Press Pass Phil Firestorm Holes in One

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 2, 2007, 4:00 pm
Press PassEach week, GOLF CHANNEL experts and analysts offer their thoughts and opinions on hot topics in the world of golf with the Press Pass.
Hot Topic
Should Phil Mickelson, who missed his Wednesday pro-am, have been able to compete in last weeks EDS Byron Nelson Championship?
Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Columnist,
A lot of people think he shouldn't have. Certain players think others get preferential treatment. In this case, I'll take Phil and the PGA TOUR at their word.
Kraig Kann Kraig Kann- Reporter, GOLF CHANNEL:
Yes. When weather circumstances like they faced (heavy storms and tornadoes) get in the way leaving no chance to fly in, I have no problem with it. Couldnt they have given Mickelson an afternoon tee-time in the pro-am on Wednesday? Players werent happy ' citing star treatment. Perhaps one free pass per year would be in order.
Mark Rolfing Mark Rolfing - Analyst, GOLF CHANNEL:
Yes, absolutely yes! There were extenuating circumstances because of weather issues. Even commissioner Tim Finchem could not arrive because of this problem.
Mercer Baggs Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer,
No. I understand why the PGA TOUR let him play, but given how strict they have been with other players - and they have been very, very strict - they should have held Mickelson to the same standard. What they need to do is relax the rule a little, allowing players at least one excused absence a year. Plus, given that Mickelson was traveling in a private jet, he could have made it on time if he really wanted.
Hot Topic
With Tigers old coach, will Mickelson ever be able to pass Woods for No. 1 in the world?
It's a long shot. Phil will get better under Butch. But, as Phil says, it's Tiger's world and he's just living in it. Only way Phil gets to No. 1 is if Tiger gets injured or takes an extended leave from competitive golf.
Theres a chance. But Phil will need some serious help. Not just from Butch Harmon, but from Tiger Woods. Mickelson is the most talented player outside of Tiger ... now we see if a change in coaching philosophy can get more out of him.
No. Tiger is too far ahead of Phil and too many venues fit Tigers game better than Phils.
Looking at the current top 10 in the world, Mickelson is probably the only player capable of doing it, but, all in all, I'd say he will not. It's hard to imagine anyone overtaking Tiger unless he decides to make a swing change. Even as well as Vijay played a few years ago, he would not have passed Woods if he hadn't undergone a swing overhaul.
Hot Topic
This weeks Wachovia Championship is contested at well-liked Quail Hollow. What is the best regular tournament course on the PGA TOUR?
TPC Sawgrass is No. 1, hands down. Quail Hollow, Muirfield Village and Cog Hill No. 4 are way up there. The Copperhead course (PODS) is a real sleeper. Pebble Beach also belongs on any list as does Riviera.
In my opinion it is Muirfield Village. Looks great on television, always manicured beyond perfect. There will be plenty of votes for Riviera or Pebble Beach. I like Muirfield.
Pebble Beach.
Of the ones that I have been to, I would go with Muirfield Village. The course just always looks pristine. You can't beat the visuals at Pebble or Kapalua, but Muirfield always impresses with the course itself.
Hot Topic
A lady in Arizona is said to have made eight holes in one in the last 14 weeks. What is your most memorable hole-in-one moment?
True story. I was working, just out of college, at a golf course in Illinois. Was standing behind the 13th green of a long par-3, when I saw a man and his wife approach the tee. The man promptly aced the hole. But he and his wife immediately began arguing. He didn't think the ball had gone in the hole. She did. The bickering continued all the way up to the green. When he finally pulled the ball out of the cup, he was greeted with a loud, 'I told you so,' from his wife. He marched off in stony silence to the next tee. Somehow, I don't think they'd been having a very good time the first 12 holes.
Ive only had one: 166 yards with a breeze at Dorals White (Greg Norman designed) Course. Hit a 6-iron two bounces and in. Couldnt believe it. Neither could Brian Hewitt. The rest of the round was forgettable, and I had no time to buy drinks. We had a 'Post Game' show to do that afternoon at the old Ford Championship, which was won by Craig Parry.
My most memorable hole in one was my first at the third at the Bay Course at Kapalua. But Ive never seen one like Fred Couples' at the 17th hole at THE PLAYERS. He hit the ball in the water then re-teed it and made a hole in one.
I've never made one and I blame my father. He has made in the neighborhood of 20, which means the odds are against anyone else in the rest of the Baggs family of ever making one. I did, however, have the greatest near hole-in-one of all time. Playing with my brother a few years ago, I stepped on the tee box with a 7-iron and guaranteed an ace. Guaranteed it. I struck it perfectly, posed for all the imaginary cameras, and watched as the ball took one bounce, hit the flagstick and came to rest inches from the hole. It would have gone in -- if not for my father.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Wachovia Championship
  • Full Coverage - EDS Byron Nelson Championship
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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.”