MEDINAH, Ill. -- Chris DiMarco couldn't figure out why his putting game was off the previous two weeks. Turns out the problem was the equipment, not the golfer.
DiMarco noticed during a practice round that his putter's grip was bent about 30 degrees. He straightened that out, and was 8-under after three rounds.
"I was just out here, trying to figure out what was going on," he said after shooting 67 on Saturday. "I looked down at my grip and saw it was bent."
DiMarco thinks the putter got bent on the way back from the British Open. After finishing second at Hoylake, he missed the cut at the Buick Open and International.
"The last two weeks," he said, "I missed a lot of putts to the right."
OGILVY'S RECOVERY: In the past, Geoff Ogilvy might have crumbled after a start like this. Instead, the reigning U.S. Open champion remains in contention, three strokes off the lead.
Things didn't look good when he missed a 6-foot putt and double-bogeyed the first hole. But he eagled the No. 5 and shot 4-under for the day.
"I might not have fallen apart and had hundreds, but I don't know if I would have come back as well as I did," Ogilvy said. "In a major that's a pretty disappointing thing -- you sit there all night, thinking you're in contention and ... you drop two shots on the first hole. It feels like you're dropping three shots, really. Yeah, it wasn't a fun way to start."
MAYFAIR'S MOM IMPROVING: Billy Mayfair said his mother was alert after suffering a heart attack and stroke earlier in the week.
"She knows I'm playing in the tournament, and she still thinks she's at home, but she's in the hospital and that's OK," he said. "Her vitals are getting better."
Billy Mayfair, meanwhile, is at 5-under despite a tough couple of weeks. He underwent cancer surgery about two weeks ago after finding a growth in his testicles.
A RYDER PUSH?: A two-way tie for seventh most likely would put Tim Herron on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. He is in a four-way tie for eighth at 8-under.
"You think about it when you're away from [the course], but when I step on the tee, I've just got to play golf," Herron said. "That's all I can do."
ANOTHER MEDINAH MOMENT?: At 10-under and tied for fifth, it will take quite an effort by Sergio Garcia to catch the leaders. He has a good history at Medinah, though.
Garcia delivered a memorable moment, with his shot from the base of an oak tree to the green on the 16th hole in 1999. Playing in only his second major as a pro, Garcia wound up runner-up to Tiger Woods, losing by one stroke.
"I guess I do like the course," Garcia said. "I've done well on it, [but] I don't know whether I can do it. I've been playing well all week. That helps."
Luke Donald and Tiger Woods share the lead at 14-under.
LOW SCORES? NO PROBLEM: There are six players 10-under par or better. To those who think the parade of birdies diminishes the PGA Championship as a major, Phil Mickelson offered this rebuttal.
"I would disagree with them," he said.
"Because I think they're wrong," Mickelson said.
NO SURPRISE: Ian Poulter told Luke Donald earlier this week that he thought Medinah Country Club was made for him. So he was not surprised to find his fellow Englishman at the top of the leader board.
"When I played a practice round, I said it was perfect for Luke and I told him when I saw him in the players' lounge," said Poulter after a Saturday 68 kept alive his hopes that this week can re-ignite his bid to keep his Ryder Cup place.
"He hits it right to left, is very steady and just plods it down there," Poulter added. "And I don't think this is a situation he is going to be uncomfortable in."
BIG SUNDAY: Other than the leaders, perhaps no one has more on the line come Sunday afternoon than Stewart Cink.
He sits at 1-under and would need the most amazing confluence of events to contend for the title, but that's not his desire anymore.
Cink is all about getting into the top 10. If he can manage that, he can pick up some Ryder Cup points and try to get into the top 10 on the United States automatic points list. Cink sits 12th on the table and needs a solo ninth or better to make the team on points.
"The pressure is off as far as the Ryder Cup," said Cink. "I really don't have anything to lose except what I've already lost this week and that's a good chance of winning this tournament. I'm not giving it up yet."
The 10 players from the points list will be finalized Sunday night, then Monday morning U.S. Captain Tom Lehman will tab two captain's picks. Cink is expected to be under consideration.
"I haven't heard much," acknowledged Cink, who was one of Hal Sutton's picks in the 2004 Ryder Cup. "It is what it is. I could maybe finish top 10 and qualify for the team or just be left to hope."
TRAFFIC JAM: At one point early in the third round, there were as many as 10 players tied for the lead, including Tiger Woods, David Toms, Chris DiMarco, Davis Love III, defending champion Phil Mickelson, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, 2003 winner Shaun Micheel, and the final group of Henrik Stenson and Billy Andrade.
DOUBLE DUTY: If Tiger Woods wins on Sunday, he will become the first player in PGA Championship history to win two Wanamaker Trophies at the same venue. He won at Medinah in 1999 when he outdueled Sergio Garcia in the final round.
OF COURSE: The easiest hole through 54 holes of the PGA Championship has been the par-5 fifth. It has yielded six eagles, 101 birdies and is playing to a stroke average of 4.52. The most difficult hole through three rounds has been the par-4 16th. There have been only 31 birdies through 54 holes with 57 bogeys. The stroke average has been 4.18.
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