Immelman Hopes to Keep Grand Slam Alive

By Associated PressJune 12, 2008, 4:00 pm
2008 U.S. OpenSAN DIEGO -- Not long ago, the question wasnt so much if Tiger Woods could win the Grand Slam as whether he could win every tournament he entered this year.
 
With the U.S. Open beginning Thursday, though, the thought of Woods going undefeated has been left behind.
 
And the only player with a chance at the Grand Slam?
 
Thats Trevor Immelman.
 
So while Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott, the top three players in golf, tee off in a rare glamour threesome at Torrey Pines, Immelman will be in a much quieter pairing later in the day: himself, Zach Johnson and Mike Weir'the last three players to win the Masters not named Woods or Mickelson.
 
A fantastic pairing, Immelman said of the Woods-Mickelson-Scott threesome. Ill probably be watching some of it before I tee off. But theres a whole host of players that have a great chance on this course.
 
Immelman is one of them. Not only does he have the confidence of Augusta behind him, he also has the memory of winning one of his first big tournaments, the U.S. Amateur Public Links, right here at Torrey Pines in 1998.
 
If only the Torrey Pines of 10 years ago was the same that the players will see this week.
 
Make no mistake, this is a seriously difficult golf course, Immelman said. But its fairly set up, from what Ive seen the last couple of days.
 
It is long'at 7,643 yards, the longest course in major championship history.
 
But the USGA has given itself some flexibility, too, having placed multiple tee boxes on a number of holes to add options if the wind is blowing or the rough gets out of control or the greens become too much.
 
Or all three.
 
USGA officials are at least talking like theyre trying to change this year.
 
We wanted to keep it the hardest championship in golf, said Mike Davis, the senior director of rules and competition. But we wanted to introduce risk and reward, and widen the scoring opportunities. Youll have a chance to make birdies, but if you dont execute the shot, you can make bogeys or worse. We just want to get them thinking more.
 
To improve chances for a fantastic finish, the likes of which have been missing from U.S. Opens of the recent past, Davis persuaded his USGA compatriots not to turn the 18th hole into a long par-4.
 
Instead, it remains a par-5, reachable at 573 yards, but with a pond guarding the left half of the green and no grass to hold balls that land in front and spin backward.
 
Someone in desperation mode come Sunday might try to go for that green.
 
It really makes you think, Immelman said. Youve got to decide if youre going to for it or lay up. If you hit it over the back and get a bad lie, you can chip it in the water easily. Its going to be a fantastic finishing hole.
 
Not his fault, but the final round of Immelmans Masters victory was completely devoid of drama.
 
He took a two-shot lead into the last day, expanded it to as much as six, and even though he hit his tee shot into the water on the par-3 16th, he averted disaster there, then finished with a pair of safe pars to beat Woods by three.
 
After that, life changed for Immelman, and he says he just tried to go with the flow.
 
If Im going to be brutally honest with you, Id say the reason is that two or three weeks after, I think youre trying to convince everybody else that youre fine, Immelman said. But I never for one second said that. I mean, I was absolutely smoked afterward.
 
As it turned out, Woods was, too. A nagging problem with his knee became too much to handle, so he shut it down and had surgery to clean out cartilage. Suddenly, the player who extended his streak to six straight victories worldwide at the start of the season and was at least a decent bet to win all four majors wasnt playing at all.
 
The U.S. Open will mark his first competitive round since Sunday at the Masters. The last time he took that kind of break was two years ago, also at the U.S. Open. In the aftermath of his fathers death, he missed the cut in a major for the first and only time.
 
I just dont see how its going to have a negative effect on him, Mickelson said of the Woods injury.
 
Despite the injury, Woods was listed as a 5-2 favorite. Mickelson was next at 7-1. Well down the list was Immelman, at 33-1, even though hes coming off a second-place finish last week at the St. Jude Championship, where he lost in a playoff to Justin Leonard.
 
A longshot indeed. But hes been in this spot before.
 
The thing you take with you is that youve done it before, Immelman said. Thats always comforting, to know youve won on the biggest stage.
 
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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.”