European Tour Season Begins in Taiwan

By Golf Channel NewsroomNovember 20, 2002, 5:00 pm
Padraig Harrington was in for a bit of a shock when he arrived in Taiwan for this weeks BMW Asian Open. It seems he didnt dress properly.
 
'This is my first trip to Taiwan and I was expecting it to be warmer. I didn't bring any sweaters with me,' he said. Apparently he didn't expect chilly weather, though it is now the third week of November.
 
Harrington is hoping to get a jump-start in his quest to become Europe's No. 1 player as another European Tour begins. The Irishman finished runner-up for the second straight year to South African Retief Goosen in Europe when the season ended two weeks ago.
 
The tournament, the first in the 2003 season, actually is played more than a month before the 2002 year ends. Asia's richest tournament outside of Japan, it is also the third last leg on the Asian PGA-run Davidoff Tour.
 
'I've had a solid year and I'm happy that I've played nicely and feel I can improve majors, said Harrington. I learned a lot of good stuff and played pretty solid in all the majors.
 
'I featured in the skins game in Singapore on Sunday and finished second again, as usual (behind Goosen). My game is not quite there, I just need to do a bit of things but it'll be OK.
 
Harrington, who has won five times in Europe and a string of runner-up outings, displayed his major credentials by finishing tied for fifth in the Masters and British Open, tied for eighth in the U.S. Open and tied for 11th at the PGA Championship this year.
 
He played on Europe's winning side against the United States in the Ryder Cup in September, then went on to claim his first title of the year at the Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland the following week.
 
'I was in contention at some stage in the first three majors and I was happy with that form. It's very promising,' he said.
 
His main challenge at the BMW Asian Open could come from Thai standout Thongchai Jaidee, who finished second behind Colin Montgomerie at last week's TCL Classic in China after a stirring back-nine duel.
 
Other big names in Taiwan include defending champion Jarmo Sandelin, former Masters winners Jose Maria Olazabal and Ian Woosnam, Paul McGinley, who holed the winning putt in the Ryder Cup, Europe's captain Sam Torrance and American John Daly.
 
A weary Thongchai, who has played regularly in Japan this year, is ready to soldier on in his bid to regain his Davidoff Tour money tiyle. The former paratrooper earned widespread praise from Montgomerie, who rated Thongchai as 'the best Asian player that I've played with.'
 
'I'm a bit tired after a hectic season, but finishing second behind Colin Montgomerie has given me a boost and the chance to finish the year as No. 1 in Asia again. It's good to be back for the BMW Asian Open as I finished joint second here last year.
 
'While my aim is to win the Order of Merit (money title), it could so easily change as this week's purse is the biggest one on our tour,' said Thongchai, who will be playing in his 37th event of the year this week.
 
Thongchai, who will play the first two rounds with Olazabal and Daly, leads the merit battle with a haul of $183,014, with previous pacesetter Arjun Atwal of India in second place, who has won $177,674. But with a first prize check of $250,050 this week, the scenario could change dramatically after the BMW Asian Open.
 
Atwal, who won the European Tour-sanctioned Caltex Singapore Masters in February, is hoping to regain some form. 'I've been struggling of late, so the important thing for me is to play some decent golf here. I'll aim to keep things easy and just hit fairways and greens and make some putts,' said the Indian star.
 
Defending champion Sandelin, who came to Asia at the end of last year to 'make some Christmas shopping money', is hoping to get the perfect wedding gift as he will marry long-time sweetheart Linda in Stockholm next month.
 
'It's good to come back as the defending champion. I've not won back-to-back titles in my career, so maybe history will be made here this week. I'm getting married next month and it'll be nice to have some money for the wedding this time!' said the Swede.
 
'After winning the BMW Asian Open last year, I played very well for next few months. But after that, I changed my swing. I've started analysing my golf swing with a digital camera and then inputting the data into a swing analysis program this year. It's slowly coming together and I played well in my last event two weeks ago, so it is a nice time to find some form as I defend my title this week,' said Sandelin.
 
Getty Images

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.

 

 

Getty Images

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.”

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.”