The Honda tournament has long been an event at which players take a step up the ladder. Wilson did that last week, and Villegas and Weekley did too, even though they weren't lifting a giant key to the Honda of their choice on Monday morning. They spent the week trying to bury a reputation built mostly on appearances. When Weekley, who does not sport a Body by Jake physique, first got his Tour card for the 2002 season, he was mocked in some quarters for the nylon camouflage pants he wore on the course (he gets an allergic reaction on his right leg when he wears cotton) and for playing in sneakers (golf shoes, even with soft spikes, caused him foot pain). Now he wears polyester-blend pants--khaki-colored ones, most days--that look plenty ordinary, and he's found cushiony sole inserts that allow him to wear regular golf shoes.
Villegas, meanwhile, was at the other end of the looks-and-attitude spectrum. Built like Sugar Ray Leonard in his 1980s prime and sporting a wardrobe out of Johnny Miller's closet from his 1970s prime, he is one of the few players on Tour who can do the skin-tight thing in a color known as robin's-egg blue. His look, plus his promising golf, has earned the 25-year-old TV time, magazine coverage and nice-sized galleries. But what he craves is a win, something he achieved often in college. "That's why we play golf--to win," he says. "Obviously some guys do it more often than others." He has the drive and the work ethic to be an elite player. Whether he has the talent is still unknown.
Of course, it's not always about talent. The least talented of the four men in the playoff won the tournament. But Wilson had karma going for him, which is nice. Nice for him, nice for his caddie, nice for us to watch. "I didn't call the penalty on myself so I'd be rewarded with draining a bunch of putts on the weekend," the winner said. "The rules are the rules, and if you break them, you call it on yourself. But the way it all worked out, that was something." ?
? For Alan Shipnuck's Hot List, go to SI.com/golf.