The first PGA Tour event of 2014 beckons and Boo Weekley, reigning champion of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, admits he is glad the golf season does not begin with a major championship. Or a title defense in Fort Worth.
“No. I’ve been doing too much deer hunting,” Weekley said on the eve of today’s opening round at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. “I killed two on Sunday before we flew out here.”
By his own count, Weekley – an avid hunter – has stocked the refrigerator with venison meat from “12 or 13” deer taken during the fall season. But his wife, Karyn, has gotten him by a 2-1 margin in trophy kills that wound up at the taxidermist.
The bottom line, said Weekley, is that his favorite hobby has left minimal time for golf. He said he heads into today’s opening round at the Plantation Course at Kapalua having played just six rounds of golf since mid-November.
“It’s always exciting to be here. But I’m just trying to get back into the swing of things,” said Weekley, who has posted three top 33 finishes in three starts on the 2013-14 PGA Tour calendar, which offers a wraparound approach to official earnings and FedEx points for the first time this season. “But so far, I’m still a little shaky. I’ve gained about 15 pounds since hunting season started. It’s rained a lot so I haven’t been able to walk around as much.”
Weekley said he expects to have his game grooved long before the season’s first major championship, at the Masters Tournament (April 7-13), or before his title defense at Colonial, May 19-25 in Fort Worth.
“I’m looking forward to this year,” Weekley said in a phone interview. “I just need to lose a little weight and get things rolling with the putter. Then, just let it happen. Like last year.”
Joining Weekley among the 30 players in today’s opening round at Kapalua is Sang-Moon Bae, winner of the 2013 HP Byron Nelson Championship, and Jordan Spieth, a Dallas native and second-year pro making his debut at the Tournament of Champions. Spieth, 20, is a rising star on tour who was a contender for last year’s Colonial title.
_ Jimmy Burch