Quiros a lonely figure on trips to U.S.

Quiros a lonely figure on trips to U.S.

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Alvaro Quiros is caught between continents.

The 26-year-old Spaniard (whose surname is pronounced kyeer-OHZ’) is one of the rising stars on the European Tour, winning once this year with a tie for second in another start.

At No. 37 in the world rankings, he also realizes that there is more money, more prestige and perhaps more fame awaiting him should he move across the Atlantic Ocean and play at least part of the year on the PGA Tour.

But he knows that means a lonely existence.

“The only difference between Europe and America is the company outside the golf course,” said the bachelor. “I mean, inside the golf course I’m very happy. I’m comfortable. But outside (the course), I’m too alone, which is a difficult situation to manage.”

Quiros is one of the longest hitters anywhere in the world. He was paired with one of the longest U.S. players, J.B. Holmes, and the two had to work to not get caught up in a can-you-top-this contest off the tees.

After an opening 72, Quiros matched Jerry Kelly for the low round of the day with a 65 in Friday’s second round. He stands at 3-under 137, just four shots back of leader Padraig Harrington.

He soon faces a decision, the same one that players such as Harrington, Ernie Els, Camilo Villegas, Retief Goosen and Angel Cabrera have already made.

“I should do it now,” he said of the move to playing 15 or so times in the States. “I’m 26. If I don’t do it now, when am I going to do it? I’m not going to come back to America, if it’s not my home, at 35. So it would be a good idea to come now.”

Still, there is the solitary lifestyle. He’s not sure if he can continue to spend most of his time in a hotel room, a prisoner from a foreign land.

“If I want to play here, I have to be able to manage,” he said. “We will see.”

SPRING CLEANUP: In case you wondered, Tiger Woods does have a garage at his home in Windermere, Fla. And, yes, he does have to clean it from time to time, just like the rest of us.

Only when the world’s No. 1 player cleans out his garage, he comes across something better than broken garden implements, mismatched sets of gloves and a large oil spot in the middle of the floor.

“Beginning of this year I was just rummaging through my garage and cleaning it out a little bit,” Woods said after a round of 70 on Friday at the Bridgestone. “Over in the corner was this putter and I said, ‘Oh, what is this putter? Oh, it’s the one I won The Masters with.’ It’s just sitting over there.”

LAST CHANCE: The PGA Championship is billed as “Glory’s Last Shot.” Defending champ Padraig Harrington believes that a few non-winners will straggle off the course at Hazeltine convinced that they’ve had a bad season.

“Certainly there will be as many as 10 players who will walk away from the PGA next week feeling like they’ve had a lost year,” said the Bridgestone leader. “I won’t be alone if that happens next week.”

Harrington, at least, has persevered through a swing change that has prevented him from winning since last year’s PGA at Oakland Hills.

“I have a purpose this year,” he said. “I was doing some work and I’m quite comfortable where I’m at and where I am going.”

OLD TOM: Stewart Cink is still getting heat from fans who were pulling for the 59-year-old Tom Watson to pull off a stunning victory at the British Open two weeks ago. Cink beat Watson in a playoff for his first major championship.

“Today one guy says, ‘How could you do that, beating up on the old guy like that?”‘ recalled Cink, who shot a second 69 on Friday. “I turned to him and I said, ‘I’m just a mean dude. I can’t help it.”‘

ADD ONE: Stuart Appleby was assessed a one-shot penalty on Friday for a violating a rule a day earlier.

On the 15th hole of the first round, Appleby had not addressed his ball but had placed his putter behind the ball when he noticed the ball move slightly. He asked an official and it was determined no penalty was necessary.

But after receiving phone calls from viewers of Thursday’s telecast, officials took another look at footage and decided Appleby had indeed violated rule 18-2a.

Appleby’s first-round score was changed from 73 to 74.

He followed that with a 68 in the second round.

NEW ON THE BAG: Scott Verplank fired his caddie to save a friendship.

For much of the last decade, Verplank has employed Scott Tway, the younger brother of former PGA champion Bob Tway. Their families have been longtime friends, but the player-caddie relationship began to reach a point of getting testy.

Verplank gave Tway a few weeks off last year as he tried to make a push for the Ryder Cup team, and he cut him loose for good last week at the Buick Open.

“I didn’t want to wreck a friendship, and it was heading in that direction,” Verplank said.

He said Tway might caddie for his brother next week at Hazeltine. In the meantime, Verplank said he would recommend Scott Tway for some of the younger players looking for an experienced looper.

Verplank, meanwhile, is using Craig Cimarolli, who previously caddied for Dudley Hart.

As a side note, Verplank must feel as though he’s spinning his wheels. He had fallen to No. 99 in the world ranking when his game started to turn around. He had three straight top 10s on the PGA Tour, followed by a missed cut at the Buick Open. And when he checked the world ranking this week, he had only improved to No. 93.

DIVOTS: The last time Tiger Woods played Firestone Country Club two years ago, he also opened with rounds of 68 and 70. He ended up winning by eight strokes. … England’s Oliver Wilson got to 5 under for the tournament with six holes left in his second round, then posted three bogeys on the way in. … Harrington had not led a tournament since the 2008 PGA and has never won when leading after 36 holes. … Woods is tied for 12th heading into the third round. The only previous time Woods wasn’t in the top 10 through the first two rounds at the Bridgestone (tied for 17th in 2002), he finished fourth.

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