Big Guns Blazing Early

By Associated PressSeptember 21, 2006, 4:00 pm
36th Ryder Cup MatchesSTRAFFAN, Ireland -- Tiger Woods gets another chance to set the tone for the Ryder Cup, this time with a new partner.
 
Woods and Jim Furyk, unbeaten in the three matches at the Presidents Cup, will be the first to tee off Friday morning in a fourball match against Colin Montgomerie and Padraig Harrington, Europe's toughest tandem in the last Ryder Cup.
 
Tom Lehman and Arnold Palmer
U.S. captain Tom Lehman chats with Arnold Palmer during Thursday's practice session.
'We have got two of Europe's best on the first day,' Woods said. 'Hopefully, we'll be able to get it started and get the momentum on our side going out early.'
 
That sure wasn't the case last time.
 
In a notorious start at Oakland Hills, Woods and Phil Mickelson played together for the first time. Montgomerie and Harrington birdied the first hole and never trailed, a 2-and-1 victory that gave Europe an emotional lift on it way to its largest victory ever, 18 1/2 -9 1/2 .
 
'The first point is important,' U.S. captain Tom Lehman said. 'You want to lead with your best.'
 
Mickelson also found a good partner at the Presidents Cup last year when he and Chris DiMarco were unbeaten in four matches. They will bring up the rear for the Americans in the opening session in what figured to be the most emotional match Friday. They will face Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland, whose wife died of cancer five weeks ago.
 
'It's a big occasion for Darren tomorrow, and playing with one of his best friends,' European captain Ian Woosnam said. 'I think that's going to boost Darren right up.'
 
In between were a couple of mild surprises, with Lehman starting two of his four unheralded rookies.
 
J.J. Henry, who has played as well as anyone in the three days of practice at The K Club, will join Stewart Cink in the second fourball match against Paul Casey and Robert Karlsson. In the third game, David Toms and big-hitting Brett Wetterich will take on Sergio Garcia and Jose Maria Olazabal.
 
Woods has lost seven consecutive matches on opening day at the Ryder Cup, dating to his debut match at Valderrama in 1997. He and Furyk come into this Ryder Cup on top of their games. Woods has won five of his last six tournaments and Furyk won the Canadian Open two weeks ago, although both lost in the first round of the World Match Play Championship last week.
 
Montgomerie and Harrington, Ireland's best golfer, won both their matches at Oakland Hills without reaching the 18th hole.
 
'Monty always just seems to raise his game for this tournament,' Woosnam said. 'Obviously he stands on that first tee, he changes into a different person. ... He's got a fantastic record and not very often he gets beat.'
 
Montgomerie had said last time that beating Woods and Mickelson was worth two points because of the emotional lift. Woosnam believes a victory over Woods and Furyk would do the same.
 
'It's going to be a big boost for us if we can beat that pairing,' he said.
 
Lehman said he had his opening-session pairings in mind before arriving on Monday, and nothing he saw in practice changed his mind.
 
Woosnam, meanwhile, relied on his gut feeling watching his players this week. That much was obvious with his pairing of Casey and Karlsson. The original plan was for Karlsson to play with fellow Swedish rookie Henrik Stenson.
 
Casey won the HSBC World Match Play Championship last week, and Karlsson reached the semifinals.
 
'I decided last night on that pairing,' Woosnam said. 'And that's why they went out together today, to give them a chance to play together. They both hit the ball extremely long. They hit in the same club and hit the same shots into the green, and I think that's what made me go for that pairing.'
 
Another surprise was Garcia and Olazabal.
 
Woosnam said he hoped they could deliver the kind of magic Olazabal and Seve Ballesteros brought to Europe in the 1980s, when the 'Spanish Armada' produced the most successful tandem in Ryder Cup history.
 
Ballesteros was a mentor to Olazabal, however. Garcia has never been particularly close to either Spanish star.
 
