Sorenstam to Play at Colonial

By Golf Channel NewsroomFebruary 12, 2003, 5:00 pm
Annika Sorenstam will play in the Bank of America Colonial May 22-25, fthe first woman to play in a mens tournament since Babe Zaharias competed in the Los Angeles Open in 1945.
 
Sorenstam's husband, David Esch, confirmed his wife's decision early Wednesday morning. Esch said the details were worked out over the phone late Tuesday night.
 
Last week there was speculation that the club's members didn't want to be the first men's tournament for Sorenstam. But that position shifted abruptly over the weekend when it became apparent that the tournament's new title sponsor, The Bank of America, wanted Sorenstam to play in the tournament.
 
The official press release came out late Wednesday morning. 'Our tournament has historically recognized and supported exceptional players who otherwise would not qualify for our invitational event,' remarked tournament chairman Dee Finley. Annikas accomplishments show that she is certainly deserving. The Colonial Country Club and our board of governors are excited that Annika has accepted our invitation to play.
 
Sorenstam said, 'All the attention and speculation are flattering, and I appreciate that the Bank of America Colonial golf tournament is giving me this opportunity to compete in a PGA Tour event. There were many invitations, but the golf course and schedule of the Colonial were ideal. For all the well-wishers who want to know why I would accept such a challenge, the answer is simple: I am curious to see if I can compete in a PGA Tour event.
 
Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, is listed at 7,080 yards and is
believed to be one of the tour's best suited courses to Sorenstam's game
which is predicated on precision. The course is tree-lined, tight and usually
runs hard and fast.
 
Corpening pointed out that part of the club's initial reluctance to have
Sorenstam play there was what he called the 'spectacle' that arose at
Colonial in 1997. That year their tournament was the first time Tiger Woods
and Fuzzy Zoeller got together after Zoeller's widely circulated off-color
remarks about Woods earlier in the season following Woods' first Masters
victory.
 
Phil Mickelson, for one, welcomes Sorenstam to the competition.
 
'Most of the guys hit 2-iron or 3-wood off those tees and Annika will hit driver,' she said. 'So they are about the same. I don't think their is much of a disadvantage at all. And the fairways are always fast, so it's not like you have to fly it a long way.
 
'I think it's a perfect venue for her.'
 
Sorenstam won 13 times worldwide in 2002 and is clearly the best woman golfer
in the world at the moment.
 
LPGA commissioner Ty Votaw was supportive of Sorenstam's decision.
 
As I have always said, Annika is one of the greatest players the game of golf has ever seen,' said Votaw, 'She has given fans around the world reason to stand up and take notice, as she has shattered record after record and collected more trophies in the past 10 years than anyone ever imagined possible. It is wonderful that the Bank of America Colonial wants to also showcase Annikas immense talent'to share with fans, sponsors and players alike how very special her game and drive to succeed are. We completely support Annikas decision to accept an invitation to compete at the Bank of America Colonial.
 
Regardless of what may be written in the weeks and months to come, this is Annika vs. Annika. Its about Annika challenging herself and breaking down barriers'never stopping in her quest to improve and test her abilities. This sends an empowering and inspiring message to young women and girls everywhere, to set new goals, to have no boundaries or limitations and to be the very best they can be.
 
This same week on the LPGA Tour, the LPGA Corning Classic will celebrate its 25th anniversary. For the past 25 years, it has been a favorite stop on the tour because of its fabulous fans, fantastic community support and a dedicated corporate sponsor in Corning Inc. Certainly fans of the LPGA Corning Classic will miss seeing Annika compete, but they will enjoy a strong field of the very best women golf professionals in the world. I am confident, however, that Annika will make it a priority to participate in the LPGA Corning Classic in 2004, her first full season as an LPGA Tour Hall of Fame member, or in future years.
 
This will be an historic event in golf. No woman has played in a regular
men's PGA Tour event since Zaharias in 1945. Zaharias competed twice in LA, missing the cut the first time before making the first cut in 45. She consequently missed the 54-hole cut. The PGA Tour does not have 54-hole cuts any longer.
 
The Colonial is played at the same time as the Corning Classic on the LPGA Tour. However, Sorenstam has not played there for several years.
 
Kraig Kann and Brian Hewitt contributed to this report
 
Discussion Boards: Annika on the PGA Tour
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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.”