Azinger Its OK to Applaud Euro Mistakes

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 19, 2008, 4:00 pm
Ryder CupLOUISVILLE, Ky. ' U.S. captain Paul Azinger knows the Ryder Cup is as much about sportsmanship as it is about golf.
 
Sportsmanship, however, takes on a little different hue during the Cup. Azinger told fans at Valhalla it was OK to applaud when the Europeans make a mistake.
 
Azinger knows it doesnt sound sporting, but he has played on enough U.S. Ryder Cup teams to know cheering against the opponent is common practice in Europe.
 
Essentially, you know, when we go over there, they cheer when we miss, Azinger said. I dont think that the American fans are really into what the Ryder Cup is all about in the fact that, you know, there is that other element.
 
Azinger stressed it wasnt a slam on European fans. In fact, he praised them.
 
If we lose a hole or we miss a putt, they cheer, Azinger said. I dont think the American fans get that part. Golf is, everybody oohs and aahs, but the European fans, they get it. The American fans, they dont, and they are not used to that.
 
Theyre not used to having massive pep rallies either at the Ryder Cup, but thousands of fans packed the pep rally. Azinger planned on attending the event alone and even ordered his team to stay behind to rest up for the long Friday ahead.
 
When Azinger hopped on the bus with his 13th man shirt on, he found the rest of the team waiting for him.
 
He just looked at us and said, Good to see my authority is being followed as the captain, Hunter Mahan said.
 
A MESSAGE FROM TIGER
 
One of the more meaningful text messages that Paul Azinger received on the eve of the Ryder Cup came from the one player he wished he had on the team ' Tiger Woods.
 
He sent me one last night that said, Kick their (behind), Azinger said after the morning matches. I told him the team was in a good place, practicing well and very prepared. And to call me if he had any input.
 
There was no need for Woods to call. The United States had a 3-1 lead in the morning, the first time since 1991 that it won the opening session of matches.
 
PHILS PATIENCE
 
Phil Mickelson rarely shows much of a temper, but he couldnt help himself Friday morning.
 
With his foursomes match all square, and Europe inside 4 feet for a birdie attempt, Mickelson was trying to hold his chip from just off the 10th green. He turned around and glared at photographers right after his ball made contact.
 
Someone had clicked his camera early, causing a distraction.
 
Cmon, guys, Mickelson complained. Who did that?
 
He didnt let it go there. Mickelson panned the cluster of photographers, trying to figure out the culprit. Once he identified the photographer, Mickelson stared at him.
 
Im going to ask you to be removed, Mickelson said. That is so uncool.
 
Police and marshals walked toward the photographer, who quickly ducked outside the ropes until they caught up to him. Later, he was seen cleaning out his locker.
 
LAST MAN SITTING
 
European Ryder Cup rookie Oliver Wilson, a surprise wild card selection by Faldo, was the only player on either team to sit out Fridays matches.
 
Faldo introduced Wilson during the Opening Ceremonies by saying maybe youve not heard of him, but you will soon.
 
Apparently, soon wont come until at least Saturday.
 
The 28-year-old Wilson has yet to win on the European tour, though he has been remarkably consistent this year, posting four runner-up finishes and seven Top 10s.
 
GET THIS MAN A CLUB
 
Michael Jordan is a veteran Ryder Cupper.
 
The retired NBA great and current managing partner of the Charlotte Bobcats was on hand Friday at Valhalla Golf Club, marking the sixth consecutive time Jordan has attended the matches. He stood on the porch of a corporate skybox behind the 14th tee Friday, a perfect vantage point to watch a U.S. surge that began on the back nine and gave the home side a 3-1 lead after the morning alternate-shot competition.
 
Just before the Kenny Perry hit his tee shot, Jordan showed that while he no longer plays, hes still as competitive as ever. Despite a growing lead for the Americans, Jordan said, Theres no such thing as a lead thats too big. Weve got to get them all.
 
Then he looked over at the tee and like the fans on every side of him, yelled, Cmon Kenny! before putting an ever-present stogie back in his mouth.
 
Jordan wasnt the only American luminary rooting on the home team. Former president George H.W. Bush stopped by during the afternoon foursomes round, wearing the same shirt as the U.S. team.
 
MONTYS HERE, SORT OF
 
Longtime European Ryder Cup star Colin Montgomerie failed to make the team for the first time since 1989.
 
Still, Montgomeries presence was felt at Valhalla, sort of. A group of European fans toted a life-size cardboard cutout of Montgomerie around the grounds.
 
The cutout was done up to make the Scotsman proud. The figure was adorned in a red tartan plaid kilt and a blue waistcoat with silver button and a sash. A look also modeled by the men who brought the cutout.
 
The Europeans could have used Montgomerie and his 20-9-7 Cup record on Friday morning.
 
There were actual, live, former European Ryder Cuppers in the crowd. Frenchman Thomas Levet, a member of the 2004 team, walked along with Englishmen Ian Poulter and Justin Rose during the morning round, even helping a marshal replace a stake at one point.
 
BATTLE OF THE STANDS
 
Before the players ever made it to the first tee Friday, the battle within the gallery had already begun.
 
Waiting for the first foursome to finish up on the practice range, U.S. fans began a rousing U.S.A. chant. Euro fans, several wearing the Euro teams blue flag with gold stars as a cape, responded with a sing-songy Eurrrr-up, Eurrrr-up. They followed it up with the ubiquitous Ole chant heard often at European soccer matches.
 
Undaunted, U.S. fans fired back with a chant of soccer sucks as the stands ' the Euros included ' laughed.
 
Related Links:
  • U.S. Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • European Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • Full Coverage - 37th Ryder Cup
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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.”