'They both got this love of match play,' Woosnam said. 'Obviously, they might be talking Spanish all the way around.'
 
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    Lincicome grouped with two rookies in Barbasol

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 9:54 pm

    Brittany Lincicome will tee it up with a pair of rookies when she makes her first start in a PGA Tour event Thursday at the Barbasol Championship at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

    Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, is scheduled to go off the 10th tee at 9:59 a.m. ET in the first round with Sam Ryder, 28, and Conrad Shindler, 29. They’re off the first tee Friday at 2:59 p.m. ET

    Lincicome will become just the sixth woman to play in a PGA Tour event, joining Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie.

    “The first three or four holes, I’ll be a nervous wreck, for sure,” Linicome said.

     

     

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    Lincicome thrilled by reception from male pros

    By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 8:31 pm

    Brittany Lincicome wondered how PGA Tour pros would greet her when she arrived to play the Barbasol Championship this week.

    She wondered if there would be resentment.

    She also wondered how fans at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky., would receive her, and if a social media mob would take up pitchforks.

    “I can’t stop smiling,” Lincicome said Tuesday after her first practice round upon arriving. “Everyone has been coming up to me and wishing me luck. That means a lot.”

    PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, husband of LPGA pro Gerina Piller, welcomed her immediately.

    Other pros sought her out on the practice putting green.

    She said she was also welcomed joining pros at a table in player dining.

    Fans have been stopping her for autographs.

    “It has been an awesome reception,” said Dewald Gouws, her husband, a former long-drive competitor. “I think it’s put her much more at ease, seeing the reception she is getting. There’s a lot of mutual respect.”

    Lincicome, 32, wasn’t sure if she would be playing a practice round alone Tuesday morning, but when she made her way to the first tee, Domenico Geminiani was there, just about to go off.

    He waved Lincicome over.

    “He said, `Hey, Brittany, do you want to join me?’” Gouws said. “Come to find out, Dom’s a pretty cool guy.”

    Geminiani made it into the field as a Monday qualifier.

    “The two of us were both trying to figure things out together,” Lincicome said.

    Keene Trace will play to 7,328 yards on the scorecard. That’s more than 800 yards longer than Highland Meadows, where Lincicome finished second at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic last weekend. Keene Trace was playing even longer than its listed yardage Tuesday, with recent rains softening it.

    Nicknamed “Bam Bam,” Lincicome is one of the longest hitters in the women’s game. Her 269.5 yard average drive is 10th in the LPGA ranks. It would likely be dead last on the PGA Tour, where Brian Stuard (278.2) is the last player on the stats list at No. 201.

    “I think if I keep it in the fairway, I’ll be all right,” Lincicome said.

    Lincicome is an eight-time LPGA winner, with two major championships among those titles. She is just the sixth woman to compete in a PGA Tour event, the first in a decade, since Michelle Wie played the Reno-Tahoe Open, the last of her eight starts against the men.

    Lincicome will join Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Wie in the elite ranks.

    Zaharias, by the way, is the only woman to make a 36-hole cut in PGA Tour history, making it at the 1945 L.A. Open before missing a 54-hole cut on the weekend.

    What are Lincicome’s expectations?

    She would love to make the cut, but . . .

    “Just going to roll with it and see what happens,” she said. “This is once in a lifetime, probably a one-and-done opportunity. I’m just going to enjoy it.”

    Lincicome grew up playing for the boys’ golf team at Seminole High on the west coast of Florida. She won a couple city championships.

    “I always thought it would be cool to compete against the guys on the PGA Tour,” Lincicome said. “I tend to play more with the guys than women at home. I never would have gone out and told my agent, `Let’s go try to play in a PGA Tour event,’ but when Tom Murray called with this opportunity, I was really blown away and excited by it. I never in a million years thought I would have this opportunity.”

    Tom Murray, the president of Perio, the parent company of Barbasol and Pure Silk, invited Lincicome to accept one of the tournament’s sponsor exemptions. Lincicome represents Pure Silk.

