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THE ALTERNATE: It took Bernd Wiesberger some 18 hours to travel from his home in Austria to the high desert of Dove Mountain, a journey that might have felt a lot shorter if only his wedge would have stayed on the 18th green at Dubai.

Wiesberger, a two-time winner on the European Tour last year, was in the middle of the pack at the Dubai Desert Classic when his wedge to the par-5 18th spun off the green and into the water _ twice. Instead of par, he made a 9. Instead of getting some world ranking points, he got none. And that kept him from being ranked ahead of Shane Lowry and Fredrik Jacobson when the field was set for the Match Play Championship.

Instead, he was the first alternate.

“Vienna to Washington was nine-and-a-half hours,” Wiesberger said Monday night on the range at Dove Mountain. “Three-hour layover, and five hours to here. It was a chance worth taking. Otherwise, I’d be covered in snow.”

He still lives in Austria, a central base for travel, and the weather is not an issue because he’s on the road so much. He came out to California in December and played in San Diego and Palm Springs just to stay sharp.

If anyone withdraws, Wiesberger will take that spot in the bracket. There doesn’t appear to be any candidates to drop out.

“Even in the worst case, it’s not a terrible thing to do,” Wiesberger said of his long trip. “It’s a beautiful place. Hopefully, I’ll get in and play well. Otherwise, I’ll go back to Europe. I’m hitting it well right now. If I can get in, you never know.”

The stakes are high. This would be his only chance to get into Doral and keep alive his hopes of cracking the top 50 to get into the Masters.


TRAVELING ADVICE: For those who have never had to cross oceans and multiple time zones, Padraig Harrington has some advice.

Make sure you keep working. You’ll catch up on sleep soon enough.

“It’s harder when you go home and you don’t have a time schedule to stick to,” he said. “One night’s sleep deprivation has no effect on performance whatsoever. Two nights is extremely detrimental. So I know no matter how bad I sleep or how bad I feel, I can get through a round of golf. If it’s really bad, it just means you have to maybe curtail practice and catch up on your sleep.”

Go to the gym.

“That’s probably one of the keys,” he said. “We’ll all wake ourselves up by going to the gym.”

He also mentioned stayed properly hydrated and eating proper foods. But it’s greatest piece of advice? Leave the television off.

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