Mickelson Skips Wednesday Practice Round

By Associated PressSeptember 15, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Ryder CupBLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Phil Mickelson is a changed man. He's altered the long-standing perception he couldn't win a major, and his latest deviation finds him switching equipment just before golf's pre-eminent team event.
Still, there's one thing Mickelson wouldn't alter - not even for the Ryder Cup, the one time in a pro golfer's life when individualism is discouraged and players compete for the flag, not financial gain.
While 23 U.S. and European golfers practiced Wednesday at Oakland Hills, Mickelson was the lone holdout as he chose to take a rest day. His absence was noticed by the tens of thousands of spectators, some of whom spent as much as $40 just for parking, and by the rival European captain.
As U.S. captain Hal Sutton sped down the fourth fairway in a cart, watching a practice round, several fans yelled, 'Where's Phil? Where's Phil?'
Sutton, who has done everything this week short of holding a slumber party to build a team-first atmosphere among the sometimes self-centered Americans, didn't answer. Mickelson told him he always rests on the Wednesday before a major, and Mickelson considers the Ryder Cup to be a major.
To Sutton, that made it a minor issue.
'I said, `Absolutely, don't change your routine. You do what you have to do,'' Sutton said.
American teammate Stewart Cink also wasn't bothered, saying, 'Phil, he's bold at times, he's not afraid to make a decision that might ruffle a few feathers.'
But it wasn't how European captain Bernhard Langer would do it and he said so, caring not if he touched an American nerve. To some on the European side, Mickelson's decision smacked of the me-first attitude they believe is more prevalent among the Americans than themselves.
'I don't know of any of my guys who would take a whole day off before a big competition,' Langer said.
Not long before his 11 teammates took the course without him, Mickelson said, 'We have a team concept we haven't had in the past, and I think Hal is searching for a different way to help bring our best game out.'
The spectators, meanwhile, were unsuccessfully searching for Mickelson.
Mickelson's decision to take a day off came only a week after he switched equipment, from Titleist to Callaway - another subject of locker room debate at Oakland Hills. Normally, a golfer would be no more likely to make such an important switch amid season than a NASCAR driver would to change from Ford to Chevy the week of the Daytona 500.
'Surprised, yes,' Sutton said. 'Not upset about it. Any time a great player like that makes a shift in equipment, I think everybody is surprised by it. You can't be upset about things like that because he's got a life that he's got to live.'
Mickelson didn't exactly look comfortable with his new Callaway driver last week at the Canadian Open, finishing last in driving accuracy the first three rounds. His 57th-place finish was his second-worst in 19 events, in the same memorable year he won the Masters, was a close second in the U.S. Open, third in the British Open and tied for sixth in the PGA.
The image of Mickelson lifting up delighted young daughter Amanda after the Masters and saying, 'Daddy won, can you believe it?' after ending his 42-tournament losing streak in majors is perhaps the indelible moment of the golfing year.
What a year, so why change now?
'I could have waited until the end of the year, but I felt it was in my best interests and the best interests of the team that I do this now,' said Mickelson, who trails only world No. 1 Vijay Singh on the PGA Tour money list. 'It's with the ball I'm playing and it's with the woods I'm playing. I didn't make a change with the irons because of ... concern with distance controls and so forth.'
Mickelson's past record in team competition offers little clue of how he will play beginning Friday. His 8-5-3 Ryder Cup record is the best on a U.S. team that includes five Ryder Cup rookies, and certainly compares favorably to Tiger Woods' 5-8-2.
Yet Mickelson's 2002 Ryder Cup singles loss to Phillip Price, ranked 119th in the world, set the tone for Europe's strong final day and eventual victory. Mickelson also was 0-5 for the United States during its 14-14 tie with the international team in the 2003 Presidents Cup.
Mickelson insists his ongoing distractions, including the transition in equipment, will mean absolutely nothing come Friday.
'I think we as players on the U.S. side think we have a lot to prove, losing three of the last four (Ryder Cup) matches,' Mickelson said. 'I think we desperately - not desperately - we really want to play well this week.
Considering the Europeans' six victories in the last nine Ryder Cups, that really would be a change.
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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.”