Kuchar Proves Sum Is Greater Than the Parts

By George WhiteMarch 11, 2002, 5:00 pm
So the critics were all over Matt Kuchar when he didnt leave Georgia Tech at the end of his sophomore season after impressive finishes in the Masters and U.S. Open. The critics, we are to believe, were busy pouring Tabasco sauce on their words after Kuchar won the Honda Classic Sunday.
First of all, who are these supposed critics, anyway? I didnt see their stories in the papers back then, and I dont see anyone fessing up to them now. A lot of people undoubtedly gave their opinions, though none of them worked for this nations daily journals. The stories I recall reading simply mentioned offers of two million dollars (true), and Kuchars decision to stay put (true again).
He was right not to take the money, of course. He really didnt need two million ' his father was very comfortably fixed money-wise, and by staying at Georgia Tech, Kuchar ensured himself of a well-paying job throughout his working career. It would have been the wrong career move for me ' I would gladly have taken the $2 mil ' but then again, I wasnt privileged enough to get a degree from Georgia Tech. So Kuchar refused to gamble with his life by taking the two million and faced the fact that he might have been a bust. The streets are full of insurance salesmen who had one brilliant summer of golf, five summers of making bogeys, and finally a career in the business or teaching side of the game.
Kuchar, though, did it the other way around ' he went to a brain school and got a business degree. Armed with the diploma, he tinkered around for a year or so with a real job. When it became apparent that he would be successful in the office, he then took a flyer on golf as a career. Sundays verdict would indicate that he has made a very wise choice. Had he gone to JacqueStroppe U., the verdict might not have been nearly so clear-cut.
At any rate, Kuchar is building his golf career precisely the right way. He is 23 years old, the ideal time to start. He has been all over the charts with his results, but it looks like he has finally learned how to win.
Methinks the lad has learned the real objective to playing golf ' low scoring. Heaven knows the rest of the game is mediocre. Add up the different parts of his game and there is no particular area where he stands out. The sum isnt there ' unless you talk about just getting the ball in the hole. And in that particular category, young Kuchar has shown a remarkable proclivity for doing the same very quickly.
Consider his results the past two seasons: In 2001, he missed the cut in five of 11 tournaments entered. He finished 68th in another, the National Car Rental in his old hometown of Orlando.
But he finished tied for second at the Texas Open ' whoa! And he finished tied for third in the Air Canada Championship. Those two finishes were enough to merit a careful look-see this year.
This year, he opened the season with a tie for fourth at the Sony Open in Hawaii. The next month he was just another palooka, playing four tournaments, missing the cut in one, no higher that T39 in the others.
And then ' wham! ' he wins the Honda against a pretty talented field. Was he just waiting to get back to Florida? Was he waiting for another shot at Bermuda greens? Did he get tired playing four weeks in a row?
Maybe thats it. Check his scores the opening day for each of those four tournaments ' he averaged 69. From there, though, his scores went up each day. His average on Fridays was 71, still quite respectable. But the third day, his average balloons to 75.3. And on Sundays, he was averaging nearly 72. Thats not good when youre trying to beat the rest of the field out of the goodies.
When they get that many in a row ' because I was playing Monday, Tuesday, and half the Wednesday pro-ams, said Kuchar. And for five tournaments (counting the first one in Hawaii), I did that.
I really, at the end, got worn out. At the beginning of the week, I was feeling good. But every time towards the end ' Saturdays and Sundays ' I seemed to play very poorly at the end of my West Coast stretch.
Hey ' he didnt work Saturdays and Sundays at his bank gig last year. Seven-day work-weeks tend to wear you down, especially along about the third or fourth week.
He doesnt rank near the top in driving distance ' 131st on the charts. He is better than average in driving accuracy, 18th, and a little better than average in greens hit in regulation ' 55th.
His putting ' though he had just 10 putts on the back nine Sunday ' needs lots of work. Hes 101st on the tour charts. But magically, his scoring is the best part ' he stands 27th. And all that other stuff can go out the window. You know the tired old saying ' dont paint me pictures, just tell me how many you had on the hole.
Is this just a mirage, a Jump-Up Johnny performance and then back with the herd? Could be. But one thing is for certain ' Kuchar is just winging it now, glad to be here, but certainly not going to starve if he doesnt make it. Just about everyone in golf envies his situation.
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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.”