By Will Martin
He walked off of the Byron Nelson Sunday afternoon all of five shots out of a 1st place finish. This week Boo Weekley prepares to defend his championship status from 2013 against a field of 121 other greats, including the #1 ranked golfer Adam Scott. Runner up to last year Matt Kuchar will also be in the mix, 2011 champion David Toms, two time winner Zach Johnson in 2010 and 2012, Justin Spieth to name a few.
It is a much better field than what the Byron fielded. Players love what lies within the history and tradition of the Colonial. The course that is most associated with Ben Hogan.
A Pro Am will take place prior to the start of the tournament May 22nd -25th. In the event you come to the Colonial go to www.crowneplazainvitational.com as the rules for what you can and cannot bring which will be strictly enforced. If you bring your phone prepare to use the hashtag of #CPIAC to promote the Colonial itself as there is a new addition to the tourney. It’s called Frost Park and security will be very tight.
All that aside Boo Weekley took some time to address the media in the interview room at the Colonial to talk about coming back as champion, golf in general, and being a back to back champion!
What is it like to be back, and maybe try to join Ben Hogan as the only player to ever successfully defend the title here?
Boo Weekley: That would be cool. But thanks for having me back. It’s always fun to be able to come back to a place that you enjoy being around, and the golf course is always set up pretty good for the way I get to play. I just enjoy being back.
I know its been a bit of an up-and-down season for you, but you’re coming off of a tie for 5th place last week. Little bit of momentum coming into the week? Just comment on the state of your game.
Yeah, my game’s good. Last week I hit it solid. Just didn’t make the putts, and I’m hoping maybe this week here my putter will get hot kind of like what it did last year in the middle of the round. Just hoping I can continue on.
Boo, you’ve had an up and down season. Were there particular areas that have been struggling in your game before this last week?
Oh, well I ain’t saying it’s struggling, it’s just I switched shafts. I’ve been playing graphites for the last three years, four years, and I’ve been having a few shoulder problems, elbow problems, and pain problems, so I decided I was feeling better about that, so I went back to steel shafts. Started hitting it a lot better, and actually putted the ball well this year, just nothing fell, you know? Kind of like last week, a couple of putts fell here and there, and kind of kept me close to the contention part of it. But just when I needed it, they didn’t fall, you know.
Can you compare the state of your game this year to coming in last year?
I’ve got a lot more confidence. Coming into here last year I sat out on that driving range, and I probably hit, I don’t know, was probably averaging 400 to balls in the morning and in the afternoon. Hitting balls and hitting balls because I missed the cut last year at the Byron, because I couldn’t figure out what was going on down there with the base angle. And this year I finished fifth there, so I got a little more confidence coming into here this year.
First of all, when did you go back to steel shafts?
New Orleans. It was the first time I’ve been back to steel shafts.
When you do that, how much time is there for the transition back? Was it an easy transition back?
It was pretty easy. Just the thing was trying to find out the distance control with it, because it seems like graphite gives you just a little more at the bottom. You can step on it a little harder and you can get a little more out of it. Where steel, you can’t make it flex no more that it’s already flexing. That was about the only thing that kind of felt different, you know, was just how far the ball could fly off of graphite versus steel.
Tom Watson, Nick Price, Arnold Palmer, and Fuzzy Zoeller all won here and at Harbor Town, you joined that list last year. What is the similarity of those two golf courses, and what do you feel like being on the list of Hall Of Fame Players like that?
Being on a list like that is pretty awesome. Maybe I can join them one day as a Hall of Famer. But I have to say, the golf course is just one of those golf courses where you have to kind of shape your shots. If you can stand on the tee box and see two different shots, to me, that’s a fun golf course because you ain’t got just one shot and then just try to bomb it over the bunker or hit it out over here. You can stand up and say, all right, I’m going to get a cut on this hole or I’m going to hit a draw on this hole. There are two different ways you can play this game. That’s what I like about playing here and at Harbour Town.
Matt Kuchar here last year, Matt obviously won at Harbour Town earlier this year. What do you feel about his play and how consistent he’s been this year and how his game fits at the Colonial here as well?
I mean, Matt’s an awesome player. He’s straight down the middle. he gets it done, you know. I think the difference tyhis year has been in the past if you asked him, it’s probably been his putting. He’s making some more putts, and that’s every one of us out here. If we can just make two more putts or three more putts a round than what we normally wouldn’t make, it makes a big difference especially with that stroke game thing they started two years ago. I don’t follow it, but everybody’s like, hey man, you know you’re dead last in this putting department? I’m like really? God dog, what do I got to do? Things like that.
But like I said, that’s just one or two shots or putts a round that a ten foot putt goes in or 12 foot putt goes in, and next thing you know, that thing starts falling. So it’s just golf, man.
Have you had a chance to see your name on the wall?
Oh, yes sir. I came back here, I don’t remember how long it was ago now. It was a month, month and a half ago, I came back here and got to see it. I had some buddies that have been out here playing that came by and took pictures and sent me pictures of them all standing in front of it. So it’s pretty neat. It’s an honor. I mean, to be able to know that that week I was the best that week, plus to be on the wall with all the guys that it was their week, too!
You mentioned that this is a shot maker’s course, obviously. Do you think longer hitters have maybe a disadvantage here to a certain degree?
I mean, I wouldn’t know because I’m not a long hitter. But to me, I think if they can just sit down and break the golf course down to where their strengths are, I think they can play it well or a lot better. That’s my opinion of it. That’s what we kind of did last year. We just kind of broke the golf course down into places where we know that we can take advantage. If we hit it in the right spot, we can take advantage because we’ve got wedge in our hand or what I feel like 7 iron down are scoring clubs. I feel like I can hit it inside 10 feet. So to me that’s where I had to break it down the golf course to where if I hit it here, 3-wood off this hole is going to leave me an 8-iron or 7-iron. If I can get aggressive it’s feeling good, or if I hit driver, pitching wedge to gap wedge.
So let me ask you this: Have you played through here or played around here and ever felt, man, if I had just ten more yards, five more yards?
I always need ten. Don’t we all? That’s playing golf. The only time I plau like that was kind of like New Orleans. Places where it’s a bomber. It’s really more open. They don’t have the rough, you know. It’s just–but around here, you’ve got to golf your ball. You can’t let your hair down because at any moment you’re going to be in the rough over there, and now you’re trying to hit a punch shot with a flier lie, and you’ve got a bunker over here, and you’ve got over here to the creek or something like that, and then you go up and down, and its tough.
You’re not big on stats, but what was the thing you did best in the final round last year? What was the difference for you?
I kept it in front of me. That to me I felt like I was driving the ball good the whole week. As long as I could just keep it in play and keep it out of that little bit of rough around here, you know, I felt like I could get it on the green somewhere and just two-putt pr make a putt coming in. I felt like every time I stand over it, if my mind’s right. and I feel like I’ve got the right club, I felt like I could knock it in at any moment.
If I recall, last year you were using Tommy’s caddie?
No, I’ve had Barry Williams.
You’ve had him for long?
Well, Blake Adams had to have hip surgery at Torrey Pines two years ago or a year and a half ago. I think it was a year and a half ago. and I’ve had him ever since.
So a year and a half you’ve had him?
I think something like that. I don’t know. We’ve just been together, man. It’s just a job.
And with that we here at Blitz Weekly wish namesake Boo the best of luck this week in Ft. Worth at the Colonial Country Club. A great venue with some great history.
See you at the Colonial!