A Win is a Win is a Win

By Brian HewittMarch 26, 2007, 4:00 pm
It was a telling moment. Tiger Woods, generally affable in post-round interviews when sitting on the 54-hole lead, got that steely look late Saturday.
 
A questioner wanted to know if Woods would be thinking about his recent stumbles.
 
What stumbles? Woods demanded flintily.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods has now won the CA Championship six times. (WireImage)
Bay Hill, the questioner said.
 
Thats just one tournament, Woods said. There was a long pause, followed by no elaboration from Woods, followed by the next question.
 
So much for stumbles.
 
Woods made five bogeys Sunday at Doral in the WGC-CA Championship and he didnt pile up many style points along the way en route to his 56th career PGA TOUR win, a two-shot victory over Brett Wetterich. But he did accomplish his mission.
 
A win is a win, Woods said afterward.
 
It included a lay-up off the tee on the par 4 18th hole followed by an 8-iron, a wedge and a difficult two-putt. He had arrived at the final hole with a three-shot lead.
 
If I make five there, Woods explained, he (Wetterich) cant win the tournament.
 
The whole idea (Sunday), Woods added, was to shoot under par and I figured if I shot under par it would be over. Didnt quite get it done, but ended up winning the tournament anyways. Such is the luxury of a four-shot lead after 54 holes. A Sunday 73 was good enough.
 
Sunday was always going to have to be uncharted territory for anybody with designs on upsetting Woods. Never before in his decade as a professional had Tiger lost a lead of more than two shots entering the final round of any event.
 
Going into the last 18 holes at the WGC-CA Championship at Doral Woods, led Wetterich by four and everybody else by at least five. Woods had been a cumulative 75 under par in his 19 rounds as a professional at Doral.
 
And, after ballooning to a 43 on the final nine holes of Arnold Palmers Invitational at Bay Hill last Sunday, he was looking to take his final competitive inventory before he headed to Augusta where the Masters Tournament will begin a week from Thursday.
 
The obvious task at hand for Woods was winning his 13th WGC event and second TOUR competition of the year. It was also an opportunity to get a healthy dose of golf's best, and legal, drug: Winning.
 
In each of his first three rounds Woods had been 2 under after two holes. He birdied his first two holes on Thursday and Friday and he eagled No. 1 on Saturday. In fact, in his last 19 professional starts he had birdied or eagled the first hole 17 times, including the last 15 in a row.
 
Sunday he birdied it again. But despite plenty of flashes of brilliance all week, Woods never fully synched to the task at hand. I slept kind of funky one night and my necks been stiff for about three days now, he offered. Thats what happens when you turn 30.
 
It wasnt an excuse because, by definition, excuses are for losers.
 
In the end, the grinding Tiger had to do to protect his victory late Sunday may turn out to be a good thing. He would have preferred a cakewalk. But mental conditioning is important, too. And a little struggle, in the end, will probably prepare him better for next weeks Masters where winning almost never comes easy.
 
Doral, a course he says he loves, was mostly an enjoyable week for Woods who rallied from an indifferent opening 71 marred by bad putting with a sizzling Friday 66 and a splendid Saturday 68. After the latter, he spent much of the evening across town watching one of his new best friends. That would be Roger Federer, the best tennis player in the world, who was dispatching American Sam Querrey 6-4, 6-3 in the Sony Ericsson Open.
 
Federer did not lose serve in the match. Indeed, Querrey never even had a break point on Federer. Similarly, one of Woods golf challenges Sunday was to work on getting his first serve in. That is to say, put it in play off the tee.
 
Woods struggled early Sunday in that department. But when he had to, he split the narrow 18th fairway with his 3-iron.
 
The PGA TOUR stops at the Shell Houston Open this week. We wont see Woods again until the Masters.
 
Then, we will see a lot of him. And we will be surprised to see any stumbles.
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
 
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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.”


    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.”