Boo Gets Fashionable

By: Tony Dear


Instead of teeing it up at the FBR Open in Phoenix - the PGA Tour's biggest open-air party and a tournament you'd expect him to relish - Boo Weekley was at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando promoting his new line of clothing.

Come again? Boo Weekley designing clothes?

Yes indeed, the 35-year-old, two-time tour winner from the Florida's boondocks, the man who makes Forrest Gump sound like a university professor, was at the show introducing his new "Boo by Firethorn" line that features an awful lot of "duck-blind" camouflage and hunter's orange.

Though fairly hands-on during the design and manufacturing process, Weekley admitted to knowing next to nothing about fashion. "They're just using me for my name," he joked before adding, "On tour, I usually pack for three weeks in a couple of bags. I reach in there in the morning and pull something out, snap it a couple of times and say, 'That'll match these britches.' "

He seemed equally confused by hi-tech advances in materials and fabrics: "I don't know how the sweat come out and the sun don't come in."

Weekley launched his clothing line in conjunction with a couple of his favored charities: Wounded Warrior Project and Caddies for a Cure. So even though his palettes and patterns might not be to everyone's taste, at least they're helping a number of good causes, for which we can forgive just about any amount of duck-blind camouflage.

I sat down with Boo for 10 minutes in the Firethorn booth at the PGA Show. I had difficulty looking directly at him because of the disgusting, brown, chewing-tobacco goop he kept spitting into a glass beer bottle. But he was courteous, charming and entertaining nevertheless.

Q: Tell us about the Wounded Warrior Project.

Boo: It's trying to help the guys wounded overseas; the guys who have done all the right things, trying to help us stay safe. I really enjoy meeting the guys who were unfortunate enough to get hurt.

Q: So what's your actual role?

Boo: Just hanging out with them and of course trying to raise some money. It's a good thing to give back to those who've given so much to us.

Q: Moving on; it took you a few years to become an established world star. Did it take longer than expected?

Boo: (Laughing) I never expected or planned to be a star. You can call me a world star, but I'm just still Boo. I'm just who I am. It's taken me a long time to get to where I am in life and I feel very fortunate and blessed to be where I am. But like I say, I don't see myself as no hero nor nothing.

Q: You enjoy it though, being a star?

Boo: Yeah, sometimes it's fun. But there are times when I just want to get away by myself and do my own thing. That's why I hunt and fish so much.

Q: On a typical Saturday, would you rather be out hunting or playing golf?

Boo: Well, I can do both. I can go out hunting in the morning, play some golf in the afternoon, then go out hunting again when I'm done golfing.

Q: So, singles day at the Ryder Cup or a day hunting in Florida?

Boo: Ryder Cup, win lose or draw. There's nothing like it.

Q: Final day at a tour event or a day hunting?

Boo: Am I in contention?

Q: Yes.

Boo: Well, it all depends. Most times, if you gave me the chance to go out and shoot a world-class buck, against playing in a regular tournament, I'm going to go shoot that buck. If I'm in contention though, I might stay for the golf (smiles).

Q: Does the hunting and fishing on offer determine which tournaments you play?

Boo: Not really, not any more. It used to when I was on the Nationwide Tour. I used to take my rods everywhere I went. I used to go dove hunting in some Texas towns or rabbit hunting. I used to worry more about where I was going to go hunting than my golf. But I've kind of pushed all that to the side now. I'm more focused now.

Q: Is that why you're a world-class player now, because you focus more on your golf than you do hunting?

Boo: Yes, I'd have to say so. I spend a lot more time now focusing on what I need to do to be able to retire at an early age.

Q: So you can go hunting.

Boo: Yes. That's all I'm going to do. If and when I get to my goal, I'm done.

Q: You have a time limit on that? Five, 10 years?

Boo: I really don't. I just want to get to the point where I can take a year off or something. So I can go spend some time with my family and my kids (two boys) and be able to show them what my daddy showed me. The opportunity for me to go out in the woods kept me out of trouble.

Q: Are there many other hunters on tour?

Boo: Oh yeah, there's a bunch of them. Steve Stricker, Davis Love, you'd be surprised how many hunt. Briny Baird, he's a big fisherman.

Q: You have a Tour hunting club?

Boo: No, there's nothing like that. It's more of an individual thing. You don't really go with a group. But me and Heath Slocum (Slocum attended the same high school as Weekley and his father caddied for Weekley at Q School in 2001) go fishing together at the Tampa tournament; it used to be called the PODS Championship, I think it's something else now. Anyway, we'll go fishing after playing a practice round.

Q: Bubba Watson, the other of the famous trio that went to Milton High School and now plays on the PGA Tour, moved to Scottsdale last year. Would you consider moving just to make all the traveling you do easier?

Boo: No, I ain't never leaving home. I got it all. It's where the good Lord started at first. We got fresh-water, salt-water and all the animals you could ever want to shoot.

Q: How was your trip to Qatar?

Boo: It wasn't what I was expecting. I was expecting more of a desert course. And I couldn't believe all the high-rises. It's unreal. I know that whatever's happening to our economy ain't affecting them. Looks like those buildings are going up left and right. It's just unreal.

Q: Did you enjoy the experience?

Boo: Oh yeah, it was a very good experience and I got to spend it with my wife (Karyn) which made it even better. Unfortunately we didn't get out a whole lot, and I was so jet-lagged I just went straight to bed after getting done on the golf course.

Q: So you could have been in Qatar, Phoenix, anywhere really?

Boo: Right, but I wanted to try it. I wanted the experience. That's one of the great things about golf; you can stay in one spot like a hermit or get out and try different things. I like to try different things. I've always been a tryer.

Q: Feeling good about the rest of the year?

Boo: I'm ready. I feel like I'm getting close to top form. And I'm excited about switching my ball to Srixon and seeing how that performs.

Q: Any goals - are you someone who sets goals?

Boo: No, not really. I just want to be top 20 in the world. I suppose that's my goal. And if I don't get there I suppose I'll just go back to the drawing board and start all over.

This article and interview originally appeared in www.golfmagic.com.

Tony Dear is an Englishman living in Bellingham, Wash. In the early 1990s he was a member of the Liverpool University golf team which played its home matches at Royal Liverpool GC. Easy access to Hoylake made it increasingly difficult for him to focus on Politics (his chosen major) and, after dropping out, he ended up teaching golf at a club just south of London where he also made a futile attempt at becoming a "player." He moved into writing when it became abundantly clear he had no business playing the game for a living. A one-time golf correspondent of the New York Sun, Tony is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America, the Pacific Northwest Golf Media Association and the Golf Travel Writers Association. In 2009, Tony won first place for Editorial/Opinion in the ING Media Awards for Cybergolf. The article (http://www.cybergolf.com/golf_newsa_euros_take_on_the_2008_ryder_cup_matches) that impressed the judges was the one about Europe's Ryder Cup team and Captain Nick Faldo's decision to pick Paul Casey and Ian Poulter rather than Darren Clarke.


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