Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 1, 2008, 5:00 pm
In Backspin, takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf ' with a spin.

SPLIT PERSONALITIES: Tiger Woods and General Motors parted ways after a nine-year partnership. The cash-strapped company said in a statement that it is looking to reduce costs, and that the worlds No. 1 player also wants more personal time as he expects his second child.
Backspin Woods was reportedly making $7 million a year from GM, primarily promoting Buick. Oh, how will he survive in this economy? Guess he'll have to go back to work in 2009.

THANKS, BUDDY: Stuart Appleby, upset at John Daly's inclusion in the Australian Masters, referred to Daly as a 'walking train wreck.' Appleby was miffed that Daly had received a sponsor's invitation to compete, despite his numerous ' and recent ' personal problems.
Backspin Daly took the high road in discussing the remarks with the media, saying he was trying to focus on his golf and not what others were saying about him. Still, it had to burn. And you just know he wants to punch Appleby in the nose. In the end, both players had time to reflect, as both missed the cut and had the weekend off.

DOWN UNDER DRAMA: Rod Pampling outlasted compatriot Marcus Fraser in a tough, three-hole sudden-death playoff to win his first Australian Masters.
Backspin In addition to native son Pampling's victory, and aside from the abovementioned brouhaha between Appleby and Daly, Australian golf fans also were witness to Robert Allenby's emotional finish on Sunday in which his ailing mother ' diagnosed with liver cancer ' arrived at the course to watch her son try and win one last event. Coming up short, Allenby later tried to sum up his feelings in a press conference, saying, 'Obviously, you know, just the thought, of . . . I think you can put two and two together without me even saying it.'

BIG, FAT (AND SKINNY) CHECK: K.J. Choi was the big winner over the weekend at Indian Wells as he topped Phil Mickelson, Rocco Mediate and defending champion Stephen Ames to win the 2008 edition of the LG Skins Game.
Backspin Besides collecting a cool $415,000 in cash, Choi also locked up a return visit, as the champion is automatically invited back the next year. Already a tough sell going up against a weekend full of college football and the NFL, the name Choi ' no offense to smiling and friendly South Korean ' does not bode well for ratings at next years event. Much like the FedEx Cup, this event definitely needs some tweaking. Speaking of which...

IS CHANGE GOOD?: PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem announced several changes to the FedEx Cup, beginning in 2009. Primarily, under the new formula, points that previously had been reset at the start of the four-tournament playoffs will not be changed until the Tour Championship, meaning all 30 players who qualify for the finale will have a mathematical chance to win.
Backspin So far Finchem and company are 0-for-2 when it comes to producing playoff drama. Tiger skipped an event in 2007 and still won, while Vijay Singh claimed the $10 million prize this year, before the final tournament. Will it now work? It all depends on who it comes down to in the end. If it involves Tiger and some other top players, then it worked. If it involves Briny Baird and Kevin Sutherland, then it didn't.

CENTER STAGE: Robert Karlsson and Henrik Stenson roared back from a four-stroke deficit with a closing 9-under 63 in alternate-shot format to win the Omega World Cup. It was Sweden's second-ever win in the event.
Backspin The victory is just another feather in the cap for Karlsson, who has enjoyed the best year of his burgeoning career. Two victories on the European Tour, the Order of Merit title, rising all the way up to sixth in the world rankings and now a World Cup winner. And as fellow Swede Annika Sorenstam exits stage left, it is now Karlsson who will be center stage for Swedish golf fans.

GOOSE BUMPS: Sorenstam captained her International team a 12 - 11 victory at the Lexus Cup in Singapore. Sorenstam won her Sunday singles match against longtime friend and foe Se Ri Pak and later admitted she experienced goose bumps after goose bumps.
Backspin With just one event remaining ' this week's Dubai Ladies Masters ' before she 'steps away,' it was nice to see Annika the Great taste victory at least one more time. And although it wasn't an individual title, a team-styled win was relished all the same for the Hall of Famer, who added, There is nothing like a team event and, when you pull it all together, the atmosphere and camaraderie is one of a kind. So, too, is Annika.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Tiger wasn't the only player with whom GM severed ties. They also ended Fred Couples' 16-year run with Cadillac. ... A charity golf tournament cut ties with troubled former pitcher Roger Clemens after four years.
Backspin Did anyone ever associate Couples with Cadillac? We also associated him with La-Z-Boy. ... Clemens has been linked to steroid use, and no one else ' especially not a charitable organization trying to raise funds ' wants that kind of stigma.

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage ' World Cup
  • Full Coverage ' Australian Masters
  • Full Coverage ' LG Skins Game
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  • American Junior Golf Association

    Junior golfer's amazing run: ace, albatross, birdie

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 11:03 pm

    While most of the golf world had its attention focused on Scotland and The Open Championship at Carnoustie on Thursday, the REALLY remarkable performance of the day was taking place in Halifax, Mass.

    There, in an American Junior Golf Association tournament, a 16-year-old Thai player made a hole-in-one and an albatross on consecutive holes.

    According to the AJGA, Conor Kelly holed a 5-iron shot on the 198-yard, par-3 eighth hole. It was his first hole-in-one. He then holed a 4-iron second shot from 220 yards on the 480-yard ninth holer for the albatross. (We're gonna go out on a limb and say it was his first albatross.)

    Certainly a nice way to make the turn - but Kelly wasn't finished. He birdied the par-4 10th for a 1-2-3 sequence on his scorecard. For the day, he shot a 5-under 67 in the AJGA Junior Golf Hub Championship at the Country Club of Halifax.

