Playoff FeverWe Got It

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 25, 2008, 4:00 pm
In Backspin, GolfChannel.com takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf ' with a spin.
 
JUST THE START OF THINGS: Vijay Singh closed out a dramatic first week of the FedExCup playoffs by topping Sergio Garcia on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff. It was Singhs second big win in the last month and vaulted him to atop The Playoffs standings.
 
Backspin As the Olympics finally came to a close, Singh and Garcia did their best to fill the void left in the drama department. And just when Garcia rolled in a long, long birdie putt on the first hole of sudden death, it appeared the Spaniard had finally caught a break. But Singh, not to be outdone, then decided to go all Padraig Harrington on him and struck back with a dagger of his own to force an extra hole. Another birdie of the following hole gave Singh his 33rd career PGA TOUR victory and again left Garcia on the outside looking in.
 

HELLO, WORLD: Danny Lee got up early against Drew Kittleson in the 36-hole U.S. Amateur final, withstood a rally from his opponent, then put the hammer down to secure a 5-and-4 victory to become the youngest winner in the events history, edging Tiger Woods by seven months in that department.
 
Backspin The historic victory caps off a wild few weeks for the 18-year-old Lee. A New Zealander who was born in South Korea, the top-ranked amateur is coming off a win at the prestigious Western Amateur and then an impressive tie for 20th at the PGA TOURs Wyndham Championship. Ironically, now comes the hard part for the teenager ' should he turn professional and give up his exemptions into the U.S. and British Opens, and an invitation to the Masters Tournament? Tough decisions for a teenager indeed.
 

WALKING ON WATER: Promoting the release of his new video game, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09, a new viral video surfaced where Woods walks on water and hits a shot off a lily pad. The video plays off a glitch in the 2008 game, where Woods could walk on water and hit a shot.
 
Backspin The folks at EA are certainly walking on thin ice considering how PC conscience today's society has become, which is probably why it was released on YouTube. But from a purely entertainment perspective, the video is golden. And heck, who knows, would it really be that surprising if there weren't any special effects involved?
 

KERR-TAIN CALL: Cristie Kerr rolled in a 15-footer for birdie to defeat Helen Alfredsson and Sophie Gustafson on the first playoff hole to win the Safeway Classic. It was the 11th career LPGA win for Kerr, who erased a four-shot deficit in the final round.
 
BackspinKerr was dynamite down the stretch, with birdies on four of the final seven holes including a 15-footer at the last to put her in the playoff. The win was not only her first of the season, but her first since capturing the U.S. Womens Open in 2007.
 

PADDY'S MOVE: Padraig Harrington has decided to take up a part-time residence in the United States, choosing White Oak Golf and Equestrian Community in western North Carolina as the site for his new home. Harrington, not surprisingly, will be a spokesman for the development.
 
BackspinAlso not surprising is the fact Harrington will probably be spending more time in the States and playing more on the PGA TOUR. As a newly minted three-time major champion ' joining Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh and Ernie Els ' the Irishman will no doubt start cashing in on his newfound superstardom and the financial windfall that comes with it. Life is good. Apparently even equestrian-like good!
 

TAKE A LOOK AT ME NOW: Another Irishman made a move this past week, as Northern Irishman Darren Clarke won the KLM Open on the European Tour to jump up in the standings on the Ryder Cup qualification list.
 
Backspin With only one week to go before the European ' and American ' team is finalized Clarke likely won't make it on his own merit. But his victory should make him a genuine candidate for a captain's pick. Nick Faldo's head must be spinning as he will likely have to choose from Clarke, Paul Casey and Ian Poulter. The one most hurt by all this is Colin Montgomerie, who can all but kiss Valhalla goodbye.
 

ONE AND DONE:For some, The Playoffs were over in the blink of an eye. Major champions Zach Johnson and David Toms each missed the cut at The Barclays and didn't make the top 120, which qualify for the upcoming Deutsche Bank Championship. Jason Bohn and Bob Tway decided not to play at The Barclays and are out of the playoffs as well.
 
Backspin Instead of being in New Jersey for The Barclays, Tway was in North Carolina caddying for his son, Kevin, at the U.S. Amateur. Last week only 24 players were out of the FedExCup picture, however this week the cutoff point is at 70th position. With less than 2,000 points separating 70th to 120th expect even more fireworks this week at the BMW Championship.
 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:Canada's Mike Weir sported a 'playoff beard' at last week's Barclays. Weir is currently featured in a commercial where hockey legend Wayne Gretzky advises the Canadian lefty to grow a beard for the FedExCup playoffs just as hockey players do for the Stanley Cup playoffs ... Scott Piercy won for the second time in two weeks on the Nationwide Tour at the NE Pennsylvania Classic ... Tom Kite fired to final round 66 to win the Boeing Classic by two strokes over Scott Simpson.
 
Backspin The first playoff beard in the history of the PGA TOUR, and of course it is sported by a Canadian. Since Weir finished in a tie for seventh, we can most likely expect it to stay. Here's to Weir keeping it and more importantly not trimming it 'It's been amazing. I felt it's been coming, even when I was 123rd on the money list,' Piercy said. Doubtful, but no one is arguing with his results Kite needed to birdie three of the last four holes to overtake Simpson, whose miss from 2 feet for par sealed his fate.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage -- The Barclays
  • Full Coverage -- U.S. Amateur
  • Full Coverage -- Boeing Classic
  • Full Coverage -- Safeway Classic Presented by Pepsi
  • Full Coverage -- The KLM Open
  • Full Coverage -- Northeast Pennsylvania Classic
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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

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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.”