Weekley the deer hunter calls the shots

It was Thanksgiving in America yesterday, although here it was the Chinese organisers giving thanks to America. It seems so fitting that a tournament desperate to start afresh began with a pair of leaders who have exactly the sort of attitude the World Cup needs to justify its title.

Boo Weekley was in a tree when he received the call. "Serious, I was up there hunting deer when they phoned to ask me to represent my country," he said, after a first-round 61 in the fourballs gave him and partner Heath Slocum the advantage going into this morning's foursomes.

"I didn't fall out or anything as I was well-harnessed in. But I did nearly about cry and then to be able to call up one of my good friends, Heath, and him to play, too made it even better. See, to us this is like our Olympics. It's one heck of an honour."

Compare this with the indifference shown, of late, by Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and the rest of the better-known home performers on the PGA Tour. Perhaps it is their experience in recent Ryder Cups that has put them off, but they treat this particular team event as "one heck of an honour" to be avoided at all costs. Could Weekley ever imagine a scenario in which he would turn down the chance to play for his flag? "Honestly sir, I don't think I could," he replied. "But that's just me."

Indeed, the 34-year-old makes no apologies for who he is or where he comes from. In his short time alongside the game's elite he has emerged as a character, maybe the character, on the oh-so-samey Starred and Striped fairways. Whispers may have gathered this time around a professional who is not quite as daft as he seems, but if it is a wise man who plays the fool then it is an even wiser one who does it so adroitly as Weekley.

Stories have been written of Boo wrestling alligators, of a boxing bout with an orang-utan and of a disease caught off a cow that meant not wearing cotton trousers. In fact, wherever he has gone – which as it happens has not been that far, having left the US for the first time to go to Mexico in February and secondly for The Open in July – he has not disappointed and here, so far, has been no exception. What did he know about China before arriving on Monday? "Nothing, apart from the rice," he said, in the small-town drawl that fits his image so perfectly. "Oh and the Great Wall. But I thought it was closer to where we're at."

Still, his knowledge was slightly more detailed than that of his caddie, who arrived at the Hong Kong border without a visa. He was detained and did not join up with his employer here at Mission Hills until Wednesday afternoon. "He went straight to bed and slept 'til about four this morning" revealed Weekley. "He awoke saying he was ready to get after it. And that's what we did today."

In the event, it was Weekley doing most of the getting after, Slocum confessing he was happy to sit back and "watch Boo play, very, very well". He probably has been doing exactly that, though, since they first started playing together in high school in Milton, their home city in Florida. It seems strange to report that of all the nations competing here it is the American team boasting the boys who know each other the most intimately (except for, naturally, the Italian Molinari brothers). But then, when there happen to be just over 3,300 males living in Milton you realise this is an unlikely story. Just to add to the legend that may about to be written, the place used to be known as "Scratch Ankle" because of all the prickly briar bushes that grow there.

It is obviously a different world to what the pair are experiencing here, although Weekley is similar to the locals in at least one respect. Just as they are unfailingly courteous, so too is Weekley, referring to everyone as "Sir" or "Ma'am" even when he probably doesn't much feel like it. A classic case came yesterday when one brave female reporter asked what he made of the criticism America had received for not sending their optimum team. "Nothing Ma'am," he said. "I thought they'd sent the best team."

The scoreboard as the second round teed off did not contradict him. One back on 10-under were Germany, while in joint third after 63s were the Welsh pair of Bradley Dredge and Stephen Dodd and the pre-tournament favourites England comprising Justin Rose and Ian Poulter.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
people
Life and Style
techApp to start sending headlines, TV clips and ads to your phone
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment