Pine Needles Returns to Ross Glory

By Brian HewittJune 21, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 U.S. OpenWhile the realization that Angel Cabrera has won Americas national championship takes time to sink in, the USGAs focus shifts to Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club where the U.S. Womens Open will be played next week.
 
USGA agronomist Tim Moraghan, course set-up guy Mike Davis and designer Rees Jones are on site at Torrey Pines South this week conducting a site inspection in advance of next years U.S. Open. After that, Davis and Moraghan will head to Pine Needles.
 
Annika Sorenstam is the defending champion of the event and she won the Womens Open in 1996 when it was first played at Pine Needles. Karrie Webb won the Womens Open at Pine Needles in 2001 and will also be among the favorites.
 
Davis said one of the big stories there next week will be the re-design at Pine Needles engineered by former U.S. Amateur champion John Fought.
 
Fought lengthened the course and attempted to restore many of the features built in by original designer Donald Ross. This year the women will play Pine Needles at 6,600 yards to a par of 71. When Webb won, it played at 6,200 to a par of 70.
 
The biggest change is the return of the 15th hole to a par-5. The golf course will more closely resemble Pinehurst No. 2 with the closely mown areas surrounding the greens, Davis said.
 
The grasses will also be different. Both previous Womens Opens there were played on overseeded ryegrass in May. This year the late June dates dictate a return to Bermudagrass. Even though it might not look as pretty on TV, Davis said. It will play much better.
 
HOW FAST?
PGA TOUR rookie Anthony Kim, whose 67 was the low round Sunday at Oakmont, has played at Torrey Pines South enough to know the green speeds there wont be anything close to what they were at Oakmont last week.
 
If Oakmonts green speeds were a 10 on a one to 10 scale, Kim was asked, how fast can they get them, on that same scale, at Torrey Pines South? No more than six or seven, he said.
 
Kim grew up in Southern California and has played Torrey Pines South on numerous occasions.
 
UNDERSTAND WHY:
Northern Irelands Darren Clarke, returns to the PGA TOUR this week in Hartford after not having played in the States since THE PLAYERS.
 
He has been struggling mightily on and off the golf course. Hes sad, is the way his agent, Chubby Chandler, put it.
 
Clarkes wife, Heather, passed away last August at the age of 39 after a long battle with cancer. Clarke returned to play a key role in Europes September Ryder Cup victory over the U.S. in Ireland. But, said a source close to Clarke, the loss of his wife and being part of the fight has finally caught up to him.
 
Clarke has missed the cut in his last five starts on the European Tour. In the U.S. he has two missed cuts and two WDs in his last four starts.
 
ANGEL WINGS IT:
While many of the players in the field at last weeks U.S. Open tinkered with their equipment in an attempt to adjust to Oakmonts trying conditions, Cabrera, the eventual winner, l stayed put.
 
Sources at PING say he experimented with a 5-wood early in the week but stayed with his normal compliment of 14 clubs that includes a PING driver and 3-wood, PING irons, a Nickent hybrid and Titleist Vokey wedges.
 
The only work the guys in the PING truck did for Cabrera was to re-grip his clubs before the championship began.
 
FAB FIVE:
Five players'Tiger Woods, Jerry Kelly, Justin Rose, David Toms and Paul Casey'have top-10s in both majors so far in 2007. Interesting to note that none of those five have won a major this year.
 
In 2006 nobody top-tenned in all four majors. Woods was the only one with three.
 
Players with two top-10s in majors last year were Woods, Cabrera, Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson, Geoff Ogilvy, Adam Scott, Vijay Singh, Steve Stricker and Mike Weir.
 
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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.”