US Falls Behind after Morning Session

By Associated PressSeptember 22, 2006, 4:00 pm
36th Ryder Cup MatchesSTRAFFAN, Ireland -- Tiger Woods got the Ryder Cup victory he badly needed Friday, then Darren Clarke trumped it with a win that helped his aching heart as much as his European team.
 
Woods and Jim Furyk teamed up for a 1-up victory over Colin Montgomerie for the United States' only win of the morning better-ball session.
 
Tom Lehman and Ian Woosnam
Captains Tom Lehman and Ian Woosnam shake hands at the 1st tee during Fridays fourballs.
About an hour later, Clarke hit the putt that secured a 1-up victory for the Europeans. It gave them a 2 1/2 -1 1/2 lead and marked the end of an emotional morning that began and ended with tears and cheers, as Clarke took to the course five weeks after his wife, Heather, died of breast cancer.
 
Asked to recount the reception he got as he walked to the sunsplashed first tee -- the standing ovation, the hugs from his own partner, Lee Westwood, as well as opponents Phil Mickelson and Chris DiMarco, Clarke said he'd better not.
 
'I'd probably wail,' he said. 'It will stay with me forever. It was amazing. Hugs from Phil and Chris, my partner, the reception I got. I'll never forget that.'
 
He knew the first shot was going to be a tough one, but he nailed it -- 305 yards down the fairway en route to a birdie and a 1-up lead.
 
The rest of the match was tight, but the Europeans never trailed. When Clarke knocked his eagle putt close to the hole on No. 18, the Americans conceded, and Clarke teared up. Some questioned captain Ian Woosnam's choice to put Clarke and Westwood on the team -- the two captain's picks. Nobody questioned it after this.
 
'It's his commitment,' Woosnam said of Clarke. 'He's just ready to play every single day.'
 
That win gave Europe the lead after the first session for the fourth straight Ryder Cup. The Europeans are trying to win for the fourth time in the last five tries.
 
Europe's other morning victory came from the latest edition of the 'Spanish Armada' -- Sergio Garcia and Jose Maria Olazabal -- who had no trouble beating David Toms and Ryder Cup rookie Brett Wetterich, 3 and 2.
 
Stewart Cink and J.J. Henry halved their match against Robert Karlsson and Paul Casey.
 
The United States' only victory belonged to Furyk and Woods. The world's best player earned an opening-day point for the first time since 1999, despite a slow start that included a hooked tee shot into the water on No. 1.
 
'I was struggling,' Woods said. 'I didn't warm up particularly well. Starting off on the first hole, I snapped one in the water. It was nice to have a steady partner like Jim. He was in just about every hole.'
 
Indeed, Ryder Cup victories are often the result having the right partners, and Woods had a good one in Furyk. The former U.S. Open champion birdied the opening hole after Woods was in the drink, then made a 25-footer at No. 9 to give the Americans the lead for good.
 
Montgomerie long has been Europe's ringleader, and the Europeans thought if he and Padraig Harrington could knock off Woods, as they did when Woods paired with Mickelson in 2004, the momentum could build to another victory.
 
It wasn't to be, even though the Europeans shaved the Americans' 3-up lead to 1-up after 16 holes. Montgomerie made a nice run at a 40-foot birdie putt in an attempt to tie the match on 18, but it scooted past.
 
'We had opportunities and just didn't take them,' said Montgomerie, who fell to 19-9-5 lifetime in Ryder Cup matches.
 
Woods improved to 8-11-2 and then headed out for the afternoon alternate-shot match, where he and Furyk took on Garcia and Luke Donald. This one started poorly, too, when Furyk's tee shot stymied Woods against a tree and Woods had to chop a left-handed shot back into play. The Americans lost that hole.
 
In the Garcia-Olazabal better-ball match, Wetterich and Toms both went in the water on the 13th and made bogey, giving Europeans a 2-up lead, and Garcia increased it to 3 up with a 12-foot birdie on the 15th.
 
'Today there was one secret, and that was Sergio,' Olazabal said. 'It was just wonderful to see him play. He was just awesome.'
 
Woods wasn't quite awesome but still figured out a way to win, which certainly brought a sigh of relief from the American contingent. In 2004, he paired with Mickelson and lost twice on the first day, a harbinger in Europe's 18 1/2 -9 1/2 romp at Oakland Hills.
 
'We wanted to put up some red numbers,' Furyk said. 'We know that when you get behind in this tournament, it's tough to come back.'
 
The rest of the afternoon matches shaped up like this: Chad Campbell and Zach Johnson, both on the bench for the Americans in the morning, against the all-Irish team of Harrington and Paul McGinley; Cink and Toms against David Howell and Henrik Stenson, two Europeans ranked in the top 12 who were both left out of the lineup in the morning; and the Mickelson-DiMarco pair against Westwood and Montgomerie.
 
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    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.

     

     

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    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.”

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    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.

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    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.”


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    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.”