Notes Lukewarm Reaction Annikas Nice Gesture
Because there was difficulty comparing handicaps between genders and the length of courses they play, the R&A decreed that only women who finished among the top five in the LPGA majors would be eligible for the first stage of 18-hole qualifying. If they get through that, they can go to the 36-hole final stage.
The news didn't generate much of interest on the LPGA Tour.
Sophie Gustafson is the biggest hitter in women's golf. She played the Casio World Open in Japan two years ago and was leading after nine holes, but eventually missed the cut. Because of her power, the Swede would be among the few with a realistic chance at Open qualifying.
``The British would be fun to play, but the first stage would be too much hassle for me to do,'' Gustafson said in an e-mail interview. ``I have my own schedule I'm trying to manage, and going to England for 18 holes of golf to maybe get into the (final) qualifying wouldn't excite me very much.''
Michelle Wie's father said she might try it, but only if it fits into their schedule.
``If we're flying back from Asia or somewhere,'' B.J. Wie said.
Annika Sorenstam has shown no interest in competing on the men's tour since she played at Colonial two years ago. She also questioned the distances women would have to travel.
``Maybe somebody from Britain will go,'' Sorenstam said. ``They don't have to travel far.''
Gustafson said more women might be interested if it were 36 holes and played the week before the British Open. But even then, she said women would have to be motivated to tee it up against the men.
``I guess what it boils down to is that the women who are eligible to actually qualify have their own agenda, and trying to get to the 36-hole qualifying probably isn't very high on their list,'' she said. ``I think if you are Michelle Wie and can go and play wherever you like and don't have to worry about the money list ... it would be a fun thing to do.
``I just don't have a week to spare just to try to get into the 36-hole qualifying.''
Nick Price watched the Presidents Cup and called it ``great theater.'' The only thing he regrets is International captain Gary Player telling reporters that Price didn't want to be his assistant.
``It was such a letdown not making the team that he'd like to be excused,'' Player said the day after his team was selected.
Rubbish, Price replied.
``He had four months to come to me and say, 'Nick, if you don't make the team, will you be my assistant?' `` Price said last week at Disney. ``Then I'm on holiday, and he tried to phone me the Sunday night before they announced the team. You wouldn't do that, would you?''
Price, who didn't play for two months after the British while spending time with his family, had already added the Texas Open to his schedule when Player called his managers.
``I read in a golf magazine that I snubbed the vice captaincy. Snubbed! My God, man, I wouldn't snub that,'' Price said. ``He made it out that he already asked me and I didn't want to do it.''
A TOUCH OF CLASS
Annika Sorenstam won the Samsung World Championship by eight shots, but Michelle Wie still got all the headlines over the way she was disqualified in her professional debut.
Some top players might have been offended by being ignored after such a great performance. But Sorenstam showed again why she's in a league of her own.
According to a Callaway Golf official, Sorenstam sent the 16-year-old player from Hawaii an e-mail the next day that essentially said she was sorry Wie was disqualified, that she got a raw deal that she should be proud of how she played.
The European tour Order of Merit is now a two-man battle between Colin Montgomerie and Michael Campbell, to be settled this week at the season-ending Volvo Masters in Spain.
Montgomerie will try for an eighth money title, and leads the U.S. Open champion by about $183,000. That means Campbell has to finish at least fifth to have any chance of winning.
Retief Goosen, meanwhile, took himself out of the race when he didn't play for three weeks while spending time with his family and resting a sore groin.
Goosen missed the American Express Championship, a $7.5 million event that would have at least kept him in contention for a third Order of Merit. By not playing -- Monty earned $353,666 with a tie for third at Harding Park -- Goosen now is nearly $400,000 behind and will play on the PGA Tour this week.
``It was a big event to miss. It probably cost me the Order of Merit,'' Goosen said. ``But you've got to spend some time with your family. I haven't seen them much over the last three months. I needed to have a break with the kids.''
