Bunker Mentality at Carnoustie

By November 29, 2005, 5:00 pm
Editor's Note: The Big Break IV ' USA vs. Europe, is The Golf Channels fourth installment of its hit television series. As the title suggests however, this seasons format has been tweaked to include a team dynamic. But that in no way means the stakes arent high for each individual, as the contestants will be vying for entry into select European Tour tournaments in 2006.
 
For the second straight episode, Team USA was given a free pass from the Immunity and Elimination Challenges as the European squad was in the process of being whittled down to two players.
 
Big Break IV
With the cameras rolling, Guy Woodman hits a shot during the Elimination Challenge.
Marty Wilde Jr., Guy Woodman and Thomas Blankvoort remained from Team Europe and had to face a series of bunker shots for the Immunity Challenge, including one from the famed spectacle bunkers at Carnoustie.
 
The mood had definitely changed and its definitely more of an individual thing, rather than a team thing now, observed Wilde Jr. as they prepared for the Immunity Challenge.
 
If youre too intense and keep thinking about what could happen and what might happen, youll drive yourself mad, added Woodman.
 
Starting from a greenside bunker, the players would hit from three different bunkers and have to hole out after each shot. The player with the fewest total strokes following all three bunkers would be safe from elimination.
 
Woodman and Blankvoort got off to good starts, both getting up and down in two while Wilde Jr. burned the edge with his putt from 8 feet to drop back a shot.
 
You just feel like you have to hit everything close and every shot has to be perfect, which is tough, said Wilde Jr.
 
Hitting from the second bunker, Marty fell even further behind as his putt for a two again slid by the hole. Woodman and Blankvoort, however, were in a tight battle for the immunity as they both sank their putts and were tied heading into the very dangerous spectacle bunkers.
 
Facing a 70-yard blast to the pin, the spectacle bunkers had the players staring into the face of the bunker that rose some 5 feet over their heads as they stood in the sand.
 
Youre so far down (in the bunker) you cant see anything. The flag, the green, anything, recalled Woodman on the severity of the bunker
 
From the outside they look very cool. From the inside, you dont want to be in there, added Blankvoort.
 
Blankvoorts first attempt came up well short of the green but his subsequent chip rolled up to within 5 feet of the hole. Woodman had a 25 footer to win it outright but his putt was long and to the right. Wilde Jr. meanwhile, missed his up and down effort and thus put himself into the Elimination Challenge.
 
Woodman and Blankvoort both made their knee-knockers to force a playoff between the two to see who would win the immunity.
 
They again had to hit from the spectacle bunkers and both hit their shots fat, coming to rest in the greenside rough. They each hit their ensuing chip shots to approximately 5 feet and if one of them could get their putt to drop they would move on to the next show.
 
Woodman, who up until this point had been lights out with his putting, missed on the low side then watched as his teammate turned opponent Blankvoort drained his putt to win the Immunity Challenge.
 
Guy has been so solid with that putter and he let that one slip by him. He left the door open for Thomas, observed American T.J. Valentine.
 
Now Im a part of the show for another week and getting another step closer to the goal, the eventual goal, said a pleased Blankvoort on his win.
 
It was now down to Wilde Jr. and Woodman to see who would be joining Blankvoort and Americans Valentine and Paul Holtby in the final four. The Elimination Challenge was three holes of stroke play, the player with the highest accumulated score getting his walking papers.
 
After hitting their drives on the first hole, both players found the fringe with their approach shots. Wilde Jr. rolled up his putt to 3 feet while Woodman nearly sank his effort. Woodman tapped in for par and Wilde Jr. matched him as they strode to the second hole all tied up.
 
Big Break IV
Marty Wilde Jr. makes the lonely walk towards the clubhouse.
Next up was a long par-5 dubbed Hogans Alley in honor of the great Ben Hogan, who won the 1953 British Open here at Carnoustie.
 
Wilde Jr. striped his tee shot down the middle with Woodman putting his tee ball to the right of the fairway but still with a good look at the hole and a decent lie. Both approaches came up a little short of the green, although Wilde Jr. would have to maneuver his third shot up and over a greenside bunker.
 
Playing first, Guy put the pressure on Marty as his effort came to rest just inches from the hole for a tap in birdie. Wilde Jr. proceeded to hit his chip well right and past the pin, some 13 feet away. Needing to run home his putt to keep pace with Woodman, Wilde Jr. blew his birdie attempt 3 feet past the hole and then astonishingly missed the comebacker for par. Woodman now held a two stroke lead with just one hole remaining.
 
I was really, really devastated. I just thought well thats it, its all over ' two shots behind. Ive thrown it away, said a visibly upset Wilde Jr. on the sudden turn of events. I felt that I had just hit the ol self-destruct button again.
 
Woodman put the final nail in the coffin as he knocked one down the center of the fairway at the last hole forcing Wilde Jr. to pull out driver and try to make something happen. Something did happened, but it was yet another blow to Wilde Jr., who pulled his tee shot left and O.B.
 
He rebounded nicely however, and was able to make a birdie on his second ball, but it was a 5 on the scorecard and not enough to overtake Woodman, who also had a 5 on the final hole for a two-stroke win.
 
The final four was now set: Woodman, Blankvoort, Valentine and Holtby.
 
This whole trip has been a rollercoaster for me, and I have been up and down hugely. And it can work for you or against you. You can hit some inspirational shots and then you can hit some really bad shots, said the departing Wilde Jr. on his emotions throughout the show.
 
You cant do anything but really like Marty, he is such a good guy, a heart of gold, said Blankvoort about his now former teammate. And hes funny.

The Big Break IV: USA vs. Europe airs each Tuesday at 9 p.m. (ET), while Big Break IV: All Access airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. (ET), as part of the networks Top Shelf Wednesday lineup of premium programming.
 
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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.”