Majors Can Be Major Confusion
The Champions Tour has its final one this weekend in the Portland area ' the JELD-WEN Tradition. After that, schools out. No more biggies.
Unless you count the American Express World Golf Championships event. Oh ' and the Tour Championship. Did I mention the Charles Schwab Cup Championship ' the Champions Tours Tour Championship? Or the ADT Championship, the LPGAs tour championship? And uh youve got to throw the Presidents Cup in there, too.
But lets not get touchy here ' this is the last week for major tournaments. Starting with the LPGAs Kraft Nabisco Championship in March, weve staggered through 13 of them. The LPGA had four, the PGA Tour four and the Champions Tour five. After a while its impossible to keep up with them, much less give each of them the attention that the organizations think they deserve.
Lets see ' it started in March with the womens Kraft Nabisco Championship, then progressed two weeks later to the Masters in April. The women wouldnt another major until June, but the Champions Tour got cranked up the end of May with the Senior PGA Championship.
It had been slow going until then. But in June, things really began humming. On three out of four weeks, a major was played somewhere. First, it was the McDonalds LPGA Championship ' Presented by Coca Cola, of course. Then the USGA started its biggie schedule with the U.S. Open. That was the second week. Then the women had their Open the third week ' the U.S. Womens Open.
Whew! But wait ' July was upon us, and everyone celebrated a major. The Champions Tour, as a matter of fact, had three that month. The Ford Senior Players Championship was the first week. The British Open was the second week. Then the elders came right back with the Senior British Open the third week. And the fourth week we were treated to TWO majors ' the Champions Tour had the U.S. Senior Open Championship, the women had the Weetabix Womens British Open.
Double whew! The seniors, in case you are scoring, unreeled three majors in succession from their schedule! And their little brothers, along with the women, each had one.
The women were by now all done. What ' all over with the majors? They started the end of March, had a couple in June two weeks apart, and were down the road after the Womens British.
Not so the men. Now its August, and we just had the PGA Championship. And this week ends the seemingly never-ending march of majors with the Tradition.
The women, actually, have had seven different majors, though they have been scattered out over time. There was the Western Open from 1930 to 1967 ' in fact, it was the only womens major until 1936.
One womens major ' the Titleholders ' was held from 1937 until 1942, took a recess during the war years, and returned in 1946 and was played until 1966. The Titleholders ' which was played in Augusta, incidentally, though not at Augusta National ' attempted a comeback in 1972. But it lasted this time only one year ' by 73, it was gone. So from 73 until 1979, there was a decided dearth of womens championships ' only two.
Then along came the du Maurier, named for the Canadian cigarette that was the sponsor until the Canadian government became uncomfortable with tobacco advertising. So, from 1979 until the government lowered the boom in 2000, Canada had a major championship. Then, when the du Maurier was dissolved, in stepped the Womens British. And thus the saga of the LPGA schedule, where the women have had four majors off-and-on since 1955. Just dont make me try to say which four were majors in any given year. Or which years there were only three majors.
And ' did you know that the LPGA majors had no cuts until 1971?
The Champions Tour ' nee Seniors ' started in 1980 and immediately had to have majors - of course! The PGA of America first had a tournament for the older gents in 1937, so that one was a natural. But in 1980, when the tour was formed, the U.S. Senior Open joined in. The Ford Senior Players began three years later, in 1983, but it was called the Senior Tournament Players Championship, then went through a period when Mazda was sponsor before switching rides and going with Ford in 1993.
The Tradition sprang up in 1989 in the Phoenix area and was dubbed a major immediately, largely due to the efforts of Jack Nicklaus. And the Senior British? That is an IMG tournament that began in 1987 and was added to the majors rota 2003 to give the seniors a championship in Europe.
And the four other majors ' the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open and the PGA? No one knows who first began calling them majors. And no one is for certain when they first became majors. The U.S., British and PGA seem naturals. The Masters was not originally meant as a major when it debuted in 1934. It was only meant as an event where Bobby Jones could entertain his friends ' it wasnt even called the Masters. But around 1936, 37, it was considered a major ' whatever that meant at the time.
And early in the 1900s, the majors were considered the U.S. Amateur, the U.S. Open, the British Amateur and the British Open. That was the four that Jones won in 1930 during his Grand Slam year. And the Western Open was considered by some to be a major during the early years ' it began way back in 1899.
Now, though, its official ' there are four majors. And, five Champions Tour majors ' does it still seem weird not calling it the Senior Tour? And, four LPGA ' er, womens ' majors.
That is, until next year.
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More sun, dry conditions expected early at Open
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.
How to watch The Open on TV and online
You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.
Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie
In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on GolfChannel.com.
Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:
(All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; GC.com=GolfChannel.com or check the GLE app)
Monday, July 16
GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)
GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)
GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)
Tuesday, July 17
GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)
Wednesday, July 18
GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)
Thursday, July 19
GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)
GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)
GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)
GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)
GC.com: Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)
GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)
Friday, July 20
GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)
GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)
GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)
GC.com: Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)
GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)
Saturday, July 21
GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)
NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)
GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)
GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)
GC.com: Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)
GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)
Sunday, July 22
GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)
NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)
GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)
GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)
GC.com: Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)
GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)
Lincicome grouped with two rookies in Barbasol
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.
Lincicome thrilled by reception from male pros
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.”