Goosen plans to spend three months in South Africa after the season, and won't return to the United States until the Accenture Match Play Championship at La Costa the last week in February.
That means missing the Mercedes Championships at Kapalua, a tough decision for a guy who once said there was no better way to start the season than holding a drink with a flower in it.
``But with kids, it's 35 hours traveling from South Africa to get there, and that's not what we wanted,'' he said.
Harrison Frazar considered taking a drop from right of the 14th fairway in the final round at Disney because his stance barely put him on the cart path. But uncertain his foot was on cement, he called over to his playing partner, Justin Rose, to make sure. Frazar opted against the drop, and after hitting a good layup on the par-5 hole, spotted a reporter and said with a laugh, ``I wanted to make sure because I didn't want the media to report it.'' He was alluding to a Sports Illustrated writer waiting one day to report an infraction against Michelle Wie, leading to her disqualification at Bighorn. ... Tom Pernice took only 95 putts in the Funai Classic at Disney, but he took 17 of those over the final nine holes. ... Tiger Woods' wife was not at either tournament this year when he missed the cut.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Fourteen of the 32 players who won PGA Tour events last year are outside the top 50 on this year's money list.
``My blackjack playing has been bad. I figure by not playing there, I probably saved myself $50,000.'' -- Mark Calcavecchia, who skipped the PGA Tour event in Las Vegas for the first time in 10 years.
Junior golfer's amazing run: ace, albatross, birdie
While most of the golf world had its attention focused on Scotland and The Open Championship at Carnoustie on Thursday, the REALLY remarkable performance of the day was taking place in Halifax, Mass.
There, in an American Junior Golf Association tournament, a 16-year-old Thai player made a hole-in-one and an albatross on consecutive holes.
According to the AJGA, Conor Kelly holed a 5-iron shot on the 198-yard, par-3 eighth hole. It was his first hole-in-one. He then holed a 4-iron second shot from 220 yards on the 480-yard ninth holer for the albatross. (We're gonna go out on a limb and say it was his first albatross.)
Certainly a nice way to make the turn - but Kelly wasn't finished. He birdied the par-4 10th for a 1-2-3 sequence on his scorecard. For the day, he shot a 5-under 67 in the AJGA Junior Golf Hub Championship at the Country Club of Halifax.
McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1
They're both three shots off the lead, but after starting The Open with rounds in the 60s Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are now betting co-favorites to lift the claret jug at Carnoustie.
McIlroy is four years removed from his Open triumph at Royal Liverpool, while Rahm remains in search of his first major title. Both carded rounds of 2-under 69 in Scotland to sit three shots off the lead of Kevin Kisner. While McIlroy started the tournament at 16/1 and Rahm at 20/1, they're now dead even at 10/1 in updated odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.
Kisner started the week at 200/1, but after an opening-round 66 he's quickly been trimmed to 25/1. Tony Finau sits one shot behind Kisner and is now listed behind only McIlroy and Rahm at 12/1 after starting the tournament at 60/1.
On the other side of the coin, consensus pre-tournament betting favorite Dustin Johnson fell from 12/1 to 100/1 following an opening 76 while Masters champ Patrick Reed shot a 4-over 75 to plummet from 30/1 to 200/1. Trailing by five shots following an opening-round 71, Tiger Woods' odds remained unchanged at 25/1 as he seeks a 15th career major title.
Here's a look at the revised betting odds heading into the second round at Carnoustie:
10/1: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm
12/1: Tony Finau
14/1: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler
20/1: Francesco Molinari
25/1: Tiger Woods, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner
30/1: Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka
40/1: Ryan Moore, Jason Day
50/1: Erik Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Matt Kuchar
60/1: Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen, Russell Henley, Matthew Southgate
80/1: Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Kevin Na
100/1: Dustin Johnson, Zander Lombard, Sung Kang, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Chris Wood, Pat Perez, Luke List, Charley Hoffman
Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience
Two bad holes derailed Brittany Lincicome in her historic start Thursday at the Barbasol Championship, but they couldn’t wipe the smile off her face afterward.
