Monday, June 22, 2009

One of the most popular and engaging players at Bethpage Black this week was Drew Weaver, the Virginia Tech product with the compelling back story: He was only 100 yards away from entering Norris Hall on April 16, 2007, when a gunman opened fire inside. When one of the worst tragedies in American history was over, 33 people, including the gunman, were dead.Weaver must've heard "Go Hokies!" a thousand times during his three rounds through Sunday and always waved his hand and smiled in acknowledgement. (After a sterling first-round 69, Weaver followed with rounds of 72 and 74, and was two strokes behind Nick Taylor in the battle for low amateur going into Monday's final round.)Daniel Murdoch, the young volunteer whose family was profiled in my series from the Battle Row Campground, didn't know anything about Weaver's history. But he walked away from Bethpage with a new favorite golfer. Daniel had been Weaver's standard-bearer for his practice round last Wednesday, which meant the 16-year-old wasn't allowed to get Weaver's autograph. The following day, Daniel's father, Bill, also an Open volunteer, mentioned it to Weaver.  "Sure, your son was Daniel," he said. "He's from Pennsylvania, right? We had a great time out there." Then he signed a cap."That young man must've met a hundred people that day, and he remembered my son's name and where he was from," said Bill. "That just impressed the heck out of me."The Murdochs plan to extend the ultimate familial honor to Weaver. They name their cats after golfers -- Phil, Bubba, Rocco, Tiger and Arnie are already around their home in Everett, Pa. -- and two barn cats still need a moniker. "We were going to name them after this year's Open winner and runner-up," says Bill, "but now we have a Drew."

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