He leaped back into the winner’s circle two years ago, rebooting his career with a slump-busting victory at Colonial. So why is Boo Weekley planning his retirement?
This month, you’ll tee it up at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, where you ended a four-year winless drought in 2013. How did you get it done that week?
I did about the same thing I’m doing now — struggling a bit, with the ball going in every direction. [Laughs] Everything seemed to come together at Colonial. I stayed patient, knowing I hadn’t been hitting it good anyway, so if I missed the cut, no big deal. I’d just go home and go fishing. And I won.
Your dry spell lasted from 2009 to 2013. What was that period like?
It was depressing. I had a lot of doubt. I didn’t believe in what I was trying to execute. Then, finally, everything got to clicking. At Colonial, I played four rounds in the zone, and I made a couple of putts, which gave me some confidence. I’ve always been a streaky putter, but that week, me and my caddie were seeing all the lines. He’d say, “Hit it right here,” and I’d hit it there, and it’d go right in. That was all there was to it.
You turn 42 in July. Have you achieved everything you wanted to as a professional golfer?
I ain’t reachin’. The Lord has blessed me to play this game. I’m going to try to play it as long as I can. But at the same time, I want to be able to watch my kids grow up, so I’ve gotten to where I’m a little more mild, and I don’t take golf as seriously as I did in the earlier years of my career. I want to play the Tour until I’m 46, 47, and then take about three years off, and then go play the Champions Tour when I’m 50. That’s the plan, but you never know—it all depends on how good the fishing and hunting is. [Laughs]
You rode your driver like a bucking bronco, Happy Gilmore–style, at the 2008 Ryder Cup at Valhalla. Is that a common celebratory move for you?
No. That was a one-hit wonder. Happy Gilmore was on TV after a practice round. I was laughing and said, “I’m gonna do that,” just joking around. We played the first couple of days, and it never registered in my mind. But when I walked to the tee box and grabbed my driver to warm up [on Sunday], it hit me. I was like “This would be a perfect time for this.” Once I got set in there and waggled, I said, “If I can get it over that tree, I’m gonna take off and do it.” Sure enough, I hit it and it went right like I drew it up. And I took off, ridin’ it.
You seem at peace. What’s your secret to contentment?
I love the outdoors and looking at snakes, squirrels, bugs—just going through the woods and being part of it. You can smell the different trees. And I listen. There’s so much you can learn by listening, by sitting and watching things happen. Hey, it ain’t all just about hunting and killing.
What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had in the woods?
Well, I’ve had a bunch of accidents. If you hunt, you’re gonna have some accidents. And I was turkey hunting once when a rattlesnake came up between my legs. I fell asleep, woke up, and there was a rattlesnake right there on me. And once when I was bow hunting, I found a snake with a rabbit in its mouth. I picked it up, put it in the back of the truck and got it mounted. I’ve still got that at the house.
You’re considered one of the most fan-friendly Tour pros. How do you feel about autograph requests?
That’s the coolest thing about playing on the Tour. It’s one thing to be doing your job inside the ropes and have somebody ask you to sign something. But when you’re [off the course] just being your common self, it’s an honor to say, “I can sign something for you,” or to take a picture with a kid. I love it.
You’re also hugely popular with your peers, even though your background is very different than most players’. You had a rural upbringing in the Florida Panhandle, and even wrestled an orangutan once. How do you connect with your fellow pros?
I don’t have a lot in common with guys out here, but I reckon we get along because I don’t take stuff as seriously as everybody else. I take my game seriously, but we’re out here working together, so why not enjoy it and have fun? Why not talk and joke? There’s a lot of situations where we can talk and have fun. Not a lot of them hunt and fish, but we find something to joke about.
You’ve won $12.5 million on Tour. How much more will it take for you to gallop off to new pastures?
I’d say $8 million more, by the time I’m 45, 46. If I can stay out here that long and stay healthy, I’ll be close to that number and then ride off into the sunset. Actually, I’ll probably paddle off into the sunset in a boat.