It's been so long I couldn't tell you."

In fact, it's been 1,862 days between wins for Weekley. He had made 123 starts between wins. The drought had grown so long that Weekley sometimes wondered whether he should just go fishing for the rest of his life.

"But I can fish and still play golf," he said.

From 2009-12, he made 75 starts and produced just seven top-10 finishes. He played in just five FedExCup Playoffs events in that span. He even missed the Playoffs in 2011. But he never gave up.

Finally, things began to click earlier this year. He made some adjustments with his swing. His bum shoulder started feeling better. His putting stroke was analyzed and adjusted, his flaws minimized.

He posted three top 10s in his first 14 starts, but more importantly, he was making almost every cut.

At The Honda Classic in March, he put Williams on the bag for the first time. Williams used to be the caddie for Blake Adams, one of Boo's good friends who needed hip surgery. They've all spent time together in practice rounds, so Weekley was comfortable with Williams. And whether it means anything or not, the two share the same initials.

Still, having someone simply carry your bag is much different than asking them to read a significant amount of putts and distances, reads that could mean the difference between winning and losing. Weekley even started using a yardage book when the twitching started.

In the end, though, players lean on their caddies for help, and Boo thought nothing of relying heavily on Barry. He did it on the ninth green and also the 10th. Williams read the birdie putts ... and Weekley drained them.

Total trust.

"Absolutely," Williams said. "We're a team. Four eyes are better than two. Two brains are better than one."

Williams also proved vital in helping to calm down Weekley, who was amped on the front nine and made two bogeys when his adrenaline took over. Of course, Williams was amped up too.

"I can tell he was a little more nervous than I was, or just as much nervous as I was out there because he ain't never walked that fast," Weekley said. "He looked like a horse running to get a goat."

Weekley's birdie at the ninth moved him within one stroke of then-leader Scott Stallings. Then Weekley moved ahead by one shot when Stallings double bogeyed the 15th. Then Weekley added to his lead when he birdied the 10th.

For the next two hours, he kept firing at pins. He had golden opportunities to extend his lead, but missed a couple of short birdie opportunities. But Kuchar wasn't making much noise. Johnson had started too far behind and eventually saw his momentum slow with a three-putt. Stallings was unable to recover. And the rest of the field could not keep up.

Perhaps it was just Boo's day ... a long five years since that last win.

On the opening hole, he had told Williams that the butterflies felt good. "It was my time to win," Weekley said. "... It's just a funny feeling that you finally get to feel."

After the round, Williams was making arrangements to get the pin flag off the 18th hole flagstick. In the final round, the American flag was used as the pin flag at the 18th, military personnel guarding the flagstick when it was not in use. Williams didn't want to dishonor the American flag by grabbing it as a souvenir, so he wanted to see if he could get a flag with the Colonial logo on it.

"It was an awesome day for Boo," Williams said. "From where he's been, to get back to here."

And now Weekley's name will go on Colonial's famed Wall of Champions off the first tee, inscribed alongside all the other Colonial winners, including his hero, five-time winner Ben Hogan, whose statue can be found at the top of the steps leading to the course.

"Boo is not a golf name," Weekley argued Sunday night.

But it's a winner's name. And it has found a rightful home.

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