LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Scores of fans in army fatigues and orange, hunting reflector vests, chugged cans of beer and belted out "Boo!" like it was a bodily function.
It felt more like "Happy Gilmore" than the Ryder Cup Matches in Boo Weekley and J.B. Holmes' gallery Saturday at Valhalla Golf Club.
Only Weekley's game has been no joke.
The Ryder Cup has a new poster child in Weekley, who, together with long-baller Holmes, took 1.5 of a possible two points from Lee Westwood and Soren Hansen in consecutive fourball matches.
It was Weekley who stole the show with his fist pumps and arm raising, causing a chorus of "Boo" to echo throughout the back nine in easily the loudest match of the day. To top it off, J.B. Holmes added a birdie on Valhalla's par-5 seventh, then an eagle on the par-5 10th that blew off the roof.
"I'm from here, and Boo might as well be from here," said Kentucky native Holmes after two rounds with Weekley.
"I feel like I've been adopted," Weekley added.
To golf fans, Weekley's uncanny persona and wicked game is no secret, but finally the sporting world is taking notice, as Weekley is stealing the show on one of sport's biggest stages.
With Tiger Woods sidelined on the world of golf's most passionate event, it's Weekley who has become the headliner on the U.S. side. His fearless play and attitude more reserved for a backyard barbecue than a world class sporting event have made it all too easy for the Louisville fans to soak it up.
Even former President George Bush followed Weekley for the better part of the match Saturday. Weekley came over to greet him after hitting his tee shot on the fourth. It was hard to tell who was more excited about the handshake.
As John Daly's career dwindles, it's Weekley who is taking over the leading role for the blue collar golf fan. And in this event in particular, where players compete for national pride - not a paycheck - Weekley's emergence was all too fitting.
U.S. Captain Paul Azinger saw it coming.
"I told the PGA of America that he would be maybe the greatest character to ever come from America to play on a Ryder Cup," said Azinger. "So far it seems to be the case.
"I mean, some of the things he says, you can't script it.
"Plus he hits it well."
Weekley's shot from a fairway bunker on the 15th hole, sticking inside both European approaches, all but sealed the deal Saturday, both in the match and amongst the crowd.
"Boo-S-A!" some shouted. Others around the 16th green modified Europe's "O-le'" chant with "Boo-le'! Boo-le'-Boo-le'-Boo'le!"
Westwood heard a few heckles over the course of the round for his comments.
"Want any cheese with that whine?" shouted one fan.
"Boo-hoo-hoo Lee," said another.
It was nothing of the Colin Montgomerie or Sergio Garcia heckling of year's past, though. In fact, Weekley, who seemed visibly sorrowful after hearing Westwood's comments after Friday's match about his premature celebrations, did his best to keep himself and the crowd's emotions in check today.
After a birdie putt dropped on the first hole, he settled down quickly after an initial outburst. His caddie motioned to the crowd to quiet down. This seemed to be the routine on every green so long as the Euros still had a putt to make. It's all just another reason to like Boo.
But after the match, Weekley let it be known he's got plenty of energy left heading into the decisive Sunday singles versus Europe's Oliver Wilson.
"I feel like a dog that somebody done stuck a needle to, and it juiced me up like I've been running around a Greyhound track chasing one of them bunnies."
Expect nothing less from the "Boo-birds" Sunday.
September 21, 2008
Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Channel Courses & Travel. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours.
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