Garrigus Johnson leading the way at ATT

By Associated PressFebruary 12, 2009, 5:00 pm
2007 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmPEBBLE BEACH, Calif. ' Sunshine and tranquil conditions turned the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am into paradise Thursday, and it was particularly ideal for big hitters Robert Garrigus and Dustin Johnson.
 
Garrigus reached the uphill, 529-yard seventh hole at Spyglass Hill with a 5-iron and holed a 50-foot eagle putt, then closed out his first round with consecutive birdies for a 7-under 65.
 
Bill Murray
Bill Murray is part of the celebrity rotation at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. (Getty Images)
Johnson, another natural athlete with height and power, holed out a 9-iron from 151 yards for eagle on the first hole at Pebble Beach and played bogey-free for a 65.
 
Such scores are rare at Spyglass and Pebble except when the wind and rain go on hiatus, which was the case on a gorgeous afternoon on the Monterey Peninsula. And theres a big advantage with length on soft courses in chilly weather.
 
I look forward to golf courses playing long. Thats my game, said Garrigus, who is making his 90th start on the PGA Tour and found his name atop the leaderboard for the first time after any round.
 
Rich Beem isnt particularly long, but he did practically nothing wrong.
 
The former PGA champion hasnt been back to the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am since 2000, and he had no intention of returning until he lost his card last year and could no longer choose where he wanted to play. But he was loving it Thursday, opening with three birdies and finishing with two more.
 
The only drama came early, when Beem felt a few drops of rain on the first hole at Pebble Beach and asked his caddie for the umbrella.
 
What umbrella? Bill Heim replied.
 
Turns out it had been misplaced, and Beem dashed into the pro shop to borrow one. He didnt need it, as the sun quickly emerged and the birdies started falling.
 
Also at 66 were Vaughn Taylor (Pebble Beach) and Charley Hoffman (Spyglass Hill).
 
Vijay Singh, in his first tournament since minor knee surgery after the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship, opened with a 72 at Poppy Hills, while double major winner Padraig Harrington struggled to a 74 on the same course.
 
Phil Mickelson had a 72 at Spyglass.
 
Garrigus is among the longest hitters in golf, and its no accident.
 
His dream of playing baseball ended at age 13 when he threw out his arm on the mound and broke his leg on a dirt bike. His grandfather handed him a driver and told him to swing as hard as he could until he turned 18.
 
Sure enough, I was hitting it over 300 yards when I was 15 years old, he said.
 
The rest of the game has been slow to catch up. Garrigus shot 93 the first time he played and was down to 69 a year later, but against stronger competition, he had to learn to keep the ball in the short grass and make some putts. Changing to a 28-inch putter helped the latter, and he is getting more comfortable on tour.
 
Its kind of an ego thing, but I really dont want to be known as the guy who hit it farther, he said. I want to be known as the guy who makes everything, because thats where the money is.
 
His finish was on the money at Spyglass, traditionally the tougher of the three courses, starting with his 5-iron into the par-5 seventh green. Garrigus followed that with an 8-iron into 8 feet and another 8-iron into 15 feet on the last two holes for birdie.
 
Johnson concedes his length helps, especially reaching par 5s that others cant, but his 65 came despite making only one birdie on the par 5. He nearly reached the 18th in two, but chipped to 10 feet and missed the putt.
 
Even so, he had few complaints about the day.
 
It was beautiful out there, he said. You cant have a bad time on this golf course.
 
Davis Love III was among the early leaders until he dropped a few shots coming in and had to settle for a 69. As for the pro-am portion of the round, his partner made it sound like a case of Hit the ball, drag Tim.
 
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem played for the first time, and while he contributed a few shots along the way, he made double bogeys on two holes when he got a stroke with his handicap, and they were holes were Love made bogey.
 
Finchem conceded to being nervous, and if you watched any of my shots, you could tell.
 
It was great fun, he said. As many times as Ive been on the fairway with guys talking to them, when you get to observe that close, it does reacquaint you with how good they are. And you get the feeling of being totally inadequate.
 
Mark Calcavecchia was among those at 67, while Retief Goosen was in the large group at 68. The conditions were so good that 87 players broke par, a group that included Jim Furyk, who shot 71 at Spyglass in his 2009 debut.
 

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
  • Monterey Peninsula proves it's a golf destination for all types
  • Getty Images

    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.

     

     

    Getty Images

    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.”

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.”