Lincicome and McPhersons major friendship

By Randall MellApril 15, 2009, 4:00 pm
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Brittany Lincicome tapped out the text message a couple days ago.
You still mad at me?
Kristy McPherson has been getting these kinds of messages from Lincicome for two weeks now, and she couldnt resist a playful retort.
My brothers are mad at you, McPherson answered back.
This is the kind of fun McPherson has been having since Lincicome beat her at the Kraft Nabisco Championship with one of the greatest shots ever hit at the end of a major championship.
2009 Kraft Nabisco
Lincicome chips onto the green on the fifth hole during the second round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club. (Getty Images)

The 22-degree hybrid Lincicome used to carve a shot from 210 yards to 4 feet to set up her winning eagle should have broken McPhersons heart, and Cristie Kerrs for that matter. Lincicome beat them both by a shot at Mission Hills Dinah Shore Tournament Course, but there was a different dynamic in play for McPherson.
Lincicome, 23, and McPherson, 27, are close friends.
Nearly every week, when theyre playing the same tour event, youll find Lincicome and McPherson together, battling it out in a card game, typically Spades. Its usually Lincicome and Meredith Duncan against McPherson and Angela Stanford.
I wish Meredith and I could win a little more at cards, Lincicome said.
Lincicomes fantastic finish was the kind of blow that could test the true nature of their friendship, but it doesnt appear to have altered their bond at all. It has only allowed McPherson to have some fun with the guilt Lincicome expresses whenever they pick up their cell phones to speak or text, which theyve done practically every day since the Kraft Nabisco.
Brittanys like, `Dude, I didnt mean to hit it that close, McPherson said. Its something Ill always give her a hard time about.
But if youre going to get beat, thats the way to get beat, by a best friend with a shot like that. Its not like I chunked a ball in the water or beat myself.
Lincicome is still glowing over her first major championship. Shes being recognized more now, and that will only continue with her Major League Baseball pitching debut approaching. OK, its just a single pitch that doesnt count, but Lincicome is excited about the Tampa Rays invitation to throw out the first ball when the Rays play the Boston Red Sox on April 30 at Tropicana Field. Lincicome grew up in Pinellas Park, Fla., about 15 minutes from the ballpark.
Shortly after returning home after the Kraft Nabisco, Lincicome showed up at Bardmoor Golf & Tennis Club in Largo, Fla., to meet with local media. Club members there perused through her bag looking for the other star in Lincicomes victory, the Adams Idea Pro Hybrid that set up Lincicomes winning eagle. She isnt about to take the club out of play and mount it on some wall just yet.
Its staying in my bag, said Lincicome, a three-time LPGA winner. Its one of my favorite clubs. I had a few people at the course who wanted to know if they could look at it, or touch it, to see if the good vibes would rub off.
Lincicome is in Daytona Beach this week, where her boyfriend is throwing a belated victory party. The celebration had to wait because Lincicome spent only a few days at home after her victory before flying back out west for the Vision 54 School in Phoenix. Thats Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriotts school, which is built on their philosophy and book, 'Every Shot Must Have a Purpose.'
Its the first time a major championship winner has attended our school, Nilsson said. It was really cool.
Lincicomes attendance a week after winning her first major shows just how determined she is to avoid the letdown so many first-time major champions experience. After a depressing 2008 season, when Lincicome finished a career-low 92nd on the money list with just one top-10 finish, shes determined to keep building on her momentum. A swing change initiated in the off season is part of that. So is the new approach Vision 54 brings to her game.
Before the Kraft Nabisco started, Lincicome got a short preview session from Nilsson and Marriott. She implemented their suggestion that she visit a happy place after bad shots, by singing or thinking about fishing, a favorite hobby.
Going to a happy place is an idea that really helped Brittany, said Tom Lincicome, Brittanys father. Before, when Brittany hit a bad shot, she would take a couple holes before she came out of it. At Kraft, after a bad shot, you couldnt tell.
Vision 54 helped Lincicome immensely.
So did playing the final round with McPherson, who grew up in Conway, S.C. Lincicome met her in a tour fellowship meeting two seasons ago.
I dont think Kristy and I ever played together in an LPGA tournament before, Lincicome said. It was ironic it would come in the final round of a major, but it was awesome to have her out there with me.
Walking to the 10th tee for the back-nine finish, Lincicome grabbed McPhersons hand and wouldnt let go. Nilsson couldnt have prescribed a more calming tactic to settle Lincicome for what was to come. McPherson was playing in her first Kraft Nabisco and just her fifth major. She has never won an LPGA event, but she showed almost no nerves under final-round pressure.
Brittany was squeezing my fingers and telling me that her heart was going to beat out of her chest, McPherson said. We still laugh about that. I dont know why I was so calm. Maybe it was because I was with her.
Nilsson saw the benefit the pairing was having as she watched on TV.
The pairing had a calming effect on Brittany, you could see that, Nilsson said. You could see what good friends they are when Kristy almost made the hole-in-one on the 17th. Brittany looked happier about it than Kristy was.
Though McPherson took a one-shot lead to the 72nd hole, she didnt walk away crushed. Shes taking her strong play as a positive while being surprised at how much attention shes getting for a second-place finish.
Walking Augusta National as a spectator at the Masters last week, McPherson was moved by how many patrons recognized her.
Quite a few people said they were pulling for me, McPherson said.
Pat Green, the country music singer, called McPherson to encourage her. They met once in a golf outing.
He said he spent his birthday watching the Kraft Nabiscos final round and couldnt turn off his TV, McPherson said.
McPherson joined Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam as the only LPGA players at the Hootie & the Blowfish Monday after the Masters Pro-Am in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The bands lead singer, Darius Rucker, made a point of congratulating McPherson. So did Sorenstam, who sought out McPherson at the concert and hugged her.
She was really supportive and said she looked forward to watching me the rest of the year, McPherson said. That was great.
The biggest boost McPherson got from the Kraft Nabisco was her jump to No. 8 in the U.S. Solheim Cup standings. The top 10 in points automatically qualify for the Aug. 21-23 event at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill. Lincicome is 12th in points. The duo would relish being teammates in the biennial competition against Europe.
Its every Americans dream to play for your country, McPherson said.
That might be more a nightmare for Europe given the strength that McPherson and Lincicome can give each other.

