Clarke Leads Woods Struggles

By Golf Channel NewsroomApril 11, 2003, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- Tiger Woods' pursuit of history at Augusta National got off to a shaky start Friday, opening the Masters with a 76 -- his worst first-round score in a major since turning pro.
 
Sunshine finally broke through after nearly a week of nastiness, but Woods and many others probably wished they could have stayed home another day.
 
Only seven of the 93 players broke par in the first round, which was delayed a day by rain. Jack Nicklaus shot a 13-over-par 85 -- his worst round ever at the Masters.
 
Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland wasn't bothered at all by the soggy course, grabbing the lead with a 66. And this was a stunner: U.S. Amateur champion Ricky Barnes was tied for second with Sergio Garcia after a 69.
 
The 22-year-old Barnes will always have something to tell his kids. Playing with Woods, the Masters rookie beat the two-time defending champion by seven strokes.
 
Woods struggled to his worst opening round in a tour event since a 76 to start the Western Open in 1998. The only time he opened with a round this poor at a major was the 1996 U.S. Open.
 
Something else to consider. The world's greatest golfer had a birdie-less round for the first time since the third day of the 1999 British Open.
 
At least Woods had a chance to quickly make up for his poor showing. Since Thursday's play was rained out, Augusta National scheduled 36 holes in an attempt to get the tournament back on track.
 
After a quick break, Woods and the others returned to the course for Round 2.
 
Starting on the back side, Clarke missed a 2-footer to save par at No. 11. That was about the only thing that went wrong. He got rolling with an eagle at 15 and was flawless the rest of the way, adding two more birdies and no bogeys.
 
Garcia birdied two of the last three holes to drop three strokes behind the leader, who had the largest 18-hole advantage at the Masters since Nicklaus was three-up in 1982.
 
The Spaniard was joined on the leaderboard by Barnes, a senior at Arizona and son of a former NFL player. The amateur looked a bit nervous on the first hole, taking a bogey, but he finished with one of the rare birdies on the brutal 18th.
 
Nick Price and Mike Weir were at 70. Toru Taniguchi and David Toms also broke par with 71s. That was it for players in the red.
 
Woods, trying to become the first golfer ever to win three straight green jackets, started his day with four ugly shots. As he walked off 18, his streak of 10 straight sub-par rounds at Augusta was over.
 
Last year, the world's best player started with a 2-under 70, leaving him three strokes off the lead. He went on to an easy three-stroke victory over Retief Goosen, joining Nicklaus and Nick Faldo as the only players to win two straight green jackets.
 
If Woods can win this week, he'll take home his fourth Masters championship. That would tie him with Arnold Palmer and leave Woods trailing only Nicklaus, who has six.
 
As Woods arrived at the first tee, the sun finally cut through the clouds for the first time since Sunday.
 
Waiters, busboys and cooks wandered out from the clubhouse to get a look at his opening shot.
 
It wasn't pretty. Woods appeared to mishit his drive, which didn't even make it to the bunker at the top of the hill. Playing from the edge of the rough, Woods knocked his second shot over the right side of the green.
 
He was too strong with his next shot, chipping past the flag and watching the ball catch a ridge and slide off the opposite side of the green. He was short with his next chip, the ball rolling back off the green as the gallery groaned and Woods stood with his hands on his hips, a look of disbelief on his face.
 
He quickly recovered, chipping in his fifth shot from about 40 feet for an improbable bogey.
 
Woods ran into more trouble at the par-3 fourth, where his tee shot went long and he failed to save par. At No. 5, Woods lost another stroke after driving into the 10-foot-deep bunker, which he had planned to avoid.
 
While 36 holes were scheduled Friday, it seemed likely only a handful of groups would get in both rounds before dark. The rest will have to return Saturday morning to finish the second round.
 
The course, stretched to 7,290 yards by changes last year, was playing even longer. The fairways were softened by persistent rain, which forced the first round to be called off for the first time in 64 years.
 
'It was so long. Wow!' said Gary Player, who shot 82. 'I'm hitting 3-wood and 5-wood on every hole. I need more strength.'
 
Sunny conditions were expected for the weekend and that was good news for Masters officials, who hoped to squeeze in enough play for the tournament to end on Sunday as usual.
 
Sandy Lyle hit the opening tee shot. Fanfare was minimal. Club chairman Hootie Johnson wasn't on the first tee since the Masters did not have honorary starters for the first time since 1982.
 
Johnson may have other things on his mind.
 
Martha Burk, head of the National Council of Women's Organizations, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson called on any Augusta National members who oppose the club's all-male policy to resign.
 
'If they do not agree with this policy, they must resign their memberships,' said Burk, who plans to lead protests on Saturday.
 
The 63-year-old Nicklaus, an Augusta National member, had seven bogeys and three double-bogeys for his worst Masters round ever. His previous low point: 81 on a wind-swept day in 2000.
 
'The course wasn't much of a problem,' he said. 'I was.'
 
Nicklaus rarely got his irons close to the hole. When he did, the putts wouldn't fall.
 
'I was horrible with the putts,' he said, 'and where I was putting from wasn't very good, either.'
 
Related Links:
  • 2003 Masters Tournament Mini-Site
  • Tournament Coverage
  • 2003 Masters Photo Gallery
  • Augusta National Course Tour
  • The Augusta National Membership Debate: A Chronology
     
    Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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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.”