Notes Pettersson Skipping PGA for Bridgestone

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WGC-Bridgestone - 125wAKRON, Ohio -- Carl Pettersson hopes to play six of the next seven weeks through the end of the FedEx Cup, no different from most other players.
 
But none of the others is taking that one week off during the PGA Championship.
 
Pettersson said he will not be at Southern Hills next week, instead spending time at home in Raleigh, N.C., with his new son. His wife gave birth to their second child, Chase Larson, on Sunday.
 
Why not skip the Bridgestone Invitational and tee it up in Tulsa?
 
'Guaranteed points here,' Pettersson said.
 
The Swede is at No. 55 in the FedExCup standings, and hopes to play well enough this week to move up the list. He also will play in Greensboro the week after the PGA Championship, which is an hour from his home and constitutes a home game. Then it's off to the FedExCup playoffs, where he likely will be eligible for at least the first three events.
 
Pettersson's wife is surrounded with family this week, and he figures he'll be needed more next week when everyone leaves. Still, it all goes back to wanting to set himself up for the FedExCup.
 
'There will be another PGA next year,' Pettersson said. 'I've earned my way here, and I hope I can earn some good points.'
 
MR. POPULAR
K.J. Choi has won two PGA TOUR events this year -- not to mention the hearts of his homeland.
 
Already the first South Korean to play on the TOUR, Choi has started a golf craze in his native land.
 
Choi is a national figure back home. Kids mimic his swing and he is as widely recognized there as Tiger Woods might be walking the streets of New York City or Los Angeles.
 
Choi has blazed a trail that might lead to others from his country coming to the United States to play golf, much like Se Ri Pak opened the floodgates for South Koreans to succeed on the LPGA Tour.
 
'When I became the first Korean to make it on the PGA TOUR, that was a historic moment,' Choi said Wednesday during preparations for the Bridgestone Invitational, an $8 million World Golf Championship that starts Thursday. 'But it went to another level when I won the two tournaments this year. It just created that much more buzz.'
 
Choi didn't win just any tournaments -- he won ones hosted by two of the most famous golfers on the planet. In early June he won Jack Nicklaus' Memorial Tournament and followed that up last month by taking Woods' AT&T National.
 
He also made a splash at the British Open two weeks ago at Carnoustie, hanging among the leaders for all four rounds before finishing tied for eighth.
 
He stands eighth in the world rankings and No. 5 on the PGA TOUR money list.
 
A powerfully built 5-foot-8 and 185 pounds, Choi lifted weights while growing up. He picked up golf after a high school teacher recommended a Nicklaus how-to book, then studied Nicklaus' teaching videos and spent long hours practicing what he saw.
 
Now he has six TOUR titles and another six around the world.
 
Like Nicklaus and Woods are here, Choi is larger than life in his homeland. He knows he is watched by young players and he welcomes the attention.
 
'Being able to win these two tournaments and having a great year, it provides the hope and dreams to the young kids as a role model,' Choi said. 'I can be a role model for them. I feel very proud that I'm able to do that.'
 
LAZYBONES
 
Ben Curtis should be Joe Six-pack's favorite player.
 
Curtis could have gotten up at daybreak for the final round of the British Open two weeks ago at Carnoustie. He could have run a couple of miles, eaten a healthy breakfast and then gone to the range and pounded a thousand balls before working on his short game for an hour or two.
 
Instead, he slept in.
 
'It was raining pretty hard and I was just taking the lazy approach more than anything,' Curtis said during preparation for Thursday's opening round of the Bridgestone Invitational.
 
In a performance cheered by slackers everywhere, Curtis shot a 65 to vault into a tie for eighth place at the tournament he shocked the world by winning in 2003.
 
Curtis puts in his time on the range and practice green. But he doesn't see any sense in wearing yourself out before the shots start to count.
 
'I just wanted to get warm,' said Curtis, an Ohio native who played his college golf not far away from Firestone Country Club. 'Just as long as my body is loose, it doesn't matter to me. A warmup is a warmup. It doesn't matter how good or bad you hit it on the range, it doesn't reflect how you hit it on the course.'
 
DIVOTS
No wonder the world's best players come to the Bridgestone: There's no cut and the winner collects $1,350,000 from an $8 million purse, spread among just 84 players. ... Tee times have been adjusted because of the size of the field, with players going off both tees in two waves in the first two rounds.
 
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