John's Journal...

Boo Weekley – Homeboy at the Ryder Cup

Playing Under Pressure

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Boo Weekley of Jay, Florida, a longtime avid hunter and fisherman and rookie member of the 2008 Ryder Cup Team U.S.A., helped lead the U.S.A. team on September 21 to their first victory in 9 years at the 37th Ryder Cup. Many didn’t believe this young, rag-tag team with six rookies had a chance to beat the well-established European team. But they didn’t know the Americans had a secret weapon – a magnificent golfer who not only had the skill and the power to win a golf match, but the charisma to setthe world of golfing on-fire with his down-home sayings and mannerisms, his yes-sir and yes-ma’am rearing, and his good-natured, fun-loving spirit.  When one sports writer told Weekley that most experts didn’t give the U.S.A. team mClick to enlargeuch of a chance, Weekley said, “You don’t know what you’ve got until you get out there and play with it. It’s like getting a new pack of hounds when we were growing up and going deer hunting. You didn’t know what kind of dogs you had until you ran ‘em. So, let’s run ‘em, and we’ll see.” And, after watching the Americans win over the Europeans, everyone realized these underdogs hunted just fine. This week Weekley tells us how he made the team and recalls the U.S.A.’s unexpected, yet well-deserved, victory at Valhalla.

Phillips: Boo, what was the pressure like during the Ryder Cup with millions watching on TV and thousands more spectators at the tournament watching your every move?
Boo: The pressure I felt was not from the crowd or the media, but from the team. I had to play really good to help the team win, so I played as much for them as anyone else.Click to enlarge

Phillips: Boo, when you’re on the green at the Ryder Cup or any other tournament with your ball, 15 or 20 yards from the cup, and you’re trying to concentrate and determine the break of the green, the way you want the ball to go and how hard you’ll hit the ball, while the TV cameras are rolling, and all the spectators are watching, how do you zone-out all those distractions and concentrate on making the shot?
Boo: I’ve spent my life practicing for these moments. Someone who’s never played under those conditions may think I’m able to hear and see everything going on around me, but I really don’t. I’m concentrating hard on what I’m trying to accomplish. So, I’m not paying any attention to the crowd or the TV. After I make the shot, then I can hear and see the crowd. But before and during the shot, I’m totally focused on the task.

Phillips: Boo, how do you prepare yourself mentally to play golf on a worldwide stage like the Ryder Cup? Do you listen to inspirational music, meditate or read certain kinds of books?
Boo: No, sir. I just geClick to enlarget something to eat, warm up and play golf. It’s no different from getting up and going to work everyday.

Phillips: Boo, how important was your caddy in the Ryder Cup?
Boo: The caddy is the most-important person to any good golfer. If you have a good caddy, you can expect good things to happen. My caddy, Joe Pyland, kept me positive and focused throughout the entire event. He encouraged and motivated me to ignore the pressure, have fun and enjoy the game.

Phillips: One of the events of the Ryder Cup most-often replayed is one of you climbing on one of your clubs and galloping away from the green like you were riding a horse. What inspired you to do that?
Boo: I don’t know. I just did it. I was sort of the class clown at the Ryder Cup, and I enjoyed the role because it wasn’t out of character for me. That’s my normal behavior.

Phillips: What lessons will you carry from the Ryder’s Cup into your next tournaments?
Boo: The Ryder Cup was the greatest event in which I’ve ever participated, other than my marriage and the birth of my two children. The Ryder’s Cup was the best thing I’ve ever been a part of in the world of sports.

Tomorrow: Memorable Events

Check back each day this week for more about "Cliff Hanger Bucks"

Day 1: The Ryder Cup Team
Day 2: A Team United
Day 3: Not Just About the Money and the Title
Day 4: Playing Under Pressure
Day 5: Memorable Events


Entry 477, Day 4