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Funk ties for 7th, waits on Nicklaus

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Fred Funk was playing for two spots yesterday at Oak Hill Country Club. One was on the course during the final round of the 85th PGA Championship, the other was for a place on this year's U.S. team in the Presidents Cup.

With a 2-over-par 72 and a four-round total of 4-over 284, the former University of Maryland coach finished tied for seventh in the PGA Championship, one year after a tie for fourth in the same tournament at Hazeltine. Funk also moved up one notch on the Presidents Cup money list, to 11th.

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"It was on my mind all day," he said of his position in the Presidents Cup standings.

Funk hoped it wouldn't be on his mind all of the night as well. U.S. captain Jack Nicklaus will announce the team today, and Funk hopes Nicklaus lives up to his statement from a couple of months ago that he would choose the 11th and 12th players on the money list as his wild cards.

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Asked if he expected to get a call from Nicklaus last night, Funk said, "I hope he has my number."

Funk had a chance to better his finish in the championship, but watched a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-4 16th hole spin around the edge of the cup and another from 12 feet on the par-4 17th roll over the left edge. He bogeyed the last two holes.

"It was disappointing to finish that way," he said. "I played really well on the weekend."

Things straightened out for Funk after he got a tip on his swing from Rick Martino, a well-respected teaching pro who got Funk started playing the game while Martino was working in the golf shop at Maryland years ago. Martino told Funk after Friday's round to swing harder with his right arm through the ball.

"It was one of those things of being at the right place at the right time and getting the right advice," said Funk's caddie, Mark Long, who also played at Maryland. "I've never seen Fred so excited about the game."

This week's performance helped Funk get out of a month-long slump that began at the British Open. It was his third Top 10 finish in a major, all of them coming in the PGA Championship. He hopes it will be enough to earn Nicklaus' invitation.

Others in contention for the last two spots include Jay Haas, who at 49 finished tied for fifth here and has plenty of international experience. The other strong possibility is Chad Campbell, who finished second to Shaun Micheel and now is in the Top 10 on this year's money list.

"I hope he's going to call me," said Funk, who now is one spot behind the last automatic qualifier, Charles Howell III, and moved ahead of Bob Estes on the Presidents Cup list. "I played really good at the end of last year and at the beginning of this year and I'm starting to play well again. If I made the Presidents Cup team, it would be huge."

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Tiger's 'tough week'

With a 3-over-par 73, three-time champion Tiger Woods finished tied for 39th at 12-over-par 292. It was the worst finish in a major in terms of score and place by the eight-time champion in his legendary career.

"It was a tough week," said Woods, who went without winning a major in a year for the first time since 1998. "I didn't hit the ball as well as I needed to. I putted great all week. Unfortunately, they were all for pars and a few for bogeys."

Woods had only six birdies the entire week, and bogeyed 18 times.

"It's not necessarily shocking," he said of the lack of birdies. "If you look at this golf course, you know it's not playing easy. And on top of that, you're not giving yourself a lot of chances."

Woods will play again this week in the NEC Invitational at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, where he has won the past three years.

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Player of Year

Mike Weir of Canada had a chance to wrap up this year's Player of the Year race with a strong finish yesterday. Even if he didn't win, the reigning Masters champion could have secured a few more votes had he stayed in contention.

Though he finished tied for seventh, Weir opened the door for Jim Furyk, Woods and Davis Love III (who missed the cut here) by shooting a final round of 5-over-par 75.


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