Sports News

Weekley needs his compass at the Greenbrier Classic

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Playing good golf at this week’s inaugural Greenbrier Classic in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia could be the least of Boo Weekley’s worries as he prepares for Thursday’s opening round.

Boo Weekley of the U.S. watches his shot on the 13th hole at the second round of the Qatar Masters tournament in Doha January 23, 2009. REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad

The affable U.S. Ryder Cup player, like many of his peers, is staying on site at the luxurious Greenbrier resort where he fears he will be unable to locate the hosting Old White Course from the labyrinthine hotel.

“This hotel is amazing,” a wide-eyed Weekley told reporters on Tuesday. “It’s unreal how big this place is. It’s like going to the White House. You get into a hallway and you can walk forever.

“I might have to get my compass out to find my way back to the golf course from where I’m staying at up there.”

Weekley, a double winner on the PGA Tour who has struggled for form this season due to a shoulder injury, said he had already got lost three times trying to plot his way out of the hotel.

“I had to call my agent (manager),” he added with a broad smile. “I ask him: ‘How in the hell do I get where I’m going?’

“He says: ‘Just try to get downstairs.’ I’m like: ‘Well, where is the elevator at?’ I couldn’t even find that..”

A home-spun Florida native who relishes country pursuits such as hunting and fishing, Weekley would dearly love to regain form at The Greenbrier, which is located in the Allegheny Mountains.


“This would be a great place to get it jump-started,” said the 37-year-old who has recorded only two top-10 finishes in 19 PGA Tour starts this season. “My game is starting to come around.

“I found me some drivers I can actually play now and found some irons I feel a little better with. The main thing is just getting out there ... seeing if the putter can get hot.”

World number five Jim Furyk, who has won twice on the 2010 PGA Tour, is the highest-ranked player in the field but, in many respects, no one holds an advantage with this week’s $6 million event being brand new.

“It’s a little bit different,” said Zimbabwe’s Brendon de Jonge, a graduate of nearby Virginia Tech. “We go to the same venues every year and some guys have been there for 20, 25 years. So this will definitely even out the playing field.”

The Greenbrier Classic has replaced the Buick Open, which was removed from the schedule last year when troubled Detroit automaker General Motors announced it had withdrawn its title sponsorships on the PGA Tour.

Asked what type of player was best suited to the Old White Course, de Jonge replied: “It’s not gonna favor any one kind of player. The fairways are fairly narrow, so you got to drive it straight as well.”

Other leading players at The Greenbrier include Spanish Ryder Cup player Sergio Garcia, former PGA Championship winner Davis Love III of the United States and Swede Carl Pettersson, winner of the Canadian Open on Sunday.

Writing by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Steve Ginsburg