Tiger Tops Cink in Firestone Playoff

By Associated PressAugust 27, 2006, 4:00 pm
WGC-Bridgestone - 125wAKRON, Ohio -- For three straight holes in a playoff, Tiger Woods could only stand to the side of the green and watch someone else control his fate Sunday at the Bridgestone Invitational.
 
Given a chance to win, he wasn't about to waste it.
 
Woods hit an 8-iron through a driving rain into 8 feet on the fourth extra hole, then made the birdie putt to outlast Stewart Cink at Firestone South for his fourth consecutive victory.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods has now won the WGC - Bridgestone Invitational a record five times.
It came on the 10th anniversary of his turning pro, and it gave Woods his 52nd career victory to match Byron Nelson for fifth all time.
 
'Just end this thing now,' Woods said he told himself on the birdie putt at No. 17. 'If I make mine, it's over.'

And it was, but not before a roller-coaster round that capped off a strange week.
 
Woods ended his round Friday by hitting a 9-iron over the green, onto the clubhouse roof and down the other side. He followed that by making four straight bogeys Saturday, his longest such streak in nearly 10 years.
 
Under darkening clouds in the final round, he went from a two-shot deficit to a three-shot lead in a span of four holes, then lost a three-shot lead over the final three holes to slip into a playoff.
 
'I was very lucky to even be in the playoff,' Woods said.
 
The result was familiar, especially at this event. Woods now has won five times at Firestone, the most of any golf course on the PGA Tour. He has won four times each at Augusta National and Torrey Pines.
 
His latest winning streak required more than a little luck. Woods has won his last four starts, his longest winning streak since he won six in a row at the end of the 1999 season and the beginning of 2000.
 
That was Woods at his peak, and he might be heading there again. He doesn't always win easily, but he finds a way.
 
'You don't know how many chances you're going to have to beat Tiger in a playoff in your career,' Cink said.
 
Cink, who missed an 8-foot par putt that would have won on the third playoff hole, hit into the bunker and blasted out to 6 feet on the 17th. Before he could save par, he wound up shaking hands with Woods and watching him collect another World Golf Championship.
 
'I didn't convert, and he did,' Cink said. 'That's why he has the trophy.'
 
And to think it was 10 years ago Sunday -- Aug. 27, 1996 -- that he introduced himself to the PGA Tour by saying, 'Hello, world.'
 
These days, he is saying 'goodbye' to the competition.
 
A week ago, he captured the PGA Championship for his 12th career major, trailing only the 18 won by Jack Nicklaus. He now has 52 victories, and only Arnold Palmer (62), Ben Hogan (64), Nicklaus (73) and Sam Snead (82) have more.
 
Even so, Woods said he is only worried about himself.
 
'It's always yourself,' he said. 'You're always trying to better what you've done in the past -- always. Hopefully, that's good enough to beat the rest of the guys.'
 
Cink was looking for a peculiar repeat.
 
Two years ago, he validated Hal Sutton's decision to make him a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup by winning at Firestone. Tom Lehman picked him on Monday, and Cink nearly delivered his first victory in two years.
 
'There were a lot of highs and lows today,' Cink said. 'Unfortunately, I finished on a low.'
 
Cink had a shot to win on the first three playoff holes -- a 20-foot chip that grazed the lip at No. 18, an 18-foot putt that missed on the high side at No. 17, and an 8-foot par putt on the 18th again that missed to the right.
 
Woods was in trouble most of the time. On the first extra hole, he pulled his approach long and left into the rough, but pitched beautifully to 5 feet and escaped with par. The second time playing the 18th in the playoff, Woods found a greenside bunker 40 feet from the flag, blasted out to 8 feet and left it inches short.
 
Victory seemed inevitable for Woods, as it often does at Firestone, when he turned a two-shot deficit at the turn into a three-shot lead with his 20-foot birdie on the 13th. No one else was making birdies, and Woods wasn't making mistakes.

That changed on the 652-yard 16th hole, when Woods hit into the trees down the right side and had to pitch out to the fairway, leaving himself some 230 yards to the flag. He went over the green, chipped to 4 feet and missed the par putt.
 
Cink, who started the final round with a one-shot lead, holed a 15-foot birdie on the 16th hole, then made a 20-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole to tie Woods atop the leaderboard.
 
Woods (68) and Cink (69) each had to make a testy 3-footer for par on the 18th hole in regulation -- Woods after leaving his 20-foot putt from the fringe short, Cink after lagging from 90 feet at the front of the green.
 
Jim Furyk closed with a 68 to finish one shot behind, making a 10-foot par save on the 18th to give himself a chance. Paul Casey of England, among four players atop the leaderboard at one point in the final round, stumbled on the back nine and shot 71. He tied for fourth along with Angel Cabrera (65), Lucas Glover (69) and Davis Love III (71).
 
Woods, Cink and Furyk headed to the Cleveland airport to join the rest of their U.S. Ryder Cup team for a charter flight to Ireland, where they plan to spend the next two days practicing at The K Club.
 
Woods and Phil Mickelson, the top two players in the world, rearranged their schedule to make the trip. Asked if that sent a strong message to their 10 teammates, captain Tom Lehman replied, 'It sends a strong message to the other team.'
 
When the Americans return on Wednesday, Woods will go for a fifth straight victory when he plays the Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston. He already has won six of his 13 starts on the PGA Tour this year.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - WGC - Bridgestone Invitational
  • Full Coverage - WGC - Bridgestone Invitational
  • 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.”