Perry beats another obstacle in Ryder Cup quest

By Associated PressSeptember 19, 2008, 4:00 pm
Ryder CupLOUISVILLE, Ky. ' Kenny Perry wanted the TV tower moved.
 
Now.
 
He was standing in ankle-deep hay right of the 17th fairway in Friday mornings Ryder Cup, having already moved golfs version of heaven and earth just to get this far. There was no chance Perry was going to let another obstacle ' no matter how big or clunky ' get in his way.
 
Move it! Perry barked. A moment later, as a TV crew scrambled to lower the crane and rev up the truck it was mounted on, he turned to the gallery behind the rope to his right. He waved his arm farther back in the same direction, and lowered his voice.
 
Kenny Perry
Kenny Perry couldn't finish off his morning match in foursomes. (Getty Images)
Yall gonna have to move, too, he said softly. Everyone. Every one of you has to move.
 
This being Kentucky, and Perry being from Franklin, two hours south down Interstate 65, the fans couldnt comply fast enough. Maybe because so many of them knew about his piece of unfinished business here at Valhalla.
 
I was nervous out there, Perry said an hour later, after he and U.S. teammate Jim Furyk hung on to halve their alternate-shot match against Europes marquee duo of Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood.
 
I never felt that way in my whole life. I had all the crowd chanting my name, it was phenomenal. Im guessing the Euros are kind of getting tired of hearing it, he added. But it was great.
 
In January, Perry was so far down in the world rankings that his chances of qualifying for the Ryder Cup team were as likely as the Cubs making the World Series.
 
His odds of being a wild-card pick were longer still. U.S. captain Paul Azinger said he wanted tournament winners, and Perry was already 47, a second-tier player whose best shot to step up in class and win a major went awry at the PGA Championship on this very same course a dozen years ago.
 
But then he went to work.
 
As a youngster at the Franklin Country Club, Perry gained a measure of respect not just by winning the second flight of the club championship at 12, but because hed practice until his hands were blistered, then cover them with tape and hit more balls. His father, Ken, was club president and a scratch player besides, and he wasnt going to cede the No. 1 ranking in the family without a fight. After repeatedly coming close, Kenny finally broke through.
 
He was 14 or 15, the 84-year-old Ken said recently. He didnt provide specifics, simply remembering that soon after, Kenny started shooting subpar numbers all the time. Perry played his first tour event in 1984, won for the first time in 1991 and soon after settled comfortably in the middle of the PGA pack.
 
Then, in October 1998, while he was in the middle of a winless drought that would stretch on five years, Valhalla was named as the site of this years matches.
 
He told me that he was going to play for the Ryder Cup in his home state, Ken recalled in an interview two weeks ago.
 
Good as his word, Kenny stormed out of the gate at the start of the 2008 season, won three times and locked up a spot on the team.
 
Its unbelievable, Ken added, how many people were pulling for him.
 
Some of those same people were holding their breath Friday afternoon as Perry prepared to try and free his ball from the jail of rough on 17. He and Furyk were decided underdogs to Garcia-Westwood in the final morning match, but they climbed back from 1-down through five holes to 2-up after 15 by not making a single bogey.
 
Then the U.S. duo made its first bogey at No. 16 with a chance to close out the match. And Furyks tee shot at the 17th was so wide of the fairway that even with the TV tower no longer obstructing his line, Perry would need a little more magic just to have a chance of saving par. He pulled out a short iron, hacked through the hay and executed a nifty little escape. But after Furyk hit their third shot to nine feet, Perry missed a par putt that would have closed out the Europeans a second time. Teeing off at the 18th with a 1-up lead and Garcias drive in the fairway, Perry picked out a line over a creek on the right and tried to hit his trademark draw.
 
In 1996, hed aimed for the right side of the fairway, overcooked it, and the right-to-left trajectory carried his tee shot into the left rough. From there, he made bogey and lost the PGA Championship to Mark Brooks in a playoff.
 
This time, Perrys tee shot went dead straight and into the creek. He and Furyk cobbled together a bogey 6, while Westwood and Garcia went birdie to halve the match.
 
Afterward, behind the 18th green, the Europeans sounded like theyd won.
 
Any time you get out of here like that, Westwood said smiling, its massive. We would have taken this, happily, standing on the 17th tee.
 
A few feet away, Perry wore a blank expression. The effort and his emotions had taken their toll. His kids and a convoy of pals from Franklin were nearby, and his father waited in a golf cart. Perry didnt accomplish what hed set out to do, but there were still two days to go and the consolation of ending Garcias 8-0 mark in foursomes.
 
They didnt beat us. We didnt lose. And, Perry said, brightening, we finally put a blemish on Sergios record.
 
Not such a bad day, after all.
 
Related Links:
  • U.S. Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • European Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • Full Coverage - 37th Ryder Cup
  • Getty Images

    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.

     

     

    Getty Images

    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.”

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    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.”