Notebook: Faldo reveals his plan to cash in with Woods
Plus, Greg Owen gets some medical advice from Phil Mickelson, Luke Donald believes the pressure has gotten to the British players, a Norwegian and Italian battle for the silver medal, Henrik Stenson can only laugh at his 9, and more.
HOYLAKE, England -- Nick Faldo has revealed his cunning plan to profit from his much-discussed "feud" with Tiger Woods.
"He was walking to the range on Wednesday afternoon and I heard the bookies were offering 25/1 that he chinned [punched him in the chin] me," Faldo joked. "So I said to him, 'We can cut a deal.'
"Typical Tiger he said, 'I'll put 2 million on it!' and I thought, 'That'll do nicely,'" Faldo said. "If I can get just 5 percent of that, I'll win more than I'm going to make at the Open."
Faldo missed the cut after rounds of 77 and 71 while Woods leads at 13-under 203 after three rounds.
"It was absolutely great," Faldo said of his two rounds with Woods. "I let him get on with it. He was deep in concentration as I would have been in that situation. We just talked about bits and bobs, the upcoming season, his thoughts on the Ryder Cup. We had a good chinwag.
"He was upset about my comments over 18 months ago and I'm surprised he hung on to them," Faldo added. "I think he was upset I didn't understand what he was working on with his golf swing. We had a good chat about it and I know what he would like me to do."
The pair fell out after Faldo was critical of the world No. 1 swing at the Buick Invitational last year. Woods added fuel to the fire by claiming he did not know if they would even shake hands on the first tee on Thursday, but Faldo took matters into his own hands on the practice range on Wednesday.
MEDICAL ADVICE: Greg Owen will seek out a back specialist in America after receiving on-course advice from world No. 2 Phil Mickelson.
Owen, an Englishman who now plays on the PGA Tour, pulled out of his warm-up after he started getting muscle spasms. He was still able to play with Mickelson after taking painkillers following a spell of physiotherapy.
The three-time major winner heard about Owen's problems and told him going down the second hole to get in touch with Tom Boers.
"He has worked with Steffi Graf and other top sports people," said Owen. "Phil recommends him highly. I will get Tom's number and see what happens. It will be other opinion and I am keen to find out what is causing me a little bit of grief."
Despite the problem in his lower back, Owen picked up four shots Saturday and heads into the final round on 8-under after a 68. He was determined to grit his teeth on Saturday, as he enjoys Mickelson's company.
"I was always a starter. Whether I would have finished is another matter," Owen said. "The physios did a good job and luckily the muscles stayed loose and warm. It is always a pleasure to be with Phil. I would love to play alongside him every week.
"We have only been paired together once before at Pebble Beach -- my third U.S. PGA Tour event. We got on great that day," he added. "He is a gentleman and a true star of the game. I wish him the best for every tournament he plays in. He is wonderful person and so much fun on the course."
MEDAL PLAY: Norway's Marius Thorp has the upper hand in the battle for the silver medal awarded to the leading amateur at the Open Championship. Thorp, who qualified by winning the European Amateur title last year, carded a third-round 75 at Hoylake to lie 1-over for the tournament.
That left him three shots ahead of Italian Edoardo Molinari, the U.S. Amateur champion and the only other amateur to make the cut. Molinari, whose brother Francesco won the Italian Open on the European Tour in May, returned a 77 Saturday to finish 4-over.
UNDER PRESSURE: Luke Donald believes the British players have found it tough going at the Open this week because they put too much pressure on themselves. Donald had to settle for a 1-over 73 on Saturday and is well down the field after being tipped as one of the contenders.
"I thought I had a good chance going into the event as I have had a good year," he said. "But I have not quite figured it out here just like some of the other British players.
"I am not sure why we are behind the Americans and the foreign players," he added. "Perhaps we put too much pressure on ourselves."
ALL YOU CAN DO IS LAUGH: Henrik Stenson of Sweden took a light-hearted view of his 9 at the par-5 16th -- the highest score on any hole this week -- on Saturday.
"That was the icing on the cake," he said after he finished up by three-putting the hole.
"I was in the trap up against the lip and it took me three whacks to get it out of there," he explained. "Then I hit my 4-iron fifth shot into the left hand trap and that left me a long bunker shot. "To cap it all I three-putted for a nice little 9."
Stenson was still in shock at the following hole and chalked up a double-bogey 6. However, he retrieved the situation slightly with a birdie at the last to post a 74.
"It was a real bad horror finish," he said. "That 9 killed my round today."
