December 19, 2008

Ryder Cup Hangover

The party continues for the victorious U.S. team

For Boo, the price of fame and success on the golf course means losing a few days from your hunting season.

For Boo, the price of fame and success on the golf course means losing a few days from your hunting season.

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- If there's such a thing as Ryder Cup hangover, then Boo Weekley has it. The U.S. finished up its rousing Ryder Cup victory over Europe way back in September, which is a long time ago even if you count it in dog days. Or in Weekley's case, hunting dog days.

Weekley is playing the Chevron World Challenge this week at Sherwood Country Club, mainly because host Tiger Woods asked him to, and even though he's happy to be playing golf, Weekley would probably just as soon be hiding out in some blind or out in the sticks searching for whatever he can track and hunt.

"If I'm in Alabama, I'd be walking on the ground, trying to sneak up on 'em when they're lyin' down."

Well, there you go. At least there is some peace out in the open field . . . maybe not for the prey, but certainly for Weekley, especially when he realizes he is in a rare place where no one and nothing is going to ask him anything about the Ryder Cup.

And how often does he hear about the Ryder Cup?

"Oh, every day, I reckon. Not every conversation, but about."

That's the price of success, all right, which in a slight twist, is sort of an unexpected reverse of the previous issues of Ryder Cup questions. When the U.S. kept getting hammered, the players kept hearing bunches of questions about why they couldn't win. Now, says Jim Furyk, they're hearing carts-full of questions about how on earth they're going to win it again.

"That question right there would sum up the frustration as an American player, that we have the Ryder Cup, you know . . . it seems like a never-win situation."

Actually, no, that's not quite right. The never-win situation was when the U.S. lost three straight times and looked desperately overmatched. The questions on those occasions could have defrosted icebergs. Why did the European team putt better? How come you guys don't seem to like each other? What's the deal with those shirts?

As far as Furyk can tell, the New Question on whether it's going to be hard to duplicate an actual Ryder Cup victory is truly out of touch.

"Hard to duplicate? Well, we don't have to. It's done, it's over. No one thought we could duplicate 1999 either. And I don't want to try to duplicate 1999 because I don't want to be down that much. I think it's done with, it's over, and I enjoyed the moment. I'll forever have the memories of it, the friendships. The team will always have peace with it."

Furyk's semi-sore feelings are not hard to understand because he's been around long enough to feel the burning pain. If he makes the 2010 team and plays for Corey Pavin, it was be Furyk's seventh appearance on the Ryder Cup team.

If Furyk is an old star, then a couple of new ones emerged at Valhalla (Anthony Kim and Hunter Mahan), and one semi-new one (Weekley). Mahan said he's absolutely certain there's been a little bit of a Ryder Cup hangover.

"I think you were on a high, just emotions, and from going out to the golf course every day and people chanting your name and chanting USA, it's a high. After that, every tournament is a little bit of a lull, but it's just a special event. So get back in the grind now and get back and try to make the team again. It starts all over again."

Kim introduced himself on the worldwide stage at the Ryder Cup and said he's still asked about it every day. He wishes he weren't.

"Obviously it was very exciting and I feel honored to have been a part of it, but it's time to move on and start chasing down the next Presidents Cup and then the next Ryder Cup."

He said he's not thinking about two years from now.

"No, I'm thinking about today."

That's probably a good philosophy. Weekley is a sound-thinker, too, and said he never gets cold or wet when he's hunting in bad weather because he has the proper gear to get the job done. The same is true when Weekley plays golf.

"I got the right gear, I just don't think they'd appreciate it if I showed up in all camo (camouflage)."

Maybe, but if Weekley shines and the U.S. wins the Ryder Cup in two years, don't be surprised if the whole team shows up in all camo the next time.

  • Thomas Bonk is a regular contributor to Golf Digest Digital.*