Hometown favorite Herron left out

The Associated PressAugust 14, 2009 

— Tim Herron was all dressed up with nowhere to play.

Herron is the only PGA Tour player who lives in Minnesota, growing up 15 minutes away in Wayzata and moving back home to raise his family. But he had a bad year at the wrong time and was not eligible for the PGA Championship, nor did he receive an exemption.

"I thought with my record [four PGA Tour victories], I deserved a spot," Herron said. "It was a little disappointing."

There was more disappointment Thursday. Because of two injuries (Trevor Immelman and Paul Casey) and three alternates who withdrew, Herron was the first alternate.

In the morning, while his caddie hung around the starting areas to check on anyone who might withdraw, Herron stayed in the car, not wanting to bring any attention to himself among thousands of fans who recognize him easily in these parts.

He finally went to the range, did a few interviews and waited.

John Daly walked by on his way to the tee, his last realistic hope of playing. Herron headed back to his car, and then a long day got a little worse. He couldn't find his keys, and the car was locked.

As he fished through his pockets and golf bag, a fan recognized him.

"Hey, Lumpy! How'd you play?" the fan said with great enthusiasm.

"I didn't," Herron replied. Then he turned to a reporter and said quietly, "This is getting old."

The other guy: Rich Beem loves being introduced as a PGA champion, although that sounded pretty paltry in the company he kept Thursday -- Padraig Harrington with his three majors, Tiger Woods with his 14.

What was it like playing with such rock stars?

"Just a couple of guys having a nice, quiet three-ball out there, with 30,000 people screaming their heads off," he said. "It was a blast."

Told last week he was playing with Woods and Harrington, Beem replied in a text message, "I thought they were playing with me."

Over the next several days, he wasn't sure if that would help or hurt. He only knew he'd better bring his best game.

Beem three-putted the opening hole and admitted to some nerves. But he rallied just fine, and all three players were 2 under early on their back nine until Woods and Harrington pulled away, and Beem didn't. He wound up with a 71.

"Playing with those two guys ... you know they're going to play well," he said. "Usually when guys play well around you, they kind of drag you with them."

Daly withdraws: John Daly withdrew from the tournament after finishing with consecutive double bogeys for a 78. He cited a back injury.

Daly shot an 88 in his previous round at the Buick Open, and he was contemplating a long break from golf. His swing coach suggested his diet was out of whack after the former PGA champion lost 80 pounds in four months.

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