Notes Ogilvy shaking off the rust

By Doug FergusonJuly 6, 2011, 12:46 am

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. – Halfway through the season, part of Geoff Ogilvy feels as though he’s just getting started.

Ogilvy, a former U.S. Open champion and three-time World Golf Championship winner, is No. 79 in the FedEx Cup standings with the playoffs looming less than two months away. It hasn’t been an awful year, just one that has been slowed by two peculiar injuries.

“It feels like I’m trying to get rust off at the moment, which is weird,” Ogilvy said last week at the AT&T National, where he scrapped it around and tied for 57th.

Ogilvy said he had never felt better at the start of a season, which is saying something since he was the two-time defending champion of the Tournament of Champions at Kapalua. But he gouged his right index finger on coral in a freak accident at the beach and wound up missing three tournaments.

He got his game in shape for the Masters, where he was among eight players who had a share of the lead at one point in the final round; he finished tied for fourth.

“I was back on schedule and it was happy days,” he said.

A week later, he was in contention at the Texas Open going into the weekend when his shoulder went from nagging him to hurting him. Ogilvy went 74-74 and tied for 23rd.

“The shoulder was annoying at the Masters, not bad. Then in San Antonio, it flared up on the weekend. I was playing in the last group Saturday,” he said. “By the weekend, it just got horrible and turned out to be quite an annoying place for an injury for a golfer.”

Ogilvy played one round of The Players Championship – his WD didn’t get much attention – and essentially went nearly two months without playing until returning the week before the U.S. Open.

“I’d never been injured before,” he said. “I’ve taken big time off, but I’ve still played golf. When you’re injured, you can’t play anything. And when you do come back, it’s like, `Ooooh, don’t hurt it.’ So I feel rusty.”

He added the Travelers Championship and AT&T National to get back in shape, forcing him to miss the Scottish Open this week. On Tuesday, Ogilvy signed up for the Canadian Open, played a week after the British Open.

“I like how I’m playing,” he said. “I just don’t like how I’m scoring.”

A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE: Bubba Watson had a rough time at the French Open, but another American with less fanfare couldn’t stop raving about it. Texas Open winner Brendan Steele, who, like Watson, opened with a 74, wound up tied for seventh.

“Everything has been amazing,” Steele said. “Fans were great. I thought they were enthusiastic, and there were a lot of them. I was very excited to play here, and it didn’t disappoint.”

Watson said it was not a “normal tournament,” complaining about too many mobile phones and not enough security.

Steele said he was surprised to hear that.

“I don’t know him very well, but that kind of caught me off guard,” Steele said. “I’m sure it was probably more of a case of just getting him right off the golf course and not playing well and maybe he said some things. But it hasn’t been my experience at all. It’s been a fantastic week.

“I’m hoping that I get the opportunity to come back and play it. It’s something that only Europe can provide. I don’t think it’s anything that I’ve seen in the States.”

OPEN ALTERNATES: Anthony Kim missed the cut at Aronimink and probably figured his British Open hopes were over.

Not so fast.

Tiger Woods withdrew and next in line was Brendan Jones, who turned down the spot because his wife is expecting. Jason Dufner took Woods’ spot. If Tim Clark doesn’t play because of his elbow injury, Robert Garrigus is the next alternate.

Then it goes to Kim.

It was not clear if Kim planned to go to England as an alternate. Meanwhile, Thomas Levet broke a bone in his leg while jumping into the lake after winning the French Open. A spokesman said Levet would do everything possible to try to compete in the British Open.

The two alternates after Kim are Simon Dyson and Thomas Bjorn, who lost a late lead at Royal St. George’s in 2003 when he took three shots to get out of the bunker on the 16th hole.

FURYK IN A FUNK: Once the model of consistency even when he wasn’t winning as much as he thought he should, Jim Furyk is now in the midst of his worst slump in 16 years. When he missed the cut at the AT&T National, it marked the first time since 1995 that he had gone four consecutive starts on the PGA Tour without making the cut.

“It’s probably one of the worst stretches of my career … where I’m struggling this much and missing cuts,” Furyk said. “I don’t really have a lot of answers. I know the problem areas, and I’m trying to fix them. At times, it feels better.”

Furyk often says the three most important clubs in his bag are the driver, wedge and putting. He feels as though he is hitting good wedges. He doesn’t miss many fairways, but says there usually is one drive per round that is way off line and leads to double bogey.

As for the putting?

“I’m not going to play better until I start gaining confidence with my putter and I start putting better,” he said.

Furyk became so frustrated after the first round that he gave his putter to a young spectator.

“I’ve never done that before,” he said. “But it was one happy kid.”

DIVOTS: Ben Curtis is no longer with Andy Sutton, the caddie he hired at Royal St. George’s when he won the 2003 British Open. Sutton, who grew up in Kent, still returns home for the Open. He says he will be working for Aaron Baddeley. … British bookmaker William Hill not only refunded all bets on Tiger Woods after he withdrew, it offered odds on whether he would return for the PGA Championship. The odds are 2-to-5 that he plays, 7-to-4 that he does not. … The Women’s British Open will make a donation to the British Red Cross Japan Tsunami Appeal for every birdie or better made by the field in the final round at Carnoustie. … The PGA Championship will let fans bring mobile device onto the golf course to use in selected areas. They can take and make calls in designated spots, and text and email on the course.

STAT OF THE WEEK: The last time Trevor Immelman played Aronimink and Royal St. George’s in the same year was 1997. He lost in the finals of the U.S. Junior Amateur and in the finals of the British Amateur.

FINAL WORD: “I remember a lot of things, most of them bad.” – Robert Allenby, on the last British Open held at Royal St. George’s.

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More sun, dry conditions expected early at Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 9:14 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – An atypically dry Scottish summer is expected to continue this week at The Open.

There’s a possibility of a few showers Thursday and Friday, but otherwise conditions are expected to remain dry with temperatures around 70 degrees and winds in the 15-20 mph range.

The forecast for the opening round at Carnoustie is sunshine with clouds developing later in the day. The high is expected to be around 70 degrees, with winds increasing throughout the day, maxing out at 18 mph.

There’s a chance of rain overnight Thursday and into Friday morning, but it’s not expected to slow down the fiery conditions.

It’s been one of the driest summers in recent memory, leading to fairways that are baked out and fescue rough that is lighter and thinner than in previous years.

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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.