Notes Scott Longer Than Lefty as a Lefty
And dont forget Bay Hill, where Woods made a 25-foot putt on the final hole that his caddie said had a 1-in-15 chance of going in.
Even greatness in golf requires good fortune, and Woods had plenty during his latest winning streak.
That ran out at Doral, and so did a streak that began in September. Woods didnt make anything on Saturday, when he fell five shots behind Geoff Ogilvy, and he didnt make enough on Sunday and Monday, finishing two shots behind.
People dont really understand you need to have something happen, a positive thing happen to you out there in order to win tournaments, Woods said. I heard Geoff bladed one in the hole for par. Thats what you need to have happen. Those are the things that have happened to me, and things werent going that way this week.
Even with the streak over, it is no less amazing how much Woods wins relative to his peers.
Among active players, Woods, Vijay Singh and David Duval are the only ones to have strung together at least three straight victories.
Duval closed out his 1997 season with three straight wins. Singh won three straight during his nine-win season in 2004. Woods has done it five times'two streaks ended at three wins, one at five, one at six, one at seven.
It was going to end at some point, Ogilvy said after stopping the latest PGA TOUR streak at five.
Ogilvys only frustration was players being labeled as failures at the expense of Woods winning so much.
Its fun to watch the streak and its fun to watch the fans get so excited about stuff, Ogilvy said. The frustrating thing is that people think that were not trying and were flying the white flag. I dont think thats true in any case, really.
There have been seven winning streaks of at least three PGA TOUR events since 1997. Name the only player who has ended those streaks more than once. Answer below.
Adam Scott impressed many observers by playing a shot left-handed out of the bushes at Doral on the 17th hole of the second round. He isnt the only player to attempt a shot from the other side, but this was a full swing, and a beautiful one. Scott took the inverted club all the way back to parallel, and advanced it some 50 yards.
Apparently, hes quite good with a driver, too.
Swing coach Butch Harmon tells the story of Scott playing a practice round with Phil Mickelson at East Lake, asking to try Leftys driver on the 14th. He striped it, leaving him only 20 or so yards behind Mickelson.
Harmon was out in the fairway, and kicked Scotts ball forward so that it was nearly 10 yards ahead of Mickelson.
Suffice to say, Mickelson was surprised that Scott put it past him.
Even better, Harmon waited about four months before he told Mickelson what had happened. No doubt, Lefty was relieved.
Jim Furyk already has played eight times, and he now embarks on the busiest time of his year. Furyk said he will have no more than one week off at a time through the end of the TOUR Championship the last weekend in September, which has made him determined to cut back.
The issue we have now is theres a lot of good events, and when theyre crammed together, Ive really struggled making my schedule, Furyk said. It used to be easy. All those events in the fall, I only played one on the schedule (Las Vegas). Those other events were sprinkled in, and those were my weeks off. From now, I dont have a two-week break in the schedule unless I get hurt.
He is playing New Orleans because he does not want a two-week break before the Masters. His favorite tracks are Hilton Head, Colonial, Memorial and the Buick Open, and there are cant-miss events like Wachovia, The Players Championship and AT&T National.
The British Open is the first of four straight weeks because he is the defending champion at the Canadian Open.
Ive got to cut somewhere, but I dont know where, Furyk said. Im playing a lot at events that I think are OK for my game, but Im trying to not be worn out for the events I really love in summer. Next year, Ill do a better job. It should have taken me six months to figure it out, and its taken my two years.
Fred Couples and Greg Norman will square off long before the Presidents Cup next year. Both have agreed to play June 16-17 in the Telus World Skins Game, to be held at Predator Ridge Golf Resort in western Canada.
Theyve always had tremendous fields for this event, and Im looking forward to going up against the other players, including Greg, Couples said. The event will be held the Monday and Tuesday after the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.
Couples has played the Canadian skins event eight times and earned $1.11 million, more than anyone. Norman won in 1997 by capturing 13 skins worth $275,000.
Other players are still to be announced, although defending champion John Daly will not be playing.
He ended Woods six-tournament streak in 2000 at the Buick Invitational, and Duvals three-tournament streak at the Mercedes Championships in 1998 when it was played at La Costa.
The other players who won tournaments to end Woods winning streaks were Duffy Waldorf (00 Disney), Robert Damron (01 Byron Nelson), Henrik Stenson (07 Match Play) and Geoff Ogilvy at Doral.
Ryan Palmer ended Singhs streak in 2004 when he won at Disney.
STAT OF THE WEEK:
Tiger Woods has nine consecutive top-five finishes on the PGA TOUR, the longest streak of his career.
Some people walk away thinking, Geez, that course must be great because the pros cant make any birdies on it. Other people walk away saying, Well, that course must be boring to play because the pros cant make any birdies on it. Everyone seems to be pretty split on the idea whether hard is good.'Geoff Ogilvy.
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Lincicome grouped with two rookies in Barbasol
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.
Lincicome thrilled by reception from male pros
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.”
Stunner: Inbee Park steps aside for Int. Crown
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.
Na: I can admit, 'I went through the yips'
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.”
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.”