Sunday, September 21, 2008

Boo's influence more than words

The word is compatibate.

And the American Ryder Cup team can thank Boo Weekley for it.

Leave it to Boo to throw out a word that really isn’t a word to describe what made this Ryder Cup team different from the last three that, apparently, didn’t compatibate.

Boo couldn’t exactly define what compatibate means when asked Sunday night but it means something like 16 ½ - 11 1/2 , which was the final score at Valhalla Golf Club.

Maybe the Ryder Cup comes down to nothing more than which team plays the best. There is a strong correlation between holing putts and winning trophies, no matter which trophy is at stake.

But U.S. captain Paul Azinger had a plan that first popped into his mind a few years back when he was watching a documentary. If he ever captained the Ryder Cup team, Azinger decided he would use the concepts he learned from the documentary, which suggested breaking big groups into smaller groups.

With 12 players on his team, Azinger broke them into four-man groups for practice rounds, team matches and, I’m guessing here, seating assignments at dinner.

It was easy to pick out the groups.

The alpha group included Phil Mickelson, Anthony Kim, Hunter Mahan and Justin Leonard. Funny, how they were the first four guys to go out in Sunday’s singles.

The second group included southerners Kenny Perry, J.B. Holmes Boo Weekley and Pennsylvania native Jim Furyk, who was an adopted southerner while in Louisville.
Those four, coincidentally, went out in the middle of the singles lineup.

The final group – Stewart Cink, Steve Stricker, Ben Curtis and Chad Campbell – the mild-mannered, quiet guys went at the end.

“I had to sell it to the players and they were, to a man, behind this,” Azinger said.
See what happens when you compatibate?