“All those things are affected by a range of players, not just the players who happen to be in the top 20 or top 30 or top 50 in the world ranking. So we look at it different ways.”
The AT&T National has a short history of strong winners _ Choi and Kim when it was at Congressional, Justin Rose last year at Aronimink, giving him two wins in three starts.
Among those outside the top 50 is one who is sure to attract a decent crowd. That would be Sean O’Hair, who makes his home in the Philadelphia and joined Aronimink a few years ago. He was getting plenty of club and hometown support during the pro-am, despite his gaffe at the Red Sox-Phillies game Tuesday night, when he threw out the first pitch and was just a little bit off target.
“I think I hit the camera guy right in the head,” O’Hair said. “The worst thing about it, I didn’t even ask how he was doing. I was so nervous. But it was fun to be there. I wish I would have thrown a little bit better pitch, but it’s not what I do for a living.”
O’Hair is trying to get his golf game back together, as is Jim Furyk, who is slipping into a deep slump in the year after he won the FedEx Cup and its $10 million prize. Furyk, who grew up closer to the other side of Pennsylvania, has only two top 10s this year, and both those were a tie for ninth. He has missed the cut in his last three starts, the first time that’s happened since the end of the 2004 season when he was recovering from a wrist injury.
Furyk has been around long enough to understand that ranking and form can go in cycles. Even though there are only nine Americans among the top 20 in the world, he is not pessimistic about the future.
“I think if you look at the under 30s, you look at Hunter Mahan, you look at Nick Watney, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler … I’ll take those four,” he said. “You pick four players under 30 from any other region, I’ll take my four, and I’ll be quite happy with where my money goes.”