English Spoken Here

By Brian HewittOctober 15, 2008, 4:00 pm
Womens golf officially has a new In crowd.
 
South Korean-born Inbee Park won the U.S. Womens Open in June. And South Korean-born In-Kyung Kim won her first LPGA event Sunday at the Longs Drug Challenge.
 
Kims victory did not come as a surprise to anybody who noticed that she finished in the top 10 in each of the last two womens majors this year. Some may even recall that Kim defeated Park, 5 and 4, in the finals of the U.S. Girls Junior in 2005.
 
But the performances that put the most smiles on the bosses back at LPGA headquarters were the ones turned in by the 20-year-old Kim in the press room and at the trophy presentation over the weekend.
 
Remember, Kim was the first Korean to win an LPGA event since the storm of controversy accompanied the organizations announcement that it was going to mandate more English language proficiency from its foreign-born players.
 
At her Longs news conference Saturday, Kim made it through without an interpreter and referred to herself self-deprecatingly but endearingly as a little punk kid. Very American.
 
The word she probably was looking for was underdog. But all the present knew what she was trying to say.
 
Then on Sunday she revealed that she had been taking English classes two days a week at the University of South Carolina but struggled in other parts of the country because the South Carolina accent was so different.
 
Finally, with the sponsors beaming in the background at the presentation of the winners check, she blushed and said, This is like my English class.
 
If they had been handing out grades Sunday, the consensus is that In-Kyung Kim would have received an A on the course and an A off the course as well. Rosetta Stone language courses, she said, have also helped.
 
Kim came to the United States when she was 17 and has tried to immerse herself in American culture. But she hasnt forgotten where she came from, a fact that was evident when she acknowledged her mothers presence in the Sunday gallery.
 
She believes in me more than I believe in myself, thats why I am here today, said Kim, who now ranks No. 22 in the world, one spot ahead of Morgan Pressel.
 
SHUTTING IT DOWN
 
If Pressel is disappointed that she hasnt won in 2008 (no top 10s since June), think how Brittany Lincicome feels.
 
The long-hitting Lincicome, who plowed through the field at the 2006 HSBC World Match Play and played on the victorious 2007 U.S. Solheim Cup team, has dropped all the way to 90th on the money list and No. 49 in the world rankings.
 
According to her agent, Jeff Chilcoat, Lincicome will shut it down after this weeks Kapalua LPGA Classic and not return to competitive golf until 2009.
 
Lincicomes problems began when she and her teacher, Tampa-based Matt Mitchell, tried to make swing changes between the 2007 and 2008 seasons. By late spring it became apparent the changes werent working and the two have spent much of the rest of the year trying to get Lincicome back to where she was in 2007 when she finished 13th on the money list with $871,384 in earnings.
 
Lincicome has made just $114,963 this year and ranks 160th in driving accuracy, a stat that discounts her No. 2 ranking in driving distance. In 20 events this year the 23-year-old has posted just one top 10. Lincicome also made multiple caddie switches this year before finally settling on veteran looper Tara Bateman.
 
Certainly theres been frustration, Chilcoat said. But she has handled it very well, way better than you would expect a young 23-year-old to handle this.
 
WACHOVIA UPDATE
 
Last week GolfChannel.com reported that the Wachovia Championship was waiting to find out its new name while acquisition suitors Citigroup and Wells Fargo fought over who was going to take over the tournaments title sponsor.
 
The San Francisco-based Wells Fargo won. And there is every indication that the new owner will continue to sponsor the event through the end of its contractual commitment to the PGA Tour which expires after the 2014 tournament.
 
The Wachovia Championship did a spectacular job branding its event as a top tier championship in the five years it was played at Quail Hollow which has become one of the players favorite courses on Tour. And there is hope in the Charlotte, N.C., community that Wells Fargo will recognize that. But there is no guarantee.
 
We didnt control the name, said Quail Hollow club president Johnny Harris. In retrospect, maybe we should have done that. Harris said he hasnt given up on the concept of the new name having Quail Hollow in the title.
 
Meanwhile, Harris emphasized that the uncertain job futures of thousands of Wachovia employees located in the Charlotte area are more important right now than the name of a golf tournament.
 

Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
 
Related Links:
  • Golf Channel Amateur Tour
  • Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

    By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

    Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

    Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

    Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

    Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

    It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

    The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

    Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

    Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

    ''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

    They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

    ''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

    Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

    ''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

    Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

    Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

    Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

    Getty Images

    Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

    Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

    Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

    Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

    Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

    The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

    Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

    Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.