NAPLES, Fl. -- Is Qatar ready for Boo Weekley, or is Boo Weekley ready for Qatar?
Those questions will be answered the third week of January, when golf's real-life pop culture icon boards a plane after the first two PGA Tour events of the 2009 season and heads to the Middle East for one of the European Tour's marquee events, the Qatar Masters.
Weekley's Q rating grew nationally with his starring role in the Ryder Cup. He appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, waved the green flag to open a NASCAR race at Talledega and hung with Dale Earnhardt Jr. during a charity golf event in Charlotte. Overseas, he is now attractive enough to garner appearance fees.
Weekley has also taken out an affiliate membership on the European Tour with hopes of qualifying for the Race to Dubai. He plans on playing at Loch Lomond in the Barclays Scottish Open during the week before the Open Championship. And while he turned down an opportunity earlier in the fall to play in Hong Kong, he is considering other European Tour events.
"All I know is when I get on that airplane I want a raft under me so if it does decide to go in some water, I want to be able to have a fighting chance to get home," Weekley said during a news conference before the Merrill Lynch Shootout, where he's paired with Ryder Cup partner J.B. Holmes. "I mean to tell you the truth, I didn't know I was going to go over there to play golf."
Weekley may be playing dumb about the golf, but he really did believe it when agent Jimmy Johnston of Crown Sports told him that his wife, Karyn, would have to wear a veil, as is custom, when they visit Qatar.
After his desert experience, Weekley will fly back to Florida for the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, where his signature camo line will be debuted by Firethorn. He didn't design it, but he signed off on it. "I think I'm going to fly home, take a week off, come down to the PGA Show and hang out, see what's belly-up down there," Weekley said. "I heard a bunch of stories. I have to check it out and make sure they ain't lying."
As for his "Happy Gilmore," routine at Valhalla, Weekley admitted it was premeditated, something he thought up the night before his singles match with Oliver Wilson. Adam Sandler, star of the movie, saw it and sent Weekley a bottle of champagne.
-- Tim Rosaforte