Notes No Help for Wie British Washout

By Associated PressJune 28, 2006, 4:00 pm
NEWPORT, R.I. -- Juli Inkster took only 105 putts when she won the U.S. Women's Open four years ago at Prairie Dunes, and caddie Greg Johnston played a big role in helping Inkster read some of the subtle breaks in the greens.
Now that he's on the bag with Michelle Wie, however, Johnston has gone mute.
That's by design.
Wie is trying to develop independence as a golfer by reading greens by herself, and some believe it has cost the 16-year-old from Hawaii in her last few tournaments. She missed six birdie putts inside 12 feet in her morning round of U.S. Open qualifying, and she took 12 more putts than LPGA Championship winner Se Ri Pak at Bulle Rock.
'The old saying is you learn from your mistakes,' said B.J. Wie, her father. 'On the LPGA Tour, I think some players are overly dependent on their caddies.'
But their were two contrasting images from Bulle Rock.
On the par-5 eighth green, Wie paced off a 45-foot chip from the first cut that went over a ridge, studying the break the last 12 feet to the hole as Johnston stood on the far side of the green, keeping to himself. Earlier that day, Karrie Webb -- one of the best putters on the LPGA Tour -- crouched over a 10-foot par putt when she called over caddie Mike Paterson for a second opinion.
Is it hurting Wie to not taking any advice from her caddie, especially one of Johnston's caliber?
But the teenager isn't about to change now. She feels she will be a better putter in the long run if she learns to read greens by herself, and Wie has shown she is under no pressure to win immediately. This remains a work in progress.
'I feel like I can trust myself better,' Wie said Tuesday. 'Obviously, if there's a really tricky putt, then I'm going to ask Greg to read it with me. But if I feel confident the way I'm putting, then I should just go with how I feel.'
Even so, there are many examples of players relying on their caddies for a second set of eyes. One of the biggest putts Tiger Woods made in a major came on the 17th hole at Medinah seven years ago in the PGA Championship. Uncertain of the break, caddie Steve Williams gave him the line and Woods holed the par putt, winning by one shot.
'I'm not going to make every single putt, and I'm never going to be really happy with how I putt,' Wie said. 'But I think that every putt I hit, miss or make, is just going to make me a better putter.'
The British Open qualifier scheduled at Congressional was washed out Tuesday, and no one was more disturbed than Brad Faxon.
Heavy rain left the course unplayable, and officials awarded the 12 spots from the world ranking. Faxon missed by four spots in the ranking, and now has to play well this week in Hartford, where he is the defending champion, to have any chance of going to Royal Liverpool for the British Open.
Faxon thinks so highly of golf's oldest championship that he flew over to Scotland for local qualifying last year and earned one of the three spots. He received warm applause at every turn at St. Andrews for his willingness to fly across the Atlantic to qualify.
'Going there was the highlight of my year,' Faxon said.
It was a sad coincidence that Faxon was on the PGA Tour policy board when it approved a British Open qualifier that was held in the United States for convenience. He was the only player who voted against the plan, believing that Americans -- or anyone else, for that matter -- should be willing to travel to Britain if they want to play in the Open.
'I just feel like the British Open is so much different from playing golf anywhere here in America,' he said. 'We should have to do it over there.'
Then there's the date change.
The Royal & Ancient moved up one week local qualifying. Instead of playing the weekend before the Open, local qualifying now is July 10-11, meaning a player would have to stick around Liverpool for a week before the major. That eats up three weeks of PGA Tour time.
'To do that would mean missing the Western Open and the John Deere Classic, and it's still no bargain -- three spots,' Faxon said. 'It's not like there's eight or six spots. That was really disappointing.'
He's angry at himself for not playing better to be exempt into the British Open. And he was angry about the rain.
Making matters worse -- although this would not have helped him -- the U.S. qualifier was supposed to have 15 spots available. But when a number of players withdrew, the R&A took away three spots and gave them to the European qualifier.
'I didn't need to know that,' Faxon said. 'I was mad enough as it was.'
All is not lost. Faxon still can qualify for the British Open if he is the leading player not already eligible who finishes in the top 10 at the Buick Championship. Otherwise, he could be headed for the B.C. Open instead of the British Open.
Hawaii's flag will be flying proudly at Newport Country Club.
Along with Michelle Wie, the most famous golfer from the islands, Hawaii has three other players at the U.S. Women's Open. Stephanie Kono, Kimberly Kim and Ayaka Kaneko each made it through sectional qualifying, giving Hawaii its own foursome at Newport.
Wie played with Kim's sister in junior events in Hawaii, and she played with Kim during a practice round Tuesday.
'I was really surprised when I played with her today,' Wie said. 'It was nice seeing someone from back home.'
The British Open remains the only major where juniors can get in free when accompanied by an adult, and it likely will stay that way.
'We have a great limitation on the number of tickets we can sell,' USGA executive director David Fay said when asked if the U.S. Open would ever allow teenagers in for free. 'You and I can walk up off the street to the British Open. We can't do that in the United States. We don't have the room.'
The U.S. Open has been a sellout since 1998.
But it's a different story at the U.S. Women's Open. Those under the age 17 will get free admission when accompanied by an adult who has a ticket.
The Zurich Classic of New Orleans will be moving back to the TPC Louisiana next year. The TPC course was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina and sustained so much tree damage that it has been closed since the storm. Chris Couch won the Zurich Classic at English Turn in April. The TPC Louisiana is to open to the public on July 15. ... Annika Sorenstam will play in the Middle East for the first time when she competes in the inaugural Dubai Ladies Masters, to be held Oct. 26-29. That's the same week as the CJ Nine Bridges Classic in South Korea, an official LPGA Tour event.
Steve Stricker earned $989,136 in his last three years combined on the PGA Tour. In eight tournaments this year, he has earned $1,065,119.
'I thought I was watching me.' -- Michelle Wie, on Phil Mickelson making double bogey on the 18th hole at Winged Foot to lose the U.S. Open.
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  • American Junior Golf Association

    Junior golfer's amazing run: ace, albatross, birdie

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 11:03 pm

    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.

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    McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1

    By Will GrayJuly 19, 2018, 10:10 pm

    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

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    Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience

    By Randall MellJuly 19, 2018, 9:41 pm

    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.

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    Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

    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.