Good ol' Boo feels right at home (VIDEO)
Click above to view video interview with Boo Weekley.
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS - If a West Virginian was plucked from the hills and transplanted on the PGA Tour, he would be Thomas Brent "Boo'' Weekley.
Weekley, who worked his way up the Nationwide Tour ladder, struck a blow for the common man during the second round of the inaugural Greenbrier Classic.
Weekley matched his lowest round of the season Friday, carding a 7-under-par 63 on the Old White Course to temporarily vault into first place with a two-day score of 10-under 130. At day's end, he trailed only leader Jeff Overton, who was at 14 under.
"I've had some good luck up here playing golf, and so it just kind of feels like I'm back playing there again,'' said Weekley, who finished runner-up in the Nationwide Tour's National Mining Association Pete Dye Classic in Bridgeport in 2006. "You know, just feels like home playing golf.''
Weekley, who has a thick southern accent and a farmer's tan, is one of us playing at the most exclusive resort in America in the Greenbrier Valley. He admitted as much after revealing he has had trouble finding his away around the sprawling Greenbrier hotel all week where golfers and their families are staying. This week's practice rounds were the first times Weekley had stepped foot on Old White.
Weekley grew up without cable television between the ages of 5 and 9 years old in Milton, Fla., and entertained himself hunting and fishing. When Weekley was in his teens his father, who worked to establish himself as a non-independent pharmacist, was finally making good enough money to move the family from the Florida swamps to the hills.
The 6-foot, 210-pound Weekley worked as a laborer at the Monsanto chemical plant in Pensacola, Fla., after studying turf grass science at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.
The 37-year-old Weekley is also sponsored by Mossy Oak, which specializes in camouflage and outdoor apparel. He used to bring his fishing gear along when he was on the Nationwide Tour though he has long since done away with taking getaways to nearby lakes and rivers between his rounds.
"There are rednecks everywhere,'' smiled Weekley, who earned his nickname from cartoon character Yogi Bear's sidekick Boo Boo. "Ain't just West Virginia, I promise you. Look, I would be proud of it, too. I mean, I am proud of it.''
Weekley has passed through the Mountain State before, competing from 2004-06 in the Nationwide Tour's Pete Dye Classic. He posted a second-place finish in 2006 after losing out on a one-hole playoff and never won a tournament on the Nationwide Tour, considered the minor leagues of the PGA Tour.
"It was a good start there,'' said Weekley of his career's early beginnings at the Pete Dye Classic. "I mean, I got a lot of good memories of being there and playing there. I got to meet a lot of good people there. I've seen a lot of 'em out here this week.''
Weekley turned pro in 1997 and had a one-year stint on the PGA Tour in 2002 before bouncing back to the Nationwide Tour, making just six cuts in 24 events and losing his tour card. He withdrew after a first-round 75 at the Pete Dye event in 2005.
Weekley, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour since joining it full time in 2007, three top-10 finishes this year in 19 starts. He tied for third at the CVS Caremark Charity Classic, finished ninth at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial and was 10th at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. He also tied for 12th at the Verizon Heritage and tied for 21st in the John Deere Classic.
Weekley, who has struggled with a shoulder injury this year, entered this week 91st in the FedExCup standings, is 172nd in the World Golf Rankings and ranks 101st on the PGA Tour money list.
A win this week would carry some weight.
"I'm actually feeling pretty good,'' said Weekley, who tore a labrum in the left back side of his shoulder blade in 2009. "You know, at the John Deere I started feeling a little better about my games.
"I've lost about 20 pounds of weight and kind of got my shoulder feeling a little better. I'm excited to play again. Feels like I can actually come out and compete and don't have to take a bunch of Advil or something where I can play.
"It would be nice [to win this week]. You know, if my stars line up, it would be great to have a win and say, 'Hey, this is my third win here.' This is an awesome place to have it right here.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkin...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.