Notes Bunker Mentality King for a Day

By Associated PressMay 29, 2007, 4:00 pm
DUBLIN, Ohio -- The furrows are back in the bunkers at Muirfield Village, although Jack Nicklaus doesn't expect quite as many furrowed brows from the players.
The bunkers were all the rage -- outrage in some cases -- when Nicklaus had an extra tine removed from the Amish-made rakes to create deep ridges in the sand last year at the Memorial. His intent was to restore the penalty of hitting into a bunker, although some players said the size of the furrows took skill out of the sand shot.
'This year, we're consistent with the size, and we really don't think the players are going to find it to be a big hazard,' Nicklaus said. 'It puts a little ripple in the sand. Can you get a bad lie? Yeah. You'll be pretty hard-pressed, though.'
Nicklaus gave them a test over the weekend, hitting six bunker shots.
'One was a long bunker shot, and other five I hit within a foot,' he said. 'I said, 'Well, if I can do that, I think it's going to be pretty easy for those guys.' I don't think that will be an issue this year, frankly.'
The buzz word for the bunkers is called 'rough raking,' perhaps to get the word 'furrow' out of the vocabulary this week. But if the penalty won't be severe, why use any special rake at all?
'I just want them to say, 'I'm really not sure I want to be in there,'' Nicklaus said.
He used the 18th hole as an example, a 444-yard hole with a water hazard down the left side and bunkers to the right. Most players want to avoid the water, so they will hug the right side of the fairway, and if it finds the sand, they can knock it onto the green.
'If they put the ball in the bunker this week on the right side, they could get a decent lie,' Nicklaus said. 'Or they might not get a good lie. So they're going to say, 'I'm not sure I want to be in there. Maybe I ought to play this hole the way it's designed. Maybe I ought to take a 3-wood or a 5-wood or a 2-iron and put it down there in play.'
Nicklaus rattled off some sand statistics from last year, but one really got his attention. Carl Pettersson, the winner, hit into only one bunker all week.
Masters champion Zach Johnson took last week off after winning the AT&T Classic in Atlanta, although it could hardly be called a week of rest. He went home to Iowa for the first time, and it must have felt as though he owned the state.
Johnson went to Des Moines on Thursday to meet with the governor on what became 'Zach Johnson Day.' Then it was off to Drake, where the president and athletic director showed him off around campus.
'I saw so many past teammates of mine, friends of mine, coaches,' Johnson said. 'Getting back on campus was pretty awesome. It's been years since I had been back.'
Friday was set aside for his charity, 'All For Kids.' And on Saturday, he spent three hours at his golf club -- there's now a Zach Johnson Drive that's about 200 feet long -- signing memorabilia for club members. Johnson estimates he signed closed to 800 items.
'Sunday,' he said, 'was a relaxing day.'
It took two days for Sean O'Hair to get over THE PLAYERS Championship, and for good reason. He was two shots behind Phil Mickelson when he put two balls in the water on the island-green 17th, took quadruple-bogey and wound up tied for 12th.
'There was just one goal, and that was to make birdie,' O'Hair said.
He returns to competition this week at the Memorial, and he feels fresh from two weeks off except for a little practice and recreational play. One round was with his wife, Jackie, who last year finished 3-3-3-3 from the members' tees at Cypress Point to shoot 75.
'We weren't playing against each other. We were playing a team deal,' O'Hair said when asked who won. 'It was just nice, leisurely golf. It was just nice to have fun, just go on the golf course and not feel like you have to beat 1,000 balls. It was a refreshing break.'
O'Hair could use one.
After the Memorial, he faces a 36-hole qualifier for the U.S. Open.
The Champions Tour will be going to the Dominican Republican next year, meaning all three tours under the PGA TOUR umbrella will play a regular tournament south of the U.S. border.
The PGA TOUR added Mexico to the schedule this year and will add Puerto Rico for 2008, while the Nationwide Tour has been played in New Zealand and Australia the past couple of years.
The Champions Tour event will be held April 4-6 -- one week before the Masters -- at Punta Espada Golf Club in Cap Cana.
For those who can't make it to the U.S. Open, they can see a slice of Oakmont history at the World Golf Hall of Fame. On display in the weeks leading to the U.S. Open are the clubs and bag used by Johnny Miller in 1973 when he shot 63 in the final round, which many regard as the best round ever in the U.S. Open.
The display is in the museum's Locker Room Exhibit. It features his MacGregor Tourney Custom irons (2-10), along with a sand wedge, a Bulls-Eye Putter and MacGregor woods (1-3-4).
Miller was the first player to shoot 63 in the U.S. Open, and he remains the only player to shoot 63 in the final round of a major to win.
NCAA champion Stacy Lewis of Arkansas has been awarded the Dinah Shore Trophy, which recognizes a female college player who excels in golf and academics. Lewis has won three times this year while maintaining a 3.72 GPA. ... This from Kevin Kowalski, the vice president of brand management for Crowne Plaza, title sponsor of the Colonial: 'You look at that Wall of Champions, it is the Hall of Fame. It has every legend but one, and he should be embarrassed that he's not up there.' He presumably was talking about Tiger Woods, although it could have been Gary Player, who played the Colonial only six times during his career. ... Peter Lonard has played 17 out of 21 weeks on the PGA TOUR. Pebble Beach was the only tournament he missed when he was eligible to play.
Hale Irwin has not missed the cut in the 50 Champions Tour events he has played that have one.
'I'll have to play real quick, won't I?' -- Tiger Woods, when asked what he would do if he had a one-shot lead on the 18th hole and learned his wife was about to have their baby.
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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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.”