Carnoustie Turns Nasty

By October 12, 2005, 4:00 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 12 contestants will be vying for entry into select European Tour tournaments in 2006.
As the remaining contestants from both teams strode to the tee to meet with co-hosts Vince Cellini and Stephanie Sparks, the USA squad knew they would need to put some pressure on the Europeans to avoid falling yet another man down.
Big Break IV
Don Donatello from the Big Break II heated things up with his fist pump after draining a long birdie putt.
Informed that they were bypassing the Mulligan Challenge, the days format for the Immunity Challenge was 3 holes of alternate shot, using three players from each team. The team with the most strokes after three holes would be sent into the Elimination Challenge, but not before a little bit of dj vu was sprung on the guys.
Don Donatello, David Foster Jr., and David Gunas Jr. from the Big Break II (Las Vegas) were flown in to spice things up. They too would be participating in the 3-hole alternate shot format and if they were to win, both teams would be headed for the elimination.
The Big Break II team got off to a fast start with a birdie at the first, but not without a little controversy, supplied by none other than Donatello. After rolling in a tough, downhill birdie putt Donatello let go an emphatic fist pump accompanied by an even more emphatic yelled.
It was a good birdie. But I think his reaction was a little bit over the top, said Euro Marty Wilde Jr., who was put off by Donatellos antics.
I think I rubbed some people the wrong way, but I normally do that on the golf course, so its not anything different, said Donatello, chuckling.
The second hole was no different as things became even more heated when a rules discrepancy had Donatello again at odds with Team Europe.
After Big Break II team member Gunas Jr. hit a ball way right and into a collection of bushes, Donatello hit a provisional from the fairway that hit the flagstick and stopped within a few feet of the hole. They then decided they wouldnt even bother looking for the original, but Edoardo Gardino of Team Europe had other ideas.
That attitude of, Hey, just abandon the ball, just abandon the ball, is against the rules, said Gardino, who has caddied for the likes of Sergio Garcia and Seve Ballesteros.
Donatello, meanwhile, was fuming over what he thought was a breach of etiquette by the Europeans for not honoring his wish that they not join in the search to find their original ball.
I thought this was about honor and respect. If we didnt want them to look for it then they dont go look for it, said Donatello in the ensuing scramble for a rules official. But I guess this is their country so the can make their own rules.
Alas, the official deemed the Euros did nothing wrong in finding their opponents ball and play resumed with team Europe making a par on the second while both of their American counterparts made double bogeys. Suddenly all teams were tied going to the final hole.
Team Europe found trouble off the tee and basically took themselves out of the hole and straight into the Elimination Challenge. Now they waited to see if the Big Break II boys could help them out and also send Team USA into the elimination round. With each team having looks at birdie, neither could coax their putts into the hole as they then headed to a sudden death hole.
After a big drive into a greenside bunker for Team USA, T.J. Valentine splashed out to within 2 feet which resulted in a tap in birdie to put the pressure on Donatello, who was looking at an 18 footer to stay alive. He pulled it left and Team USA celebrated as their team would stay intact for at least another week.
Big Break IV
Edoardo Gardino took the loss in stride, saying he enjoyed the camaraderie and joking around eith the other guys.
With their win in the Immunity Challenge the USA squad also earned a try at the Ford Prize Challenge, where if anyone could knock down a 45-foot putt they would receive a two-year lease on a Ford Explorer. Unfortunately, no one on Team USA ever really scared the hole.
Now the focus was squarely on the Europeans in the Elimination Challenge as their team would soon be whittled down to four players.
That was kind of a tough feeling because we knew that one of our teammates wasnt going to be here the following morning, said Gardino.
In the Elimination Challenge the players were given two shots from 125-yards out to a green with point lines painted horizontally across the putting surface. Distance control was the key and after three rounds of two shots each, the player with the fewest points was to be ousted.
The challenge was made even more difficult as the Scottish winds picked up making distance control a chore.
I was fairly confident because Im not too bad hitting those low knock down shots, said Guy Woodman, who came out of the first round with the second most points with five.
In Rd. 2 Wilde Jr. continued his good play with six more points to lead the way with 13 total. Woodman was second with 12; Thomas Blankvoort had eight, while Gardino and Warren Bladon each were all square with six points.
After the top-4 point getters had shot in the final round and did well, it came down to Gardino and Bladon to see who would be staying. Gardino hit first and earned five points to put the pressure on the former British Amateur champ Bladon.
Youre nervous and youre put on the spot, recalled Bladon on his make or break final attempts. Hit it now or go home.
Down to his last swing, Bladon hit a solid shot that rolled up onto the green to edge Gardino by a point, sending the feisty Italian off the show and making the teams all even at four players a piece.
Its been great camaraderie, a lot of sense of humor, theres been a lot been jokes and there has been really, really good ambiance, said the departing Gardino. It doesnt get any better than this to be honest.

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.”

    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

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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.”