Related Links:
  • Final Leaderboard - Kraft Nabisco Championship
  • Full Coverage - Kraft Nabisco Championship
  • Cut Line: Lyle faces third bout with cancer

    By Rex HoggardNovember 24, 2017, 5:40 pm

    In this week’s holiday edition, Cut Line is thankful for the PGA Tour’s continued progress on many fronts and the anticipation that only a Tiger Woods return can generate.

    Made Cut

    The Fighter. That was the headline of a story Cut Line wrote about Jarrod Lyle following his second bout with cancer a few years ago, so it’s both sad and surreal to see the affable Australian now bracing for a third fight with leukemia.

    Lyle is working as an analyst for Channel 7’s coverage of this week’s Emirates Australian Open prior to undergoing another stem cell transplant in December.

    “I’ve got a big month coming,” Lyle said. “I’m back into hospital for some really heavy-duty treatment that’s really going to determine how things pan out for me.”

    Twice before things have panned out for Lyle. Let’s hope karma has one more fight remaining.

    Changing times. Last season the PGA Tour introduced a policy to add to the strength of fields, a measure that had long eluded officials and by most accounts was a success.

    This season the circuit has chosen to tackle another long-standing thorn, ridiculously long pro-am rounds. While there seems little the Tour can do to speed up play during pro-am rounds, a new plan called a 9&9 format will at least liven things up for everyone involved.

    Essentially, a tournament hosting a pro-am with four amateurs can request the new format, where one professional plays the first nine holes and is replaced by another pro for the second nine.

    Professionals will have the option to request 18-hole pro-am rounds, giving players who limit practice rounds to just pro-am days a chance to prepare, but otherwise it allows Tour types to shorten what is an admittedly long day while the amateurs get a chance to meet and play with two pros.

    The new measure does nothing about pace of play, but it does freshen up a format that at times can seem tired, and that’s progress.

    Tweet of the week: @Love3d (Davis Love III‏) “Thanks to Dr. Flanagan (Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center) for the new hip and great care! Can’t wait to get back to (the PGA Tour).”

    Love offered the particularly graphic tweet following hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, a procedure that he admitted he’d delayed because he was “chicken.”

    The surgery went well and Love is on pace to return to the Tour sometime next spring. As for the possibility of over-sharing on social media, we’ll leave that to the crowd.

    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    Distance control. The Wall Street Journal provided the octagon for the opening blows of a clash that has been looming for a long time.

    First, USGA executive director Mike Davis told The Journal that the answer to continued distance gains may be a restricted-flight golf ball with an a la carte rule that would allow different organizations, from the Tour all the way down to private clubs, deciding which ball to use.

    “You can’t say you don’t care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand,” Davis said. “The impact it has had has been horrible.”

    A day later, Wally Uihlein, CEO of Acushnet, which includes the Titleist brand, fired back in a letter to The Journal, questioning among other things how distance gains are putting a financial burden on courses.

    “The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate,” Uihlein wrote.

    For anyone paying attention the last few years, this day was inevitable and the likely start of what will be a drawn out and heated process, but Cut Line’s just not sure anyone wins when it’s over.

    Tiger, take II. Tiger Woods’ return to competition next week at the Hero World Challenge was always going to generate plenty of speculation, but that hyperbole reached entirely new levels this week as players began giving personal accounts of the new and improved 14-time major champion.

    “I did talk to him, and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years,’” Day said as he prepared for the Australian Open. “If he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.”

    Rickie Fowler added to the frenzy when he was asked this month if the rumors that Woods is driving the ball by him, by 20 to 30 yards by some reports, are true?

    “Oh, yeah,” he told “Way by.”

    Add to all this a recent line that surfaced in Las Vegas that Woods is now listed at 20-1 to win a major in 2018, and it seems now may be a good time for a restraint.

    Golf is better with Woods, always has been and always will be, but it may be best to allow Tiger time to find out where his body and game are before we declare him back.

    Missed Cut

    Searching for answers. Twelve months ago, Hideki Matsuyama was virtually unstoppable and, regardless of what the Official World Golf Ranking said, arguably the best player on the planet.

    Now a year removed from that lofty position, which featured the Japanese star finishing either first or second in six of his seven starts as the New Year came and went, Matsuyama has faded back to fifth in the world and on Sunday finished fifth, some 10 strokes behind winner Brooks Koepka, at the Dunlop Phoenix.

    “That hurt,” Matsuyama told the Japan Times. “I don’t know whether it’s a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well. It seems there are many issues to address.”

    Since his last victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Matsuyama has just two top-10 finishes on Tour and he ended his 2016-17 season with a particularly poor performance at the Presidents Cup.

    While Matsuyama’s take seems extreme considering his season, there are certainly answers that need answering.

    Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

    Updated at 11:14 a.m. ET

    An Instagram user known as hwalks posted photos to her account that included images of Tiger Woods, President Trump and Dustin Johnson Friday at Trump National, as well as video of Woods' swing.

    Original story:

    Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

    President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

    Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

    Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

    By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

    HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

    Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

    ''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''

    Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open

    Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

    Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

    ''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

    Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

    Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

    ''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''

    Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

    By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

    Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

    Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

    What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.

    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

    Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

    Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

    Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

    Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.