Weekley postpones retirement plans
1. Weekley's week
Boo Weekley once told me that he played golf to support his passions of fishing and hunting. Once he had acquired enough land from his tour earnings, he said, he might retire to the Florida panhandle near his hometown of Milton, Fla., to spend more time with his family.
On Sunday, the 39-year-old former Ryder Cupper got one step closer to that goal with his third career PGA Tour victory with a 1-shot win over Matt Kuchar in the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas.
It's been five years since Weekley last won on tour at the 2008 RBC Heritage. A shoulder injury led to some very lean years after he starred in the 2008 Ryder Cup at Valhalla.
Who can forget the way he stirred the crowd that week in Louisville, Ky., in the last win for the U.S. in a Ryder Cup?
During that drought it often crossed Weekley's mind that he might end up fishing and hunting full-time before he was fully comfortable with his landholdings. But after three top-10s on the year, including a second in Tampa, Fla., in March, he is as confident in his ball-striking and short game as he's been in several years.
On Sunday, he told his caddie, Barry Williams, on the first tee that it felt good to feel butterflies again and to know that he had a chance to win.
"I can fish and still play golf," said Weekley who had six birdies and two bogeys in a final-round 4-under 66. "Right now I am still enjoying the game.
"I might have shot 80 today but I didn't. It was my time to win."
With a $1.15 million first prize, Boo had can make a nice contribution to his land fund. And with the U.S. Open ahead and a strong calendar of events in front of him, he might make 2013 his most active year in land acquisition.
2. Word games
A couple of days after Sergio Garcia made his "fried chicken" comment about Tiger Woods, European Tour commissioner George O'Grady came to the Spaniard's defense in a very typical fashion for these kinds of situations.
"Most of Sergio's friends are colored athletes in the United States," O'Grady said.
Soon after this statement, O'Grady was forced to apologize for using the word "colored," which some saw as racially insensitive.
The leading black civil rights organization is the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, because when it was founded in 1909, it was acceptable for a black man to refer to himself as "colored." The characterization for a person of African descent in America has gone from negro to colored to black to African-American.
In South Africa, mixed-race people are known as coloreds.
No one should be excused for making racist comments. What Garcia said was racially charged and wrong. But we don't need to pick a fight with O'Grady or PGA Tour head Tim Finchem over word games and how harsh a penalty they should impose on Garcia.
O'Grady could have made better use of his time than squabbling over the various meanings of a word or giving a tally of Sergio's black friends.
Instead, Finchem and O'Grady should be doing everything they can to address the root causes of racism and exclusivity in the game.
The PGA Tour is very proud of its role in the growth of the First Tee, an international junior golf program. But how many of those kids are actually growing up to take jobs in the billion-dollar golf industry? It's fine for them to say that racism has no place in the game and Sergio's comments don't represent the values of their organizations. But don't they have a responsibility to eradicate any vestige of this sentiment from their tours?
This past week we heard Garcia, Woods, O'Grady and Finchem say that it's time to "move on."
What are they moving on to? More apologies down the road that don't fully address the underlying issues that caused the controversy?
It's easy to scold Sergio, but ultimately the responsibility for washing out racism in the game falls on the leading golf bodies such as the PGA Tour, the European Tour, the R&A, the LPGA Tour and the USGA.
None of these groups can control what comes out of Sergio's mouth, but they can send a stronger message that it cares about what its players believe and how to make sure those attitudes don't negatively impact openness in the game.
3. Better now than later
Very early in his career, Woods dumped his first agent, a caddie, a lawyer and probably a few other people that we don't know about.
It was a housecleaning when there was barely a foundation. After winning the '97 Masters by 12 shots, he spent the next year overhauling his golf swing.
With the house in order, he took off on a run that we're likely to never see again in the annals of golf history.
This past week during the BMW PGA Championship outside London, where he missed the cut, Rory McIlroy was forced to talk about his breakup with his Dublin-based agency, Horizon, which he has been with since leaving Chubby Chandler and International Sports Management in 2011.
One could wonder, after leaping to No. 1 in the world last year and winning his second major championship, why would he make wholesale changes to his equipment and dump his agent?
While all these changes are a distraction from his game, it's better now at 24 years old for McIlroy to make these tweaks at the beginning of his career.
Sure, he will probably make another equipment change or try another agent before his career is done, but it's important to get a good team behind him through his prime years.
Tiger probably couldn't have achieved what he has over the past 17 years without the constant presence of Mark Steinberg, the support staff at Nike and the 12 years he had with Steve Williams as his caddie.
Phil Mickelson has had one caddie and one agent in his 21 years on tour.
If McIlroy is going to have the kind of sustained success of these two great players, he's going to need to settle on a team that he can take with him for the long haul.
4.The kid is for real
Jordan Spieth took his fourth top-10 of the year on the PGA Tour with a tie for seventh at Colonial.
The Dallas native is 19 years old.
That's where you stop and ask the question: How good can he be? When he turned pro in late December, it was easy to question the decision.
He was a nice player. But what made him think he could play full-time on the PGA Tour and make cuts?
There was ample evidence to support the view that he should earn his growing pains with the big boys. There was the tie for 16th at the Byron Nelson in 2010 and the tie for 21st at the U.S. Open last year, but almost any elite player can have a few good weeks a year.
The most impressive thing about Spieth's season is his consistency. The former Texas Longhorn has missed just three cuts in 11 events. In his two Web.com Tour events, he has a T-7 and T-4.
This record suggests that he's a legitimate tour player with a very good chance to make a steady living out there. He still could win this year, but it wouldn't be the worst thing in his young life if he can just simply continue to make cuts and play well on Sunday like he did with a final-round 67 at Colonial.
Spieth is a year younger than Matteo Manassero, who won his fourth European Tour title on Sunday in a playoff at the prestigious BMW PGA Championship.
Spieth probably has a ways to catch up with Manassero, who played in his first Masters when he was 16 in 2009, but in due time he will have some of the experience and polish of the 20-year-old Italian.
5. Zach's place
Zach Johnson couldn't repeat as winner at Colonial, but he did get his fifth consecutive top-10 in the tournament with a third-place finish. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native also won here in 2010.
In eight appearances in the Colonial, the 37-year-old former Masters champion has never finished outside the top 30.
MORE GOLF HEADLINES
- McIlroy completes wire-to-wire win at Open
- McIlroy's father cashes in on son's Open title
- Tiger eyes Ryder despite worst major finish
- Lefty pleased with Open finish, eyes Ryder Cup