TUCSON, Ariz. Colin Montgomerie heard the boos coming from the first tee. He said, "That's terrible, awful" until he realized that the boos were actually cheers for Boo Weekley, the Daniel Boone of American golf.
Monty had to be relieved. The temperamental Scot has often been the target of genuine taunts when playing in the U.S.
But today he played in the wake of Boo, not in the wake of boos. Having just beaten Charles Howell, 2 up, in the second round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play, Montgomerie came into the interview room on the heels of Weekley, who had upset Spain's Sergio Garcia, 3 and 1. Many of us were still chuckling over Weekley's admission that match play was so foreign to him that his first-round opponent, Martin Kaymer of Germany, had to tutor him on the practice of conceding putts.
Montgomerie sputtered with laughter when he heard this, but he was quick to praise Weekley's game. "Well, he's a very good golfer, Boo." He smiled. "I can't call him Boo. What's his name? It can't be Boo, can it? What's his birth certificate say?"
(For the record, Boo's full name is Thomas Brent Weekley.)
Monty volunteered that it wasn't the first time he'd run into an American pro who didn't quite grasp the subtleties of match play.
"I remember Wayne Levi was playing Seve Ballesteros at Kiawah Island in my first Ryder Cup, in 1991, and on the first couple of holes Wayne putted up to three feet and said, 'I'll finish'" a practice permitted in stroke play "and Seve said, 'No, you won't.'" Levi, apparently, did not understand that the player who was away controlled the turn of play.
"I mean, incredible."
Monty offered his stock explanation for the Yanks' naivete: "The Australians play a lot of match play, we in Europe do, and I'm sure the South Africans do. But in America you don't seem to play this form of golf." As for Weekley, Montgomerie said that Boo's recent form and his victory here over Garcia who won four points for the Europeans in their 2006 Ryder Cup thrashing of the U.S. made him a near lock for a spot on the next American team. "I expect him to be in the Ryder Cup, I really do. He's very, very good."
Montgomerie smirked. "But I hope he has a little more experience in the match play game by the time we get to that stage."