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.

Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Popes current and former won't be watching the football together
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
business
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Sport
Germany's Andre Greipel crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 194 kilometers (120.5 miles) with start in Arras and finish in Reims, France
tour de franceGerman champion achieves sixth Tour stage win in Reims
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face
books
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil