Tuesday, August 12
Weir visits Bills campROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Taking on Oak Hill didn't look so perilous compared to what Masters champion Mike Weir faced Monday afternoon -- a near collision with Buffalo Bills linebacker Takeo Spikes. After playing a practice round for the PGA Championship, Weir went to the Bills' training camp at nearby St. John Fisher College and got a scare on the sidelines. He was forced to scamper out of the way to avoid the 6-foot-2, 240-pound Spikes, who was chasing a player out of bounds. ''Yeah, I was going to hurry to get out the way of him,'' Weir said, smiling. There's plenty of high profile athletes in suburban Rochester this week as the PGA Championship is being held about a mile down the road from the Bills' training camp. And that was enough to get Weir, an avid sports fan, to drop by. ''It's kind of cool,'' said Weir, noting that he's attended a few Bills games with family and friends, who live in nearby Niagara Falls, Ontario. Later, Weir was joined by Bills' Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, who was also in attendance. After practice, Weir stuck around to have a conversation with Bills president Tom Donahoe and coach Gregg Williams. Football proved to be a good distraction for the Canadian. ''You don't want to grind it out too much,'' Weir said. ''This is just to unwind, watch the guys practice.'' Pointing to the Bills, he added, ''A lot of guys out there are under a lot of pressure. So I get to watch them and relax a little bit.'' Weir missed the 54-hole cut at The International last weekend, his first event since finishing in a tie for 28th at the British Open. He acknowledged he's somewhat rusty. ''I'll be honest and say, 'No, I'm not 100 percent satisfied,''' Weir said. ''I'm just not hitting it as solid as I'd like to. I'm not driving it quite as well as I like. But it's Monday and a lot of things can happen.'' Gauging Oak Hill, Weir said: ''It's tight, deep rough and sloped greens. I think it's really going to define who's playing the best because there's going to be no fluking it out there.'' Weir was then asked to gauge the Bills' chances in the NFL. ''I think they're going to be good. Drew's going to have more experience with the team and the system,'' Weir said, referring to quarterback Drew Bledsoe. ''From what I see out there, they look great. I don't know much, but they look good.'' Grand slam update
Tiger Woods could always count on a trip to Poipu Bay in Hawaii for the PGA Grand Slam of Golf for the four major champions of the year. This time, he might not even get a chance to go after a sixth straight title. Mike Weir (Masters), Jim Furyk (U.S. Open) and Ben Curtis (British Open) have already secured their spots in the field. If one of them were to win the PGA Championship, Woods isn't even first alternate among former major winners. Vijay Singh, with a tie for sixth in The Masters and a tie for second in the British Open, is leading the alternates list by 21 points over Ernie Els. Woods is 29.5 points behind. For Woods to get back to Hawaii, he would either have to win this week or finish well ahead of Singh and Els. Woods was an alternate in 1998, the only year he has failed to win a major. Practical joker
Jeff Sluman is known as a practical joker, and after disclosing his favorite prank of all, it's a wonder he's still married. ''The fake lottery ticket on my wife on Christmas Day,'' Sluman said. ''Long story, but she thought she hit a pretty good jackpot.'' Worse yet, he pulled it off in front of both their families. ''I thought I might possibly be in trouble because my mother-in-law was there,'' Sluman said. ''She said, 'Why didn't you tell me? I would have got a camera to film this.' Then I knew I was all right.'' And how did his wife handle it? ''She got over it after a while,'' he said. ''But it was pretty funny, I must admit.'' In and out
Jay Williamson and Billy Andrade are the latest players to qualify for the PGA Championship. The PGA of America reserved a spot in the field for the winner of the International. Davis Love III already qualified as a past PGA champion, so that opened a spot for Williamson. Andrade got in when two-time champion Larry Nelson withdrew with a hip injury. The field will not be set until Thursday, but it has 96 of the top 100 players in the World Ranking, the second-highest in history. There were 98 of the top 100 last year.