SOUTHPORT, England (AP) — Look out, Britain.
One year after charming the country with his folksy ways, Weekley returned for his second British Open and should have quite a following at Royal Birkdale this week.
Just be sure to keep an eye on his ball.
During a practice round Monday, Weekley yanked his tee shot at No. 8 onto a mound where several fans were standing left of the fairway. The ball whizzed over one man’s head – luckily, he ducked – and hit another guy in the back of the left leg on one bounce.
The man was OK, but Weekley looked very concerned when he walked up.
“Who’d I hit?” he asked.
This guy, everyone motioned. Assured no one was seriously hurt, Weekley whipped out his pen and signed the offending ball.
“Sorry ’bout that,” he said. “I apologize.”
No worries, Boo. The Brits are totally behind you.
“That’s Boo Weekley,” one of them said after he stopped to sign autographs behind the third green. “He’s the best. I really hope he does well this week.”
Weekley shrugged off his cult following on this side of the Atlantic.
“I don’t know about that,” he said, pulling a dip of tobacco from his bottom lip after finishing up in the early evening. “I just try to have fun and let the rest take care of itself.”
Weekley was playing alone until Mark O’Meara and Anthony Kim caught up with the Floridian on the third hole.
“Is that Anthony Kim?” Weekley joked when he saw the 23-year-old phenom. “Is that Boo Weekley?” Kim replied before they exchanged high-fives.
As always, Weekley was much more reverent with his elders.
“Hello, Mr. O’Meara,” he said to the 51-year-old, shaking hands the traditional way.
Later, they were signing autographs together when O’Meara asked, “So, how’s life treating you, Boo?”
“Life’s good,” the 34-year-old Weekley replied. “I just had me another child. A little boy.”
“Well, congratulations,” O’Meara said. “It doesn’t get much better than that, does it?”
“No, sir, it sure doesn’t,” Weekley said.
In an interesting twist, Weekley and his caddie, Joe Pyland, both had children a day apart last month. Weekley had a son named Aiden, Pyland a son named Jeffrey.
“He beat me by a day,” Pyland said during the flight to England.
The two already had a lot in common; both grew up in tiny Milton, Fla., love to hunt and sound an awful lot alike.
Now their bond is even closer.
TO PLAY OR NOT TO PLAY Kenny Perry is getting plenty of attention this week for deciding ahead of time to skip the British Open and stick to his original plan of competing this week on the PGA Tour in Milwaukee.
Perry has said his only goal was to make the Ryder Cup team, but Jim Furyk made it clear he would never miss a major.
“To the best of my knowledge, you can’t win if you never play,” Furyk said.
But he said Perry should be able to decide for himself where he plays. And he noted that he probably will play in 25 tournaments this year, and he already has won twice.
Oops. Make that three times.
“Did he win yesterday?” Furyk said.
Yes, he was told, in a playoff at the John Deere Classic after Brad Adamonis and Jay Williamson hit into the water.
Furyk shook his head, only it had nothing to do with Perry’s decision.
“That’s the kind of playoff I need to get into right there,” Furyk said. “In my playoffs, the other guy always hits it stiff.”
Furyk is 2-7 in playoffs, including a seven-hole playoff loss to Tiger Woods.
FATHER-SON TRIP Scott Verplank already has had a memorable trip to Britain. It began last week with a trip to Scotland to play Royal Dornoch, Cruden Bay and the Old Course at St. Andrews, where on the famous Road Hole, he hit a driver and a 4-iron to 3 feet for birdie.
And on Monday, he celebrated his 16th birthday.
The more famous Scott Verplank, a five-time PGA Tour winner and his father, was along for the ride.
Verplank’s wife and his three younger daughters stayed in Oklahoma for this trip, leaving father and son quite the vacation. After a week of golf in Scotland, Scottie spent Monday walking alongside his father during his first full practice round at Royal Birkdale.
Playing was more fun.
They had matches on all three courses against Verplank’s caddie, Scott Tway, and Oklahoma City businessman Everett Dobson.
“He bailed me out a few times,” Verplank said of his son. “I think they were getting a little hot when he kept making putts.”
The only downside to the trip was having to pay full fare at St. Andrews – $1,040 for a foursome.
KAYMER’S HEART Martin Kaymer is playing for the first time since becoming the first German in 20 years to win the BMW International Open in Munich, a playoff victory that he dedicated to his mother.
She died last week after a brief illness.
“It’s been a sad time for our family, but everyone has been wonderful,” the 23-year-old Kaymer said. “I definitely know there will be someone special looking down on me this week. And this is such a great tournament, I didn’t want to miss it. And I know my mother would not want me to miss it, either.”
Kaymer has two victories on the European tour this year and is No. 32 in the world ranking. He also had a close call in Dubai, where his birdie-birdie-eagle finish left him one shot short of catching Tiger Woods.
AP Golf Writer Doug Ferguson contributed to this report.