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    McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1

    By Will GrayJuly 19, 2018, 10:10 pm

    They're both three shots off the lead, but after starting The Open with rounds in the 60s Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are now betting co-favorites to lift the claret jug at Carnoustie.

    McIlroy is four years removed from his Open triumph at Royal Liverpool, while Rahm remains in search of his first major title. Both carded rounds of 2-under 69 in Scotland to sit three shots off the lead of Kevin Kisner. While McIlroy started the tournament at 16/1 and Rahm at 20/1, they're now dead even at 10/1 in updated odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

    Kisner started the week at 200/1, but after an opening-round 66 he's quickly been trimmed to 25/1. Tony Finau sits one shot behind Kisner and is now listed behind only McIlroy and Rahm at 12/1 after starting the tournament at 60/1.

    On the other side of the coin, consensus pre-tournament betting favorite Dustin Johnson fell from 12/1 to 100/1 following an opening 76 while Masters champ Patrick Reed shot a 4-over 75 to plummet from 30/1 to 200/1. Trailing by five shots following an opening-round 71, Tiger Woods' odds remained unchanged at 25/1 as he seeks a 15th career major title.

    Here's a look at the revised betting odds heading into the second round at Carnoustie:

    10/1: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm

    12/1: Tony Finau

    14/1: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler

    20/1: Francesco Molinari

    25/1: Tiger Woods, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner

    30/1: Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka

    40/1: Ryan Moore, Jason Day

    50/1: Erik Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Matt Kuchar

    60/1: Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen, Russell Henley, Matthew Southgate

    80/1: Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Kevin Na

    100/1: Dustin Johnson, Zander Lombard, Sung Kang, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Chris Wood, Pat Perez, Luke List, Charley Hoffman

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    Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience

    By Randall MellJuly 19, 2018, 9:41 pm

    Two bad holes derailed Brittany Lincicome in her historic start Thursday at the Barbasol Championship, but they couldn’t wipe the smile off her face afterward.

    It might have been the most fun she ever had shooting a 78.

    Lincicome joined Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie as the only women to tee it up in a PGA Tour event when she striped her opening tee shot down the middle Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

    A double bogey at her ninth hole and a triple at her 16th might have spoiled her chances at joining Zaharias as the only women to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event, but it didn’t spoil her experience.

    “I did what I wanted to do, with having fun,” Lincicome said. “I think I nailed that part pretty well.

    “I love playing with the guys. It's so much fun, being inside the ropes with them. Hopefully, I can get a good one tomorrow.”

    Lincicome, 32, held her own for 16 holes, playing them in 1 over par, but those two big numbers left her tied for last place when she signed her scorecard, though other players remained on the course.

    At 6 over, Lincicome is 13 shots behind the leader, probably seven or eight shots off the projected cut line, but she savored the experience. She arrived wanting to inspire young girls to dream big, and to bring some extra attention to a title sponsor who means so much to her. She represents Pure Silk, part of the Barbasol family.

    Sam Ryder, who joined Conrad Shindler playing alongside Lincicome, was impressed with the way Lincicome carried herself.

    “I would play with her every day if she wanted to,” said Ryder, who opened with a 68. “She's just a great person.

    “Even though I know she's probably a little disappointed with her final score, she had a smile on her face all day.”

    Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, made her first birdie at her 12th hole, dropping a 30-foot putt, but she wasn’t happy with her putter much of the day. She missed three other good birdie chances, a 4-footer at her eighth hole, an 8-footer at her 10th and a 12-footer at the last.

    “Pretty happy with my game overall,” Lincicome said. “I had two bad holes, but I drove it well. I did all the things I said I needed to do, but my putter let me down today.”

    After piping her first drive, Lincicome opened with three consecutive pars.

    “I was actually calmer than I thought I was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. After the first tee shot, I was pretty happy that I found the fairway.”

    Lincicome said Ryder and Shindler made her feel welcome. So did the crowds.

    “It was great,” she said. “I could feel the energy of the crowd support me. Every time I hit a good driver or good shot, they would cheer for me, which was great.

    “Conrad and Sam were so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better pairing. They were very welcoming, and we were interacting, they were asking me questions, and it was great.”

    On Tuesday, Lincicome said a key to her play would be hitting fairways. She did that, hitting 10 of 14, but she was taking in longer clubs than she does in LPGA events, with Keene Trace set up at 7,168 yards. That’s 600 yards longer than she played last week at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic, where she finished second. She hit just 8 greens in regulation in this PGA Tour start.

    Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.” She is one of the LPGA’s longest drivers, but she was typically 30 to 40 yards behind Ryder and Shindler after hitting her driver. She averaged 259 yards per drive, Ryder 289 yards.

    “She had a couple birdie putts that she could have made,” Ryder said. “If she made a couple of those, might've been a little bit different, just to get a little bit of momentum. Who knows?”

    Lincicome’s biggest challenges were the par 3s.

    At the 18th, playing 195 yards, she mis-hit her tee shot, knocking it in the water, short of the green. She took a penalty, moved up to a forward tee, dropped and hit into a right greenside bunker. She got up and down from there for a 5.

    At the seventh, playing 198 yards, she missed wild right and deep. From a tough spot in the rough, she left her pitch short of the green. She chipped her third past the hole and to the fringe, where she took three putts from 20 feet.

    Afterward, Lincicome wasn’t dwelling on the bad shots. She was focused on going to sign autographs for all the fans waiting for her, including all the little girls who came out to see her.

    “I need to go back over there and sign,” she said. “Any time I can influence a child, especially a girl, obviously I want to get them involved with the LPGA, as much as possible.”

    Her overall assessment of her day?

    “It was a great experience,” she said.

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    Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

    NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

    Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

    Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

    1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.