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He Was in and Out of the Woods All Day

NOTES

August 17, 1997|THOMAS BONK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

MAMARONECK, N.Y. — After making two double bogeys, let's check Tiger Woods' pulse.

There was Woods, taking a huge swing and hacking his golf ball out of the rough on the 18th hole with a golf club when a weed-eater would have been a better choice.

His hand left the club on his swing. Did he hurt his wrist? Did he hurt his leg? Did he hurt anything?

"Yeah, I did," Woods said. "I hurt my ego. Physically, I'm fine."

Saturday's third-round of the PGA was a wildly erratic ride around Winged Foot for Woods. He had two double bogeys, three bogeys, four birdies and one eagle, which came when he reached the 540-yard 12th in two and rolled in a 20-foot putt.

At that point, Woods was at two-under for the tournament and only two shots off the lead. He was still two-under through 16, but double-bogeyed the 17th when he nudged a chip shot about two feet, and bogeyed the 18th when he drove into the right rough.

"Being right there and then do something that dumb . . . make a double on 17 then bogey 18, that's not what you want to do," he said.

Woods did have the shot of the tournament on the 16th hole, however. He drove into the left trees and hit a cut six-iron from 157 yards under the limbs that bounced several times and trickled to within nine feet of the hole. The putt gave him a sensational birdie.

Woods has had his share of walks on the bogey side in the last couple of majors. He had three double bogeys in the U.S. Open, then had two triple bogeys and a quadruple bogey at the British Open.

So far at Winged Foot, Woods has had three double bogeys in three rounds.

He finished at one-over 71 and is at one-over 211 for three rounds. It's not time to concede anything, Woods said.

"Any guy who is two over par is still in the ballgame," he said.

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For what it's worth, Justin Leonard has played 11 rounds in three PGA Championships and has never shot over par.

*

In normal times, the top two players in Europe are Colin Montgomerie and Nick Faldo, who could fill a Ryder Cup up to the top.

But with the Ryder Cup only about a month away, there is at least a small chance that Faldo isn't going to be part of the European team at Valderrama in Spain.

Montgomerie can't imagine it.

"I think a team without Nick Faldo is a worse team," Montgomerie said after shooting a three-under 67. "It has to be. Very few people can be 1-up on the first tee in golf terms and he's one of them."

Faldo shot 75-78 and missed the cut at the PGA at 13 over. It was his second missed cut in a major this year, the other at the Masters. Faldo finished tied for 48th at the U.S. Open and tied for 51st at the British Open.

No player, either European or American, has more Ryder Cup appearances than Faldo's 10. He must be a captain's pick to make it again.

"We need him," Montgomerie said. "We do. Nobody works harder than Nick. He'll be working at it right now."

Faldo, Sweden's Jesper Parnevik, and Jose Maria Olazabal are European captain Seve Ballesteros' candidates for the two berths, and chances are Spaniard Olazabal will get one nod.

*

If Davis Love III finishes in the top 10, Jeff Maggert is the only player who can break into the top 10 in Ryder Cup points.

Maggert, 11th in the Ryder standings, is tied for fifth at 211 after three rounds.

*

Tom Kite said Leonard was an amateur the first time he saw him. Kite remembers just how he regarded Leonard at the time.

"I was wishing he'd stay amateur," Kite said. "You know, I was out here trying to make a living as a professional, so at that time I was wishing he would play amateur golf the rest of his life.

"Now that he's going to be one of my guns at the Ryder Cup team, I'm glad he decided to turn pro."

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