Notes Els Aims For No 1 at PGA

By Associated PressAugust 9, 2004, 4:00 pm
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.
 
GENEROUS DALY
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.
 
DRIVER WANTED
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.
 
WITHDRAWS
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.
 
BUNKERS
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.
 
SLOW START TO THE WEEK
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.
 
Related Links:
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    Phil rubs fan's Donald Duck hat seven times, signs it

    By Nick MentaJune 18, 2018, 3:09 pm

    There is a case to be made that what Phil Mickelson did on Saturday made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

    There is also a case to be made that the USGA's setup of Shinnecock Hills made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

    Whatever you think about what Mickelson did on Saturday - and how he attempted to justify it after the fact without even a hint of remorse - watch this video.

    The next time you hear someone say, "If anybody else had putted a moving ball on purpose and not apologized for it, it would get a different reaction," you can point to this video and say, "Yeah, here's why."

    Here's what happened once a still-strident Mickelson was done rubbing Donald Duck hats on Sunday, per Ryan Lavner:

    If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.

    “The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”

    The 2024 Ryder Cup at Bethpage is going to be a three-ring circus, and Mickelson, a likely choice to captain the U.S. team, will be the ringmaster.

    Separately, shoutout to 2017 Latin Am champ Toto Gana, who does a terrific Donald Duck (skip to end).

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    Ryder Cup race: Mickelson out, Simpson in

    By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:34 pm

    There's a new man at the top of the U.S. Ryder Cup race following the U.S. Open, and there's also a familiar name now on the outside looking in.

    Brooks Koepka's successful title defense vaulted him to the top of the American points race, up four spots and ensuring he'll be on the team Jim Furyk takes to Paris in September. Dustin Johnson's third-place finish moved him past Patrick Reed at No. 2, while Webb Simpson entered the top eight after a a tie for 10th.

    While Bryson DeChambeau remained at No. 9, Phil Mickelson dropped two spots to No. 10. Tony Finau, who finished alone in fifth, went from 16th to 13th, while Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 37.

    Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

    1. Brooks Koepka

    2. Dustin Johnson

    3. Patrick Reed

    4. Justin Thomas

    5. Jordan Spieth

    6. Rickie Fowler

    7. Bubba Watson

    8. Webb Simpson

    ---

    9. Bryson DeChambeau

    10. Phil Mickelson

    11. Matt Kuchar

    12. Brian Harman

    On the European side, England's Tommy Fleetwood took a big stride toward securing his first Ryder Cup appearance with a runner-up finish that included a Sunday 63 while countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick snuck into a qualifying spot after tying for 12th.

    Here's a look at the updated Euro standings, with the top four from both points lists joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn at Le Golf National:

    European Points

    1. Tyrrell Hatton

    2. Justin Rose

    3. Tommy Fleetwood

    4. Francesco Molinari

    ---

    5. Thorbjorn Olesen

    6. Ross Fisher

    World Points

    1. Jon Rahm

    2. Rory McIlroy

    3. Alex Noren

    4. Matthew Fitzpatrick

    ---

    5. Ian Poulter

    6. Rafael Cabrera-Bello

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    Koepka autographs local kids' 'Go Brooks' sign after win

    By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 2:30 pm

    Brooks Koepka is a two-time U.S. Open winner, but that doesn't mean he's now too big to go sign a couple pieces of cardboard in somebody's front yard in the middle of the night.

    Koepka's girlfriend, Jena Sims, posted two pictures to her Instagram story on Sunday of "Go Brooks" signs she says were put up by some local kids in the area where Koepka was staying for the week.

    The first is dated prior to Koepka's final-round tee time.



    The second is from Sunday night.



    And here, separately, for no reason in particular (other than the fact that she posted it) is a video of Sims running over a parking cone at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

    Speaking of kids, just feels those two are gonna make it.

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    Koepka moves to No. 4 in world with U.S. Open win

    By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:05 pm

    After successfully defending his U.S. Open title, Brooks Koepka reached a new career high in the Official World Golf Ranking.

    Koepka held off Tommy Fleetwood to win by a shot Sunday at Shinnecock Hills, becoming the first player to go back-to-back in nearly 30 years. As a result, he jumped five spots in the latest rankings to No. 4, six spots higher than he reached with last year's U.S. Open victory at Erin Hills.

    Fleetwood finished alone in second place and moved up two spots to No. 10, tying his career-best placement. Patrick Reed moved up two spots to No. 11 by finishing fourth, while fifth-place Tony Finau went from No. 37 to No. 31.


    Updated Official World Golf Ranking


    It was a largely quiet week in the rankings despite the fact that a major championship was contested. Outside of Koepka and Finau, the only other player inside the top 50 to move up or down more than three spots was Jason Dufner, who went from 53rd to 48th with a T-25 finish.

    Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1 for the second consecutive week, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Koepka and Jordan Spieth. Jon Rahm dropped one spot to No. 6, with Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Fleetwood rounding out the top 10. Hideki Matsuyama fell two spots to No. 12, dropping out of the top 10 for the first time since October 2016.

    Despite a missed cut at Shinnecock, Tiger Woods actually moved up one spot to No. 79 in the latest rankings. He plans to play the Quicken Loans National and The Open in the coming weeks, which will be his final two chances to move into the top 50 in time to qualify for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The event is being held for the final time this summer at Firestone Country Club, where Woods has won eight times.