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Woods, Shutterbugs Are Not Clicking

Times Staff Writers

He needed something a lot lower than the 69 he shot in Saturday’s third round at Whistling Straits, but Tiger Woods said he might have had a chance at doing just that if he hadn’t been thrown off by a photographer’s camera that clicked during his backswing at the seventh hole.

It was the third time this week that Woods had been similarly caught off-guard during his swing.

“Just completely out of rhythm,” he said. “You’re not used to hearing cameras go off normally when you play golf. You know, I should get my focus back, but I didn’t.”

Woods, who’d birdied three of the first five holes to get to three-under, had only two birdies after the camera incident and finished with six consecutive pars.

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He blamed his putting -- and the issue of cameras, which he said was getting worse.

“I think it’s the guys that we don’t see week to week,” he said. “It’s not the guys that are the tour vets that we are accustomed to. They know what they are doing. The guys are just making their appearance for one week, the incidents that have happened.”

If clicking cameras weren’t bad enough, Woods and playing partner Niclas Fasth were put on the clock at the sixth hole and Woods felt rushed.

Woods’ three-under total of 213 is nine shots off the lead.

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Stuart Appleby got a four-shot penalty when he hit his tee shot into a bunker outside the ropes at the 16th hole -- two shots for removing twigs and leaves in the bunker and two more for grounding his club in the bunker.

“I didn’t think it was a bunker,” he said. “Obviously, if it is sand it is a bunker, but you have 30,000 people walking through there and I just don’t understand how it becomes part of the course.”

The PGA of America declared before the tournament that all bunkers, even those outside the ropes, were part of the course.

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Appleby still shot 72.

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The prize money for the PGA Championship is a record $6.25 million with $1.125 million going to the winner, which is also a record. Last year, Shaun Micheel earned $1.08 million with his victory at Oak Hill Country Club. The top 16 players make at least $100,000.

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Steve Flesch, ninth in the Ryder Cup standings, didn’t hurt his chances at staying in the top 10 with his five-under 67 Saturday.

“There’s a couple of guys who could knock me out,” he said. “I just want captain Hal [Sutton] to know that I’m going to go away kicking and screaming. He can make his own decisions, but I’m doing the best I can to make it on my own.”

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The odd man out -- and also the first player out on Saturday morning -- was Roy Biancalana. Since 73 players made the cut, Biancalana had to play by himself in the first tee time at 7:40 a.m.

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Biancalana, 44, a club pro at St. Andrews Golf and Country Club in West Chicago, Ill., shot a 76.

“I was the last one to putt out [Friday night] and the first one to hit it this morning,” he said. “I should have just slept here.”

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Real estate mogul Donald Trump was among Saturday’s spectators and perched himself near the clubhouse between the 9th and 18th greens.

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Players had to pass Trump as they completed their rounds or crossed from the ninth green to the 10th tee.

Some golfers noticed Trump; others didn’t.

After completing his round, Joe Ogilvie extended his hand to Trump and pronounced: “I can be the apprentice!” a reference to Trump’s reality television show.

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Whistling Straits received high praise from Stewart Cink, who after completing his two-under round of 70 on Saturday said he considered the 6-year-old course one of the finest he has played.

“This course is really awesome, it’s fun to play,” Cink said. “If I had a friend that said he wanted to play Pebble Beach, I’d have him come play here first.”


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