Listening Carefully Tuesday in Tulsa

By Brian HewittAugust 7, 2007, 4:00 pm
PGA ChampionshipIts Tuesday at the PGA Championship. Its the seasons final major. The year has been a grind with course set-ups, across the board on the PGA TOUR, more difficult than ever.
Its Tulsa. Its blazing hot and predicted to remain that way through Sunday. The FedExCup playoffs are looming. And after that there will be a Presidents Cup.
So you write off some of the remarks made the worlds top players to fatigue. But not all of them. There was plenty of talking by plenty of big guns. And in several instances you needed a between-the-lines interpreter to separate the verbal wheat from the verbal chaff.
Like when somebody asked Tiger Woods, the defending champion, if he thought he was bigger, on the world stage, than English soccer superstar star David Beckham.
As far as global figures, hes probably far more global than I am, Woods said.
As to the FedExCup playoffs, Woods reiterated that he intends to play all four events. But, he added on that subject, well see how it all pans out.
Hmmm, a lot of people were thinking.
Was that Woods leaving an opening to take one of the playoff weeks off? Or was that media reading too much into too little.
Then there was the minor fuss over CBS announcer Jim Nantz being quoted as saying that Woods has a four-shot lead over the field before the Thursday start.
Tiger, what was up with that?
I think we are all at even par right now, Woods said smartly.
Maybe the most interesting thing Woods said had to do with the conditions. The ball, Tiger said, goes farther in the heat. How far? Bubba hit 6-iron off of 10 and I hit 5-iron, Woods said, referring to his practice round with long-hitting Bubba Watson.
How far?
Both of those shots went about 230 and 240, Tiger said.
Double Hmmmm.
Scott Verplank, who played his college golf at nearby Oklahoma State, said, Im hoping Tiger still doesnt like the course.
Hmmm, again. We must assume Verplank was referring to Woods failure to challenge on Sunday when they played the U.S. Open here at Southern Hills in 2001.
For his part, Verplank tied for 22nd at that 2001 U.S. Open. But I know it well enough where I can kind of see the shots that you need to hit to play around here, he said. If I play my game at an upper level, then I feel like I have a chance. Now I guess if I play at my upper level and Tiger plays at his upper level, I dont know if Ill have a chance. But I might.
Hmmmmm III.
Freshly-minted British Open champion Padraig Harrington confirmed in the press room that he has had to purchase 1,000 flags from the 18th green at Carnoustie because of all the requests from friends and charitable causes.
Informed of this, Angel Cabrera, who won the U.S. Open in June, said, I havent bought not even one.
Cabrera paused until the laughter died down before admitting his sponsors at PING had purchased 75 flags from the 18th at Oakmont where he so bravely held off Woods late Sunday.
Phil Mickelson always serves up food for thought in the press room early in the week before majors. Tuesday was a virtual banquet.
Much of Mickelsons year has been spoiled by a wrist injury sustained in the days leading up to Oakmont. Now, Mickelson said, the wrist is much better and he has been practicing much more. Im hoping that given a different practice regime and being able to work on my game, Im hoping to have a much better performance, he said.
Fair enough. Mickelson did, after all, win this championship two years ago at Baltusrol. Now if somebody would just tell him that he should have said regimen when he said regime.
Mickelson on putting is always worth a listen, and Tuesday was no exception. To wit:
Have I messed around with a belly putter? he said. I have. For a day or two I had one made up to try it. I think it certainly can be a benefit as far as getting the ball started on line and having your stroke be good. But theres so much more to making putts than just having a perfect stroke. Because you have to line your putter face properly. That plays a much bigger factor into getting a ball started on line than your stroke does; how you aim it; then you have to read the green right and hit the right speed. So although I think it can help you with your stroke, it doesnt necessarily equate to making more putts.
Finally there was this in the local paper, the Tulsa World, on the subject of the heat: If you see a light'a light brighter than the sun in August'at the end of a tunnel and hear a voice call your name, its too late.
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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.”