    Lincicome said her desire to play a PGA Tour event is all about satisfying her curiosity, wanting to know how she would stack up at this level. She also wants to see if the experience can help take her to the next level in the women’s game.

    As a girl growing up, she played Little League with the boys, instead of softball with the girls. She said playing the boys in golf at Seminole High helped her get where she is today.

    “The guys were better, and it pushed me to want to be better,” Lincicome said. “I think playing with the guys [on the PGA Tour], I will learn something to take to LPGA events, and it will help my game, for sure.”

    Lincicome has been pleased that her fellow LPGA pros are so supportive. LPGA winner Kris Tamulis is flying into Kentucky as moral support. Other LPGA pros may also be coming in to support her.

    The warm fan reception Lincicome is already getting at Keene Trace matters, too.

    “She’s already picked up some new fans this week, and hopefully she will pick up some more,” Gouws said. “I don’t think she’s putting too much expectation on herself. I think she really does just want to have fun.”

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    Stunner: Inbee Park steps aside for Int. Crown

    By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 4:00 pm

    There was a big surprise this week when the LPGA announced the finalized lineups for the UL International Crown.

    Rolex world No. 1 Inbee Park won’t be teeing it up for the host South Koreans Oct. 4-7 in Incheon.

    She has withdrawn, saying she wanted another Korean to be able to experience the thrill of representing her country.

    It’s a stunner given the importance the LPGA has placed on taking the UL International Crown to South Korea and its golf-crazy allegiance to the women’s game in the Crown’s first staging outside the United States.

    Two-time major champion In Gee Chun will replace Park.

    "It was my pleasure and honor to participate in the first UL International Crown in 2014 and at the 2016 Olympics, and I cannot describe in one word how amazing the atmosphere was to compete as a representative of my country,” Park said. “There are so many gifted and talented players in Korea, and I thought it would be great if one of the other players was given the chance to experience the 2018 UL International Crown.”

    Chun, another immensely popular player in South Korea, was the third alternate, so to speak, with the world rankings used to field teams. Hye Jin Choi and Jin Young Ko were higher ranked than Chun but passed because of commitments made to competing in a Korean LPGA major that week. The other South Koreans who previously qualified are So Yeon Ryu, Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim.

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    Na: I can admit, 'I went through the yips'

    By Rex HoggardJuly 17, 2018, 3:35 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following his victory two weeks ago at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, Kevin Na said his second triumph on the PGA Tour was the most rewarding of his career.

    Although he declined to go into details as to why the victory was so gratifying at The Greenbrier, as he completed his practice round on Tuesday at the Open Championship, Na shed some light on how difficult the last few years have been.

    “I went through the yips. The whole world saw that. I told people, 'I can’t take the club back,'” Na said on Tuesday at Carnoustie. “People talked about it, 'He’s a slow player. Look at his routine.' I was admitting to the yips. I didn’t use the word ‘yip’ at the time. Nobody wants to use that word, but I’m over it now so I can use it. The whole world saw it.”


    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Na, who made headlines for his struggles to begin his backswing when he found himself in the lead at the 2012 Players Championship, said he asked other players who had gone through similar bouts with the game’s most dreaded ailment how they were able to get through it.

    “It took time,” he said. “I forced myself a lot. I tried breathing. I tried a trigger. Some guys will have a forward press or the kick of the right knee. That was hard and the crap I got for it was not easy.”

    The payoff, however, has steadily arrived this season. Na said he’d been confident with his game this season following a runner-up showing at the Genesis Open and a fourth-place finish at the Fort Worth Invitational, and he felt he was close to a breakthrough. But being able to finish a tournament like he did at The Greenbrier, where he won by five strokes, was particularly rewarding.

    “All good now,” he smiled. “I knew I was good enough to win again, but until you do it sometimes you question yourself. It’s just the honest truth.”