Boo Weekley talks Q-school, playing overseas and communicating with alligators

Boo Weekley talks Q-school, playing overseas and communicating with alligators

Boo Weekley is a two-time winner on the PGA Tour, but he's back at Q-school this week.
Brad Barr/

You've won two PGA Tour events and you were a member of the 2008 U.S. Ryder Cup team, but now you're back at Q-school finals. What kind of emotions are you feeling?
I hate that I'm here, but you know, you've got to play. I had a struggle this year a little bit, and you've just got to come back. There's nothing you can do about it.

You had to advance to finals by playing your way through the second stage. What was that like?
I went through second stage, which was played at The Hombre [in Panama City Beach, Fla.], which was close to the house. I kind of grew up playing there, and I felt comfortable.

Did you feel any pressure?
No, I just knew I had a number that I had set that I just wanted to go play. I played good the first day and played good the second day and then just kind of took it easy. I talked to my wife the second day. I felt like darn, I'm about 18th, 15th place, and she's like, do you want to know? You're fourth. I'm like, really? I just took it easy the rest of the week. It was kind of like I just played the last two rounds goofing off.

What did you end up finishing?
I don't even know.

Most guys try not to look, but they can't resist.
I try not to keep up with it. Especially like out here [at Q-school finals], you've got six days of playing out here. You've just got to be patient, go out and play golf and hope that you have five good rounds and you can get away with one bad round.

When you're coming down the stretch on the sixth day at these courses, especially the Stadium, how much does it affect the nerves?
The way I played this past year, I lost all my nerves, lost everything I've got, and I'm just trying to find it back. I might get nervous when I get out there and start playing coming down the stretch knowing that I'm on the bubble, but as of right now, I don't have any of that. I mean, I know I'm going to play somewhere next year because of having won twice out there. I know I'm going to get in at least 13 tournaments next year, so I ain't really got a whole lot to lose, but at the same time I've got a whole lot to gain to get myself back out there and get my card.

It's crazy when you look down the range and see a couple major champs, guys that have won multiple times on Tour, and others that played in the Ryder Cup, like you.
It's golf. It's the most brutal game that you can play because it's so emotional and so many ups and downs. When you think you've got it by the hairs, next thing you know, you're down. It's a roller coaster.

A lot of it is psychological, too?
Yeah, there's a lot of that. My psychologist, I had to get rid of the one I had, so I started up with 12 new ones. I went and seen one twice, and we sat around for a little bit, and I figured he was just as full of s— as I was. So I said, I'm just going to go back to my old one, which was go buy a 12 pack of beer and sit around and drink it, and then I can discuss it with myself, you know?

You galloped down the first fairway during the Ryder Cup in '08. What inspired the Happy Gilmore impression?
We saw Happy Gilmore, I think it was like three days prior to the tournament. I said, 'I'm going to do that right there' because he was doing it, running around the green. I kind of forgot about it, and then the last morning, which was the singles, I was walking up on the tee, and I looked up and there's kind of a tree right there, and I said, if I can get it over that tree out there I'm going to do this. Sure enough, I did it and then just took off galloping.

When did you start working with your instructor Scott Hamilton?
We've got a mutual friend named Rob Waters from Cleveland Golf, and I went up there to do some club repair and we got to talking and shooting the bull, and one thing led to another. He showed me some things, and from then on we've been working together, and he got to talking about some putting stuff, and we got to working on that, too.

And you struggled with your putting this year, right?
Putting is probably the hardest part of my game. It's always been. I've always been a streaky putter, and that's something we've been working on — just trying to get it to where we're consistently doing the same thing. I either hit it four feet, five feet by the hole all the time or leave it three feet short, so we're trying to get something consistent — setup, trying to keep my head still, stuff like that.

I don't know if you've heard about the potential change in the next few years with Q-school and changing the format, which would give players Nationwide tour cards instead of going straight to the PGA Tour.
I wish I would have done that my first year. A lot of these kids that are out here went to college and played real college golf, but there's people like me, there's always a handful that come through Q-school and make it that never played at a higher level except at a Hooters tour or a mini tour. But those don't prepare you mentally for the way the game goes out here, that when you show up there's going to be 50,000 people, 60,000 people around. When you start playing good, next thing you know you've got people all around you, following you, asking you questions, you know, the media, the whole thing. I think that's kind of what threw me for a loop my first year in '02. I wasn't prepared for all that.

It's intimidating, isn't it?
Very intimidating. I'd never been on an airplane but twice in my life until I got my Tour card in '02, and now all of the sudden I'm flying all over God's green earth. That was totally different, and I wasn't prepared for it. I didn't know nothing about my golf game. All I knew is I could hit it straight, and I could find the hole every now and then.

Your former caddie, Jo Jo, was a good friend of yours, but you guys recently parted ways. It must have been tough to split.
We grew up together, played on the same high school golf team and we did a lot of things together, and we had a good road, but it reached a point to where I was miserable, he was miserable, my golf game wasn't getting better, and he wasn't getting better at caddying. You know what I mean? He decided he wanted to go his own way. It was tough because I lost a good friend, and we still don't really speak a whole lot. I wish him the best of luck.

How did you and your new caddie, Kip Henley, get together?
We met in 2000, played the mini tours together. When I got my Tour card in 2002, he came back and caddied for me, I think, four times. And then he came back out five or six years later and got hooked up with Brian Gay, and they went on a good road.

What have your experiences been like playing overseas?
I've played in the British Open, and I played in one of the European tour events, and I played in that tournament before the British Open, Loch Lomond. That's the only time I've ever been over there. We played at one of the European tour events over in Dubai and we played in Scotland. That's it.

What was your experience like in Dubai?
A lot of sand. I don't like sand, don't like the beach. If I had to play on their tour, though, that would be fine with me. I enjoyed them more because that whole European tour is like the Nationwide tour is over here, as the camaraderie goes. They all go and eat, they all hang out, they all do things together, where the PGA Tour is more of a business. Blake Adams is one of the guys I hang out with on Tour, and Heath Slocum, but I fit better with the caddies out here than I do the players.

Did you watch the Presidents Cup?
No. I don't watch golf. Who won? Seriously.

The Americans won.
Did they? Well, good deal.

Tiger finished third at the Australian Open, and then he looked pretty good at the Presidents Cup, especially in singles. What's your opinion of Tiger and his game these days?
I can tell you right now, my hat's off to him for what he's done for me and my family, and everybody out here ought to thank him. First you start with Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, and Tiger has done nothing but make it bigger for us and made our paydays a lot bigger. But as far as his game goes, I don't see where he's going to have a problem. He's still young enough. He's 35 years old, and he's going to find him some more girls, a girlfriend later on down the road. Somebody to help him take on what he's got. But I don't see where there's a problem with his golf game. He just needs to take care of his other stuff first.

Do you think he will pass Jack's record?
I think he'll make it easy.

On Golf Channel earlier this year, you said you know how to communicate with alligators.
[Weekley demonstrates an alligator call.] I grew up around alligators when I was a kid, and you get to hear a lot of the babies when they hatch out. They make that noise, something similar to that, and when you're doing that the mamas are close by, and they usually come to find out what they're doing and what's going on. They'll just come to you.

Most people would run the other way if they saw an alligator, or at least not call them over.
They ain't going to hurt you, as long as you don't get in their kitchen.

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