Notes OHairs Friend Comparisons to Jordan

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2006 PGA ChampionshipMEDINAH, Ill -- Sean O'Hair grabbed a 3-iron at the 13th tee, took a few swings and didn't feel right. So his caddie suggested a 5-wood.
 
Perfect.
 
O'Hair missed a hole-in-one by about an inch, the ball settling on the edge of the cup 241 yards away. His 68 Sunday put him in a tie for 12th at the PGA Championship, his best finish yet at a major.
 
'He's playing better,' said caddie Steve Lucas, who also doubles as O'Hair's father-in-law. 'He's not making the mistakes that young players make. He's not having the 76-67 rounds. It's getting so much better. He's infinitely better as a player now than he was six months ago.'
 
And Lucas can take some of the credit.
 
O'Hair is estranged from his own father after a rough childhood in which his father drove him to become a professional golfer. But he found a father figure in Lucas and credits him with helping him find success last season, when he was the rookie of the year.
 
But Lucas gave up the bag earlier this season. Both say there was no animosity. Lucas said he was worn out and needed a break from the tour so he could focus on his insurance business.
 
O'Hair tried two different caddies, but it wasn't the same. He missed eight cuts and had only four top-25 finishes. Lucas started caddying for his son-in-law again two weeks ago at the Buick Open, and it was like old times.
 
O'Hair tied for fourth, shooting 19-under.
 
'The other caddies were fine. They just didn't know my game. They didn't know my personality,' O'Hair said. 'We know what works. We're doing a little better job managing the relationship.
 
'We're around each other so much, so you have to really manage it and make sure you don't get on each other's nerves. We have always worked well on the golf course together, and it's just improving through experience.'
 
JORDAN COMPARISONS
The way Tiger Woods dominated this weekend, it was no surprise Michael Jordan's name came up during his news conference.
 
Nor is it shocking that they're friends.
 
'It was neat to have him, when I came out on tour, befriend me and pull me under his wing and say, 'This is the way life is going to be out here if you achieve the things you want to achieve. These are the things you're going to have to deal with,'' Woods said.
 
The two occasionally play golf together, and Woods recently got a look at Jordan playing his own game. Jordan was with his son at a basketball tournament in Florida, and he and Woods stepped onto the court.
 
'M.J. is still M.J.,' he said. 'He's only (on) about five or 10 minutes now. But the shots he can hit, the fadeaways, the technique, the release, it's just different.'
 
HAWAII BOUND
Jim Furyk already earned a trip to Hawaii by winning the Wachovia Championship.
 
Now he gets another trip to paradise.
 
Furyk was first alternate for the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, an exhibition of the four major champions of the year that will be held Nov. 21-22 at Poipu Bay. The spot was vacant when Tiger Woods won the PGA Championship on Sunday, giving him two majors. He also won the British Open, while Phil Mickelson won the Masters and Geoff Ogilvy won the U.S. Open.
 
The alternate goes to a former major champion who did the best in the majors this year.
 
Furyk, who tied for second at the U.S. Open and was fourth at the British Open, had 270.33 points to beat out Ernie Els (239) and Mike Weir (219.16).
 
CHANGING PLANS
Dean Wilson's first chance to play at the World Golf Championship was interrupted by the Sept. 11 attacks.
 
Five years later, he gets another chance.
 
Wilson qualified last week by beating Tom Lehman in sudden death at The International -- his first PGA Tour victory. So instead of going to the Reno-Tahoe Open, he'll head to Firestone in Akron, Ohio.
 
'I was very excited to play in that event and get a feel for it,' Wilson said, referring to the 2001 event, then called the American Express Championship in St. Louis. 'I played a couple practice rounds. Then, 9/11 happened.'
 
This year?
 
'I'm still excited,' Wilson said. 'I've played a lot more tournaments. I've got more experience. I've played more majors. Maybe it won't be as huge of an excitement for me. It may be more commonplace, just go out and play the tournament.'
 
Wilson's mother, Grace, was scheduled to watch him play in Reno. Instead, she'll make the trip from Hawaii to Akron.
 
There will be no casinos, but that won't be a problem for her.
 
'She's a huge golf fan,' Wilson said. 'She loves to come out and walk every hole and watch me practice. She's the one who got me started in golf.'
 
A HAPPY MAYFAIR
Even after shooting a 76, Billy Mayfair walked off the course with a smile.
 
He finished the tournament at 1-under -- not bad considering everything he has gone through. He had cancer surgery just over two weeks ago, and his mother suffered a stroke and heart attack last week.
 
'It's been a heck of a last couple of weeks,' Mayfair said. 'My mom's doing good. I talked to her (Saturday) night. She's up and around. She probably doesn't know where she's at, but who does know where we're at? She's doing much better.'
 
RATINGS GAME
Having Tiger Woods in the hunt never hurts the TV ratings.
 
CBS Sports reported a 4.9 overnight rating with a 12 share for the third round Saturday, up from a 4.4 overnight rating an 11 share in the third round last year at Baltusrol.
 
The rating is the percentage of all homes with TVs, whether or not they are in use. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.
 
It was the highest rating at the PGA Championship for the third round since 2002 at Hazeltine.
 
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