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This week in golf

Teeing Off

Five things to look for on the professional golf scene:

August 16, 2007|Thomas Bonk | Times Staff Writer

1 There are more than a few players crowded around the table to find out if they're going to be dealt into the big game -- the first FedEx Cup playoff race, worth a total of $63.million -- and the answer will come at this weekend's Wyndham Championship.

The $5-million tournament, at Forest Oaks Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., is the last chance for players to make the 144-player field for next week's first playoff event, the Barclays, the final field based on a season-long points race.

Of the 40 PGA Tour pros between No. 125-165 on the points list, 37 are at the Wyndham, where a top-10 finish is worth 675 points.

Marco Dawson is 144th, with 1,669 points, only three points behind Glen Day, and just ahead of Eric Axley, Steve Lowery, Cameron Beckman, Chris Couch, Mark Hensby and Mathias Gronberg. They're all playing at the Wyndham.

"I've got good vibes this week," Axley said.

2 PGA Tour officials are bracing for the possibility that Tiger Woods will skip the Barclays.

It's understandable why he might sit this one out. In back-to-back weeks, Woods has won the last two tournaments he has played and would be looking at a schedule of seven tournaments in nine weeks if he is at the Barclays. He has to decide by Friday.

3 Phil Mickelson, barring injury, looks certain to be playing all four of the playoff events. He's usually done by now, but this year he is loading up his schedule to take advantage of hefty appearance fees and a chance to make up for time lost because of his wrist injury.

In October, Mickelson is playing the $5-million Frys Electronics Open at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., part of the PGA Tour's Fall Series. He has also accepted sponsor's invitations to play in an Asia Tour event in Singapore and a European Tour event in Shanghai in November.

Mickelson's camp is calling these events "competitive practice time."

4 Even when Mickelson isn't playing, he's busy. He'll be at Torrey Pines on Friday morning to tape a California Travel & Tourism Commission commercial.

On Saturday, Mickelson and his wife, Amy, will host their third "Start Smart" back-to-school shopping spree for 1,500 first- through-fourth-graders at a Wal-Mart in San Diego.

5 Woods, his biceps bulging, is on the cover of the August issue of Men's Fitness, a position you will never find John Daly. But that's OK with Daly, who is in Stockholm for the European Tour's Scandinavian Masters.

On his way to winning the PGA Championship at steamy Southern Hills, Woods suggested that being in better shape gives him an advantage. Daly isn't buying it.

"Fat boys like me can get through the heat. Every time I worked out I threw up and I thought to myself that you can get drunk and throw up, so it's just not for me.

"I'm flexible enough, there are probably some things I could do to keep my flexibility up, but I'd rather smoke, drink diet Cokes and eat. I get enough exercise walking five or six miles a day."

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thomas.bonk@latimes.com

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