Others Look to Steal Spotlight

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2006 PGA ChampionshipMEDINAH, Ill ' Players and their practice round tee times are listed on a sign outside the merchandise tent at Medinah Country Club. Tiger Woods name was on there Wednesday; however, it was a part of a statement in the top, right corner that read, No Tiger Woods as of 10:20.
 
Maybe hes coming out later to see how the course plays in the afternoon, pondered one fan to another.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods showed up briefly Wednesday to prepare for the PGA Championship.
As patrons looked up and down the big board they noticed another name conspicuously missing.
 
I dont see Phil on here, pointed out one person.
 
Another chimed in with: This sucks.
 
Phil Mickelson was offsite Wednesday, as he usually is the day before the start of a major championship, playing Chicago Golf Club. Woods, meanwhile, actually did show up. He arrived late in the afternoon to get in a little time on the practice range.
 
If this small sample of fan interest indicates overall sentiment, then once again the primary focus at a major championship is cast on a pair of players ' the top two players in the world.
 
And not everyone seems to mind. Case in point, Jim Furyk, who says hes quite content with the amount of attention he receives, and with his place in the game.
 
You know, it's never mattered, he said in his pre-tournament press conference. Im happy with where I stand in the world of golf.
 
Whether or not I show up on TV every week versus Tiger or Phil or whoever it may be, is not important to me. I think the guys that get the attention or get more attention than me are deserving of it and are obviously great players. I get my due.
 
Furyk is hoping to receive his due Sunday evening in the form of the Wanamaker trophy, as are 153 others who are not receiving nearly as much attention combined as are a certain two.
 
In the shadows of Woods and Mickelson, Furyk has risen to No. 3 on the Official World Golf Ranking. And given his recent performance, as well as his past success in Chicagoland, he has to be considered among the second tier of favorites this week.
 
Furyk has finished inside the top 5 in each of his last four starts, including at the U.S. Open and Open Championship. He tied for fourth in his title defense at the Western Open, held at nearby Cog Hill, and his lone major championship came in the 03 U.S. Open at Olympia Fields, also in the area.
 
Chicago has been good to me, he said. Hopefully I can have a good week.
 
Hes not the only one with such hope.
 
While Woods and Mickelson, who will be positioned alongside one another over the first two rounds this week, will garner the lions share of attention, others are hoping a sideshow can again steal away spotlight ' just like at the U.S. Open.
 
Geoff Ogilvy was the surprise winner the last time a major was contested on American soil. As is PGA Championship custom, he will be grouped with fellow 06 major winners Mickelson and Woods Thursday and Friday. Despite his status as the reigning U.S. Open champion, Ogilvy knows that he will be the third wheel in this threesome ' and it doesnt bother him one bit.
 
Geoff Ogilvy
Geoff Ogilvy is looking to dial-up another major upset.
Im very comfortable being the smallest name in my group. Any time you get to play with the best golfers in the world, it has to be a good thing, said Ogilvy, who also captured the Accenture Match Play Championship and could earn Player of the Year honors with a win this week.
 
If that doesnt happen, there are several other eager ' and worthy ' wannabe major winners.
 
Sergio Garcia may well be at the top of that list.
 
Garcia is coming off a disappointing finish to the Open Championship. He started the final round one back of leader Woods, but struggled out of the gates Sunday at Hoylake, eventually shooting 73 and finishing seven behind in a tie for fifth.
 
It was yet another missed opportunity to win one of golfs Big 4, and one of his best since this tournament, at this venue in 1999, when he made his formal introduction to the golfing world, nearly coming from behind to topple Woods.
 
He failed to do so that week. Seven years later, the 26-year-old finds himself still without a major, and still answering questions as to reasons why.
 
Its not easy to go out there and win a major when youre young and even when youre in your 20s, said Garcia, who has 11 career top-10 finishes in majors, but only one in the PGA since his runner-up finish in 99. Tiger has been able to do that plenty of times, and you expect everybody else to do the same. Its not that easy.
 
Chris DiMarco can attest to that. Hes finished runner-up in three majors, including to Vijay Singh at this event in a playoff in 2004.
 
Like Garcia, DiMarco is coming off a failed opportunity to win the Open Championship. But contrary to Garcia, DiMarco performed quite admirably in the final round, coming up just short to Woods.
 
He enters this week brimming with confidence.
 
I have great memories from when I put myself in position at the British Open, and if I can get myself into position like that again, I feel like I learned a lot from that week, said DiMarco, who was buoyed at Royal Liverpool by the support from his family and the memory of his mother, who suddenly passed away just weeks before that tournament.
 
That week has given me hope for the rest of the year and hope for my career. So Im looking forward to finishing this year out strong. If I can go out and do something crazy and maybe win a couple (of events) coming in, it could be my best year ever.
 
Another player looking to turn around his season is Ernie Els. The South African hasnt won on the PGA TOUR since the 2004 Memorial and is still trying to fight his way back from a knee injury that sidelined him for this event a year ago.
 
Els was just one off the lead after 36 holes of the British, but shot 71-71 over the weekend and finished in third place.
 
He believes that better putting and a better frame of mind are necessary to capture his first PGA Championship title, which would give him three legs of the career Grand Slam.
 
Ive got to do a couple of things a little better under pressure, and thats been on my mind a little bit, said Els, who has finished in the top 5 in each of his last two PGA starts.
 
It feels like my game is not too bad at the moment. Id like to hopefully be in contention again.
 
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