Ryder Cup berth gives Woods plenty to play for

Can move into top eight in standings with blistering finish

August 15, 2010|By Chris Hine, Tribune reporter

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — Tiger Woods might be far enough behind leader Nick Watney that he couldn't see him through a Sheboygan fog, but there's incentive for Woods to put up a good score Sunday.

He can improve his Ryder Cup position, though he'll likely need some of his fellow players to stumble. Woods is currently 10th in the U.S. standings, with the top eight guaranteed a spot on the team.

As erratic as his play was Saturday, Woods was encouraged.

"The striking, the sound, the feel, more than anything, it feels good," said Woods, who is tied for 31st in the PGA Championship at 3 under.

Two players in the top eight of the Ryder Cup standings, Anthony Kim and Lucas Glover, failed to make the cut, which means they receive no points. Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar are slightly ahead of Woods in both the standings and the tournament. Woods could move past Kim and Glover — and perhaps Kuchar and Johnson — with a blistering finish.

But just behind Woods in the standings are Watney, Bo Van Pelt and Ben Crane, all of whom could pass him.

Earlier this week, Woods said he would accept a captain's spot on the team if he failed to qualify on points. A strong finish would let captain Corey Pavin know the rust is off his game.

Roaring Rory: Rory McIlroy, 21, joked early this week that he prefers playing with younger players because they can talk about "stuff that we like to talk about rather than trying to talk to a 40-year-old."

Maybe he wasn't kidding.

Playing with Dustin Johnson, 26, and Seung-Yul Noh, 19, McIlroy shot a 5-under 67 on Saturday and is in a tie for second at 10 under.

"But Noh doesn't speak that much English, so he wasn't part of the conversation," McIlroy said.

No repeats: Two of the three major winners from this year failed to make the cut — U.S Open champion Graeme McDowell and British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen. Masters champion Phil Mickelson faded during the third round with a 1-over 73 and is 1 under through 54 holes.

Vijay Singh, who won the 2004 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, has some work left if he wants to duplicate that feat — he finished the third round at 4 under.

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