Familiar story different name headlining Buick

By Associated PressFebruary 4, 2009, 5:00 pm
2006 Buick InvitationalSAN DIEGO ' He captured more majors than anyone last year, won every player of the year award on golfs landscape and will make his PGA Tour debut this week in the Buick Invitational.
The story should sound familiar, just not the name.
Never really thought of it that way, Padraig Harrington said Wednesday.
Instead of Tiger Woods, the feature attraction at Torrey Pines is Harrington, who has won three of the last six majors, including consecutive titles last year in the British Open and PGA Championship.
Harrington is No. 3 in the world, the highest-ranked player at the Buick Invitational by a small margin over hometown star Phil Mickelson. And while Lefty figures to attract the largest gallery ' the security detail that usually follows Woods has been assigned to him ' the Irishman was the No. 1 pick at the pro-am draw party.
This will be the earliest Harrington has started on the PGA Tour, but he could not think of a better place.
He was at Torrey Pines for the U.S. Open last summer, but this is his first time to play the Buick Invitational. He spent his pro-am Wednesday on the North course, which in June was occupied by parking lots, practice areas, corporate tents and the media center.
Reaching the crest of the fifth fairway, staring below at the green, the cliffs and the Pacific Ocean, Harrington caught himself.
This is a particularly pretty view, he said, a rare understatement by his standards.
And when one of his amateur partners asked him to list his favorite golf course in America (not counting Augusta National), Harrington listed the next three tournaments on his schedule ' Torrey Pines, Pebble Beach and Riviera, the only time in PGA Tour history that three straight tournaments are held at U.S. Open venues.
What kind of game he will bring to those courses remains a mystery.
Less than sharp, Harrington said.
He takes a two-month break from tournament golf during the winter, but he is always working, always refining his swing to find a way to make it better. He concedes that it takes time for the moving parts to get in sync.
You can practice as much as you like, go on the golf course and play as much as you like, he said. But its totally different when you have a card in your hand.
Good thing his card on Wednesday was only for a pro-am.
From 90 yards short of the fourth green, he looked like one of his amateurs when he chunked a sand wedge that didnt get halfway to the green. On the uphill seventh along the cliffs, he hooked his tee shot into hazard. He wound up with a 73 on the easy North.
In some respects, Harrington filled the void when Woods missed the second half of the season with knee surgery, at least in performance. He won the British Open, the first major without Woods since he turned pro. Harrington was Tiger-like in winning consecutive majors. And just like Woods, his performance in the Ryder Cup was not up to par.
But the biggest difference is the start to his season.
Woods shows up at every tournament prepared to win, and he usually does, especially at Torrey Pines. Harrington is the first to admit hes not there yet, and might never be.
I go to events hopeful, he said with a laugh. Im hoping the game will be there, but not expecting it.
The earliest Harrington has won in a season was the 2005 Honda Classic, held in March, but that was his fourth straight start. Harrington made his 2009 debut three weeks ago in Abu Dhabi and tied for fifth, a pleasant surprise.
But it was a surprise.
He is a control freak, getting more satisfaction out of knowing he can hit the proper shot instead of simply seeing a good shot.
This is a good example, he said as he walked down the eighth fairway toward his tee shot, nestled in the rough some 10 yards left of the fairway. I thought I made a good swing. I felt it would start down the middle. But it started down the left side with a draw. It was a surprise to see it start 10 yards left of where I was aiming.
Thats what Im saying, he said. Its not that Ill be making a better swing in the summer, but Ill have a better concept of where Im at. Ill be able to tell on Wednesday whats going to come out tomorrow. This time of the year, Im not sure where my strengths are or what Im trying to avoid.
Harrington often finds himself playing a tournament while preparing for another one, and maybe thats why he has won three of the last six majors dating to the 2007 British Open. And he has no complaints.
But that was the goal in the winter, to make sure every time I teed it up that I was more sure of where I was. And Im not sure of anything at the moment, he said with a laugh. I failed miserably this week.
Mickelson is coming off the slightest of failures, having missed the cut last week in the FBR Open. The good news for Lefty is the last two times he has missed a cut on the West Coast, he won the next week ' at Pebble Beach in 2007, and at Riviera last year.
He isnt too worried about being in last place in the FedEx Cup standings one week into his year.
Im just going to brush it off and see how it goes this week, Mickelson said. Start 09 anew this week.

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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.”

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    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.”