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PGA NOTES

Ryder Cup Bumping Won't Be Easy

August 12, 2004|Thomas Bonk and Chris Dufresne | Times Staff Writers

KOHLER, Wis. — The PGA Championship is at stake this week, and so are some positions on the U.S. Ryder Cup team because this is the last chance to make enough points to guarantee a position among the top 10.

Jay Haas is currently 10th, followed by Jerry Kelly, Stewart Cink, Jeff Maggert and Scott Verplank.

To bump Haas, one of the players must finish in the top 10. Maggert is not playing this week because his wife gave birth to twins Tuesday.

"If I play well, everything will take care of itself," Kelly said.

Hal Sutton, the U.S. Ryder Cup captain, has taken notice of Kelly.

"Jerry likes to think of himself as a fighter and I see a lot of fight in Jerry," Sutton said. "I liked his comments where he said that he felt 11th was even a better position than being in 10th because he had something he had to go for."

The U.S. players guaranteed positions on the team are Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Davis Love III, Jim Furyk, Kenny Perry and David Toms. The rest of the top 10 is Chad Campbell, Fred Funk, Steve Flesch and Haas.

Sutton will announce his two captain's picks Monday.

The European team won't be settled for three weeks, but captain Bernhard Langer has plans to prepare his team for a potentially dangerous situation at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomington, Mich.

"I will make it pretty clear to them that they might face a hostile crowd," Langer said. "I will prepare them for it. I don't know if that will make a huge difference, but I want them to be aware of it so they don't go into total shock when it might happen."

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Bob Sowards, 36, an assistant club pro at Wedgewood Golf & Country Club in Powell, Ohio, is one of 25 club pros in the field at Whistling Straits. Sowards won the 37th PGA Club Pro Championship.

Sowards said the sight lines are difficult. "The hardest thing for me is picking targets out there. I'm used to aiming at branches on trees and things. There's no depth perception."

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Shaun Micheel, last year's surprise winner of the PGA, says fame has not changed him. OK, maybe a little.

Micheel said Wednesday he was learning how to play guitar.

"I was with my friends from KISS last week," Micheel said of the rock group. "The guitar player and the lead singer were both trying to give me some guitar lessons, so my first song that I'm learning is 'Kumbaya,' and that's only two chords, and I have not quite figured out how to do that."

Think Micheel knows about the PGA rule that prohibits players from wearing face paint?

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