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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power