Notes Els Aims For No 1 at PGA


04 PGA ChampionshipHAVEN, Wis. -- Ernie Els lost a little ground in the world ranking with his tie for 29th in the International, but he is closer than ever to replacing Tiger Woods as No. 1 in the world.
In the previous two majors, Els needed at least a victory to end Woods five-year reign at the top. Going into the PGA Championship, the Big Easy can overtake him by finishing second.
Heres the scenario for Els to move to No. 1:
He wins, and Woods finishes in a three-way tie for second.
He finishes second alone, and Woods finishes 16th alone.
He finishes in a two-way tie for second, Woods misses the cut and Vijay Singh does not win.
Singh, who challenged Woods earlier in the year before slipping to No. 3, has a chance to move to No. 1 if the Fijian wins the PGA, Woods misses the cut and Els is not the sole runner-up.
Woods tied Greg Normans record Monday when he was No. 1 for the 331st week. He can break the record by holding down the No. 1 spot this week.
This is the five-year anniversary of the last time someone other than Woods was atop the world ranking. David Duval was No. 1 going into the 1999 PGA Championship, where
Woods won to end an 0-for-10 drought in the majors.
Bruce Smith of Lewisville, Texas, is one of 25 club professionals who qualified for the PGA Championship, and a chance encounter with John Daly last week paid off in more ways than one.
Smiths 2-year-old daughter, Kennedy, was born with lymphatic malformation of a portion of her face. He held a celebrity pro-am at his home club, The Trails of Frisco Golf Club near Dallas.
During a practice round at Whistling Straits last week, Daly was playing behind Smith and caught up with him. Smith asked Daly if he wanted to play through, but the 91 PGA champion said he wanted a partner. During the final three holes, Smith told him about the pro-am tournament to raise money for his daughter.
First, Daly offered to give him souvenirs from his motor home for the auction. Then, Daly reached into his pocket.
I thought he was giving me a business card, Smith said. But he handed me a roll of bills. John said, Here, put that in your foundation. I peeled the bills apart, and there was $1,000. I was pretty choked up about it.
I will never forget John and what he has done.
Chad Campbell had two caddies with him during a practice round Monday'Jud Burkett, his regular looper, and a Ping representative carrying six drivers.
Oh, Campbell also had three other drivers in his bag.
It is an ongoing search for Campbell to find a driver he likes, ever since the face of his regular driver'one he had used for almost 15 months'cracked 10 minutes before his tee time at the Honda Classic.
Ive been kind of looking for one ever since, Campbell said. Ive been trying out a little bit of everything, seeing whats all out there. The one Im hitting right now (Ping G2) is pretty good, so most likely Ill end up sticking with that one.
Thats no guarantee. When Campbell won at Bay Hill, he used two drivers over four rounds.
Former PGA champions Steve Elkington and Larry Nelson withdrew on Monday, bringing the number to eight players who already have withdrawn.
Nelson, a two-time winner who now plays the Champions Tour, cited a wrist injury. Elkington reinjured a groin muscle. On Sunday, the PGA lost two marquee players when U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen bailed out with injuries from a jet ski accident, while three-time major winner Nick Price decided to extend his family vacation.
Others to withdraw where Jeff Maggert (wife about to have twins), Tom Watson (neck), Thomas Bjorn (neck) and Toshi Izawa (sinus infection).
As of Monday, the field still had 96 of the top 100 players in the world ranking.
There are some 1,400 bunkers at Whistling Straits, a number that is hard to verify because some of the traps are no bigger than a coffin.
In fact, there is so much sand that the gallery is forced to walk through some bunkers. If players hit into footprints, they probably deserve the lie they get because the shot will have been well off line.
The PGA of America said all bunkers will be played as hazards, meaning players will not be allowed to ground their clubs or remove loose impediments.
And if a ball winds up in a fans footprint?
Such irregularities of surface are a part of the game and no free relief will be available from these conditions, the PGA said.
The gates to Whistling Straits were not even open to the public when the PGA Championship had its first weather delay of the week.
The course was closed at 7:25 a.m. Monday because of lightning in the area, and a dozen players stood next to the practice range for some 30 minutes waiting for it to open. Practice rounds did not begin until about two hours later.
It didnt matter to Lee Westwood, who got lost on his way to the course.
I saw most of Wisconsin this morning, Westwood said. Im staying 15 minutes away, but it turned into 50 minutes. Im sure theres a right way for me to come, but I only managed to find the last bit of it.
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