It might have been the most fun she ever had shooting a 78.
Lincicome joined Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie as the only women to tee it up in a PGA Tour event when she striped her opening tee shot down the middle Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.
A double bogey at her ninth hole and a triple at her 16th might have spoiled her chances at joining Zaharias as the only women to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event, but it didn’t spoil her experience.
“I did what I wanted to do, with having fun,” Lincicome said. “I think I nailed that part pretty well.
“I love playing with the guys. It's so much fun, being inside the ropes with them. Hopefully, I can get a good one tomorrow.”
Lincicome, 32, held her own for 16 holes, playing them in 1 over par, but those two big numbers left her tied for last place when she signed her scorecard, though other players remained on the course.
At 6 over, Lincicome is 13 shots behind the leader, probably seven or eight shots off the projected cut line, but she savored the experience. She arrived wanting to inspire young girls to dream big, and to bring some extra attention to a title sponsor who means so much to her. She represents Pure Silk, part of the Barbasol family.
Sam Ryder, who joined Conrad Shindler playing alongside Lincicome, was impressed with the way Lincicome carried herself.
“I would play with her every day if she wanted to,” said Ryder, who opened with a 68. “She's just a great person.
“Even though I know she's probably a little disappointed with her final score, she had a smile on her face all day.”
Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, made her first birdie at her 12th hole, dropping a 30-foot putt, but she wasn’t happy with her putter much of the day. She missed three other good birdie chances, a 4-footer at her eighth hole, an 8-footer at her 10th and a 12-footer at the last.
“Pretty happy with my game overall,” Lincicome said. “I had two bad holes, but I drove it well. I did all the things I said I needed to do, but my putter let me down today.”
After piping her first drive, Lincicome opened with three consecutive pars.
“I was actually calmer than I thought I was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. After the first tee shot, I was pretty happy that I found the fairway.”
Lincicome said Ryder and Shindler made her feel welcome. So did the crowds.
“It was great,” she said. “I could feel the energy of the crowd support me. Every time I hit a good driver or good shot, they would cheer for me, which was great.
“Conrad and Sam were so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better pairing. They were very welcoming, and we were interacting, they were asking me questions, and it was great.”
On Tuesday, Lincicome said a key to her play would be hitting fairways. She did that, hitting 10 of 14, but she was taking in longer clubs than she does in LPGA events, with Keene Trace set up at 7,168 yards. That’s 600 yards longer than she played last week at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic, where she finished second. She hit just 8 greens in regulation in this PGA Tour start.
Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.” She is one of the LPGA’s longest drivers, but she was typically 30 to 40 yards behind Ryder and Shindler after hitting her driver. She averaged 259 yards per drive, Ryder 289 yards.
“She had a couple birdie putts that she could have made,” Ryder said. “If she made a couple of those, might've been a little bit different, just to get a little bit of momentum. Who knows?”
Lincicome’s biggest challenges were the par 3s.
At the 18th, playing 195 yards, she mis-hit her tee shot, knocking it in the water, short of the green. She took a penalty, moved up to a forward tee, dropped and hit into a right greenside bunker. She got up and down from there for a 5.
At the seventh, playing 198 yards, she missed wild right and deep. From a tough spot in the rough, she left her pitch short of the green. She chipped her third past the hole and to the fringe, where she took three putts from 20 feet.
Afterward, Lincicome wasn’t dwelling on the bad shots. She was focused on going to sign autographs for all the fans waiting for her, including all the little girls who came out to see her.
“I need to go back over there and sign,” she said. “Any time I can influence a child, especially a girl, obviously I want to get them involved with the LPGA, as much as possible.”
Her overall assessment of her day?
“It was a great experience,” she said.
Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage
NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:
Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)
Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.
1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.