Notes Leftys Creative Memento Dean and Annika

By Associated PressAugust 15, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 PGA ChampionshipMEDINAH, Ill -- Phil Mickelson's imagination goes beyond the golf course.
Mickelson's victory last year at Baltusrol made him the host of the Tuesday night dinner for past PGA champions, and with that comes the responsibility of giving each champion a gift.

Rich Beem gave everyone Ostrich cowboy boots. Tiger Woods' gift was a personalized humidor one year, and a clock showing the time zones of all four majors in 2000. Shaun Micheel presented everyone with an electric guitar.
And Mickelson?
'It's tough to get winners of the PGA Championship a really nice gift on an $80 budget,' Mickelson joked.
His gift wasn't expensive, but it took plenty of work.
'We found some cool things,' he said. 'We went back and found all the past newspaper clippings from the day they were born, and all the newspaper clippings from the week of tournament they won.'
He and his wife, Amy, created leather-bound books to hold the clippings.
It was a similar to the book his wife made in 2004 when she collected newspaper clippings of his first Masters victory.
Dean Wilson figured he would forever be linked with Annika Sorenstam until he won a PGA TOUR event. Three years after he played with her at the Colonial, Wilson won the International.
He and Sorenstam have remained close friends and stay in touch.
Sorenstam and Tiger Woods often text message each other after winning majors as they keep score of who has the most. Woods now has 11 majors to Sorenstam's 10.
Wilson thought that was a good idea.
'I guess I should put 68-1,' he said, noting that Sorenstam has won 68 times on the LPGA Tour.
Then he came up with a better idea, realizing that the Swedish star has only played one time on the PGA TOUR, missing the cut.
'Maybe I'll make it 1-0,' Wilson said with a laugh.'
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have nothing on Jay and Jerry Haas.
One pairing in the PGA Championship excites golf fans. The other is even more exciting to the Haas family.
The two brothers tee off together Thursday in the final major of the season, the first time brothers have competed in the PGA Championship since Lanny and Bobby Wadkins in 1995 at Riviera.
'For me it's a thrill playing with my best friend and brother,' Jay Haas said.
Jay Haas is the better known of the two, playing in his 27th PGA Championship and coming in as the reigning PGA senior champion. Jerry Haas is nearly 10 years younger and bounced among various tours for years before becoming the golf coach at Wake Forest and earning a spot by finishing in the top 25 at the Club Pro Championship.
Jerry Haas said playing with his brother should help calm some nerves for him in the first two rounds at Medinah Country Club.
'I don't get to play very much. I'm a little bit out of my element maybe,' he said. 'I told somebody, now he can't tell me what to do for four and a half hours. That's against the rules.'
Jay Haas won nine times on the PGA Tour and has five wins on the Champions Tour, and at the age of 52 will be a long shot for his first major championship. Jerry Haas, whose biggest year included three wins on the Nationwide Tour in 1994, will face even longer odds.
That doesn't make it any less fun for the two, who also played together in the 1989 Hawaiian Open.
'He's my biggest fan,' Jay Haas said. 'And I'm his biggest fan.'
Ernie Els is back in the PGA Championship after missing last year because of a knee injury.
The knee seems healed, and Els' golf game is beginning to heal nicely, too.
Els is coming off a strong finish in the British Open, where he finished third, five strokes behind Tiger Woods. The South African said the finish gave him some confidence heading into the final major championship of the year.
'It was a good week,' Els said. 'You know, I took a lot of positives out of that one. Being in contention over the weekend was wonderful.'
Els has won two U.S. Opens and a British Open. Missing from his resume are both a green jacket, and the Wanamaker Cup that goes to this week's winner. He likes the way Medinah Country Club suits his game, however, and he likes the way his swing looks, too.
The only thing holding Els back may be his putter.
'I would say early in my career I probably made more putts than I do right now,' he said. 'I may be a more streaky putter. So yeah, that's that.'
Chris DiMarco has played the final round of a major with Tiger Woods (2005 Masters) and Phil Mickelson (2004 Masters). Asked the difference, he used an analogy for his beloved Florida Gators.
'Tiger has become like my Florida Gators. I think people either love them or they don't want them to win,' DiMarco said. 'I don't say that in a bad way, not because of him. It's just that he's so good that I think people are tired of seeing him win.'
That made partial sense, because Woods has won 11 majors.
The Gators have only one national title.
After his final practice round Tuesday, defending champion Phil Mickelson still wasn't sure whether he would use two drivers -- one built for a draw, the other for a fade -- like he did in winning the Masters.
'The difference is the temperature,' he said. 'If it's warm enough where I can hit 3-wood on some of the other par 4s, where I just want to get the ball in the fairway, then I will most likely just use one driver.'
Mickelson didn't have a 3-wood at Winged Foot, taking it out of the bag in favor of a 64-degree sand wedge to chip out of the rough.
The two-driver system was brought up on the first tee Tuesday morning as Mickelson waited to tee off.
He saw Brad Faxon and Brett Quigley both playing a Titleist driver that still had a green sticker at the base of the shaft.
'Do you have to return this to the pro shop after the round,' Mickelson said, a reference to clubs used as demos.
Faxon shook his head.
'This one is for the draw,' he said, tapping his driver. Then pointing at Quigley's driver, 'And this one is for the fade.'
The tee erupted in laughter as Faxon and Quigley hit their drives.
Tiger Woods and Ernie Els will compete on the Asian Tour in separate events in the next few months. Woods confirmed that he will play in the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai, where last year he was runner-up to David Howell. Els will be playing in the Singapore Open. ... Woods can make some more history at Medinah this week. No one has ever won the PGA Championship twice on the same golf course. Woods won by one shot over Sergio Garcia in 1999.
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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.”

    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

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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.”