Notes Woods Still No 1

By Associated PressAugust 15, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 PGA ChampionshipHAVEN, Wis. -- Tiger Woods came up empty in a major again, but he's still the No. 1 ranked player in the world.
 
Woods extended his run to a record 332 weeks when Ernie Els finished in a tie for fourth with Chris Riley at the PGA Championship. Els needed to finish second alone to replace Woods atop the world rankings.
 
Woods came into the PGA tied with Greg Norman for most weeks at No. 1.
 
Another of Woods' streaks was extended Sunday, and this one he'd rather snap. Woods failed to win a major for a second straight year - a run of 10 consecutive tournaments.
 
Woods was sure he could bury his slump in the majors on the shores of Lake Michigan, but instead finished tied for 24th, his worst finish in a major this year. His worst finish in any major was a tie for 39th at last year's PGA Championship.
 
'Disappointed,' said Woods, who must wait until the Masters next April for his next shot at ending the streak. 'I felt like I was playing so well coming into this event and I just didn't.'
 
Woods shot a final round 73 Sunday at Whistling Straits that left him at 4-under 286.
 
Woods, whose only win this season was at the Match Play Championships, arrived at the PGA off three straight top 10 finishes - a tie for seventh at the Western Open, a tie for ninth at the British Open and a tie for third at the Buick Open.
 
But he never contended after an opening round 75 on Thursday, with his putter the main culprit.
 
He mounted his only charge of the week with a pair of backside birdies on Friday for a 69 that kept alive his streak of never having missed the cut in a major as a pro.
 
Woods carded another 69 on Saturday, but by then he was too far back.
 
Now, Woods will concentrate on improving his putting as he gets ready for some of the remaining bigger events on the Tour's schedule - the Ryder Cup, the World Golf Championships and the Tour Championship.
 
'I feel like I had about 200 putts this week,' he said. 'My speed was off. Speed and line off. That's not a good combination.'
 
MICHEEL'S DEFENSE
Defending champion Shaun Micheel tied for 24th at this year's event, halting a two-year trend of the defending champion making an early exit.
 
Both 2001 winner David Toms and 2002 champion Rich Beem failed to make the cut a year after winning their titles and were out after two rounds.
 
Micheel appeared headed for the same fate when he shot 77 in the first round Thursday, but rallied with a 68 on Friday. He shot 70-71 on the weekend for a 286 total.
 
Micheel had some familiar company in his 24th-place finish. Chad Campbell, who finished second last year, two shots behind Micheel, was also part of the seven-way tie at 286 with rounds of 73-70-71-72.
 
WELCOME BACK
Ben Crane can expect a more formal invitation to the 2005 PGA Championship at Baltusrol.
 
Crane, who got into this year's event when Fred Couples pulled out because of a bad back, guaranteed himself a return trip with a final round 70 that lifted him into a tie for ninth place. The top 15 finishers automatically qualify for next year's PGA field.
 
Crane, whose only PGA win was at the BellSouth Classic last year, finished at 5-under 283.
 
Justin Leonard's tie for second assured him of an invitation to next year's Masters. That was a needed reward for the Texan after struggling all year.
 
NOT SO BAD
Golfers at the PGA Championship whistled more than the wind at Whistling Straits.
 
The wind picked up Sunday, but Pete Dye's lakeside creation never did bear its fangs the way the world's greatest golfers feared.
 
When last year's champion, Shaun Micheel, tested the course on a windy day in June, he pronounced that if the wind whipped up off of Lake Michigan, a score of over par on the staggering 7,514-yard layout might be good enough to win the Wanamaker Trophy.
 
Several others came to Wisconsin and soon saw what the fuss was about. They complained about the layout, the narrow fairways, the blind tee shots, the length, you name it.
 
But the winds died down most of the week and so did the complaints.
 
Brad Faxon said the chatter in the clubhouse was all about how much the golfers liked the course, and Stewart Cink said he couldn't think of a better course, public or private.
 
'If I had a friend that was trying to go play Pebble Beach, I'll tell them to come here instead,' he said. 'I like this course better.'
 
SOLID SULLIVAN
Chip Sullivan, who once broke a course record that Arnold Palmer held for 25 years, added another item to his resume this week at the PGA Championship.
 
The club professional from Troutville, Va., shot a final round, 1-under-71 Sunday. That gave him a 72-hole total of 287, the top score among the three club pros who made the cut. Sullivan's other three rounds were 72-71-73.
 
That's the best performance at the PGA Championship by a club professional in relation to par since 1969, an achievement to go along with the 62 he shot at the Country Club in Cleveland to surpass Palmer.
 
Roy Biancalana of Huntley, Ill., was next at 299, including a final round 79. Jeff Coston from Blaine, Wash., shot 77-68-79-77 (301).
 
STILL FAN FAVORITE
Shingo Katayama, funky cowboy hat and all, is still making friends in America.
 
The native of Ibaragi, Japan, who became an instant celebrity three years ago with a stirring run at the 2001 PGA Championship at The Atlanta Athletic Club, heard his name chanted plenty of times during his final round Sunday at Whistling Straits.
 
Katayama finished in a tie for fourth at Atlanta behind David Toms. He shot three rounds in the 60s, including a 6-under 64 the second day that gave him a share of the lead.
 
He won the crowds over in Atlanta with his white cowboy hat, the sides tied up with a string, and his emotional style of play. Nothing has changed in that regard.
 
'The people are nice,' he said Sunday. 'They were calling my name all day.'
 
Katayama made the cut this week at Whistling Straits, but never seriously contended. He was even par through the first two rounds but struggled to a 76 on Saturday. He finished with a 73 Sunday and was 5 over for the tournament.
 
'It's a very tough course,' he said of the 7,514-yard layout on the shores of Lake Michigan.
 
He was, however, enamored with the lake.
 
'It's the biggest lake I've ever seen in America,' he said. 'All of Japan could fit in it.'
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - PGA Championship
  • Photo Gallery - Whistling Straits
  • Full Coverage - PGA Championship
  • Course Tour - Whistling Straits
     
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