Yet Stenson was on course for a low total as he stood on the 12th tee after picking up four shots on the day and moving to 5-under. But he bogeyed that hole before his troubles really began to kick in at Hoylake and he came home in 42.
Stenson, though, insists he can bounce back in the final round.
"I played well today, much better than the first two days. More than anything my putting was much better," he said. "I have just got to look at the positives more than anything. There are still some good things about my game and some things I need to work on."
FLY LIKE THE EAGLES: Simon Khan was flying high after two eagles on the back nine -- at the 10th and the 16th -- on the road to a 68.
That was 11 shots better than his playing partner, fellow Englishman Paul Casey, who in contrast had an 8 at the 10th and a 7 four holes later.
"I got a bit lucky at the 10th. I hit a 3-iron in and just missed the bunker," Khan said. "It chased up to the back pin for a tap-in eagle. That got me going. My iron play was good, and that is my strength -- shaping shots into the pin and things like that."
SENIOR GOLF CAN WAIT: Fred Funk spent two weeks on the Champions Tour and decided it could wait.
"We're not quite mentally ready for that jump over," Funk said.
Funk tied for 11th in the U.S. Senior Open, his debut in the 50-and-over circuit, then tied for 11th last week at the Senior Players Championship. He had planned to stick around next week for the Senior British Open at Turnberry, but never submitted his entry and will not play.
In fact, the only Champions Tour event he will play the rest of the year will be in San Antonio.
Funk has the luxury of taking his time, having won The Players Championship last year at age 48. That came with a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour that takes him through 2010, and with more than $18 million in career money, he could even take an exemption after that.
"The Players has really thrown a wrench into this," he said.
Funk didn't have a miserable experience with guys his own age, he's simply not ready to give up trying against the best players in the world. He mentioned good friends he already had, such as Loren Roberts and Jay Haas, and new acquaintances Jim Thorpe and Dana Quigley.
The ultimate late bloomer, he has qualified for the last three U.S. teams (twice the Presidents Cup, once the Ryder Cup) and has been to the Tour Championship the last four years.
"I'm just not finished out here yet," he said.
Also, his children are 14, 10 and 6, and the family travels everywhere. Most of their friends remain on the PGA Tour.
Funk says he is hitting the ball better than he was last year, just not getting the same results. His best chance came at New Orleans, where he closed with a 62 and nearly got into a playoff until Chris Couch saved par by chipping in from behind the 18th green.
The more he spoke Saturday afternoon after a 75 left him toward the bottom of the pack, Funk sounded as though competing against the best would be as meaningful as winning on the Champions Tour.
"There's nothing like winning," Funk said. "Once I start having trouble finishing off tournaments, and the frustration sets in, I'll probably think about going over there."
In the meantime, he will leave the Open for Milwaukee, play the Buick Open, PGA Championship and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone, and continue competing on the PGA Tour with hopes of getting into the Tour Championship again.
A TIP FOR CABRERA: Angel Cabrera is one of the biggest hitters on the PGA Tour, and he's not afraid to use driver at Royal Liverpool -- especially after playing with Seve Ballesteros during a practice round earlier this week.
"I said to Seve, 'How do you play this golf course?' And Seve said, 'The closer you get it to the green, the more chance you have.' And that's the way it's played," Cabrera said.
While Tiger Woods has hit only one driver in three rounds at Hoylake, the Argentine is hitting driver "whenever I can." The only time he used an iron off the tee was on Nos. 2, 4 and 8.
"Everywhere else I hit driver," he said. "Except the par 3s."
Cabrera has played all three days with Mark Calcavecchia, another guy who likes to swing from the heels
"I get on well with him," he said. "He's easy to play with."
Calcavecchia, who won the British Open in 1989, won the Argentine Open in 1993 and 1995.
SHOWTIME: Scott Verplank finished his 67 before Tiger Woods and Ernie Els headed for the practice range. Verplank reached 6-under, which at least gave him a shot to pick up Ryder Cup points if he can play well Sunday to get into the top 10.
A TV reporter asked if he would go back to his room and watch the "confrontation" between Woods and Els.
"They are both supremely talented players and it's going to be fun, and hopefully, it will be good back-and-forth and nip-and-tuck," Verplank said. "And if it isn't, I'll probably take a nap."
DIVOTS: Sergio Garcia's 29 on the front nine was one shot shy of the Open record for nine holes. Denis Durnian had a 28 at Royal Birkdale in 1983. Garcia will go into the final round having not made a bogey in 23 holes. ... Hideto Tanihara, in just his second career major, was three shots off the lead in seventh place. No player from Japan has won a major title; the country's best finish at the Open was turned in by Massy Kuramoto, who tied for fourth in 1982.
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