The PGA Championship represents the last chance for Americans to play their way into the top 10 in points and earn an automatic berth on the 1999 Ryder Cup team.
Tom Lehman, now in 11th place on the list, started the day with the best chance to qualify on points until he shot 76 for a 4-over-par total of 220 after 54 holes. He had been trying to overtake Jeff Maggert, who is 10th on the list but missed the cut.
Other players who have clinched, in order, are David Duval, Tiger Woods, Payne Stewart, Davis Love III, Mark O'Meara, Hal Sutton, Justin Leonard, Jim Furyk and Phil Mickelson.
Two other players with a chance to move up also crashed and burned this week--No. 12 Steve Stricker and No. 13 John Huston, who both missed the cut. Chris Perry (14), Bob Estes (15), Steve Pate (16) and Fred Couples (17) all survived to the weekend and were hoping for strong finishes to impress U.S. captain Ben Crenshaw.
There has been much speculation about the two captain's choices Crenshaw will make here Monday. If Lehman doesn't make the top 10, he is likely to be one of them. Couples is a strong contender for the other wild-card pick.
European team captain Mark James may have some interesting decisions. At the moment, Spain's Sergio Garcia is 12th in the standings, with the PGA and one more event left to earn points to determine the top 10 spots. James is hoping Garcia and Germany's Bernhard Langer can crack the top 10, which will allow him to take Sweden's Jesper Parnevik and England's Nick Faldo with his two other selections.
If Garcia and Langer remain 11 and 12, Faldo likely will not compete for the first time since he made the team in 1977, ending a run of 11 straight appearances.
Hale Irwin began badly today when he three-putted the first hole from 22 feet and made a sloppy bogey. It did not get much better thereafter for the 54-year-old Senior PGA Tour player who started the day only four shots off the lead.
Irwin, trying to become the oldest player to win a major championship, had two more bogeys on his front nine and played himself out of contention, finishing with a 78 and a 1-over total of 217, 12 shots from the lead.
The People's Choice
John Daly's stunning victory in the 1991 PGA Championship has been selected as the No. 1 moment in tournament history in a poll of more than 3,000 golf fans conducted on the PGA's Web site. Daly was the ninth alternate in the field until he got a telephone call at 5:30 a.m. on the Wednesday before the tournament telling him he was in after Nick Price dropped out to attend the birth of his son. Daly borrowed Price's caddie, the late Jeff "Squeeky" Medlen, and won the tournament by three shots over Bruce Leitzke for his first victory with a 12-under 276.