Where does Furyk's 59 rank among the rest?

By Jason SobelSeptember 13, 2013, 11:52 pm

It was only minutes after Jim Furyk had drained a 3-foot, 3-inch birdie putt on the ninth hole of the BMW Championship’s second round on Friday when I took to Twitter in an attempt to provide perspective in regard to the most recent history-maker on the PGA Tour.

You can't really 'rank' the 59s. But let's do it anyway: 1. Duval; 2. Geiberger; 3. Appleby; 4. Furyk; 5. Beck; 6. Goydos.

Reaction – as it almost always is within social media – was mixed. Some people said I nailed it. Some thought I was way off. PGA Tour pro Arron Oberholser, whom I respect and whom had already tweeted that the first-ever 59 remains the best, shot back, “Are you kidding me Sobel?”

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Others didn’t so much contest my ranking as ask for an explanation. So here it is.

There’s no wrong answer here, but there are two different schools of thought. One looks more closely at the round itself – the difficulty of the conditions, the separation from the rest of the field, the par number on the scorecard. And then there’s mine, which takes into account the pressure of the moment – when trying to win the golf tournament in the final round, when needing a big shot on the final hole, when attempting to become the first to accomplish the feat.

That’s how I came up with my ranking. Let’s break down the Dirty Half-Dozen:

1. David Duval: PGA West (Palmer Course, par 72); Bob Hope Chrysler Classic final round; Jan. 24, 1999.
This 59 occurred on a birdie-binge course in the desert, but is etched with everything necessary to call it the best ever. It came on a Sunday afternoon, was a 13-under-par score and gave Duval the tournament victory. Toss in the fact that he was throwing darts all day and actually eagled the final hole to erase a seven-shot deficit and win by a single stroke. Doesn’t get much more dramatic than that.

2. Al Geiberger: Colonial Country Club (par 72); Memphis Classic second round; June 10, 1977.
If you include The Open Championship, they’d been playing eventual PGA Tour-sanctioned rounds for 117 years before Geiberger became golf’s version of Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile. That in itself is enough to forever keep it amongst the best 59s, but throw in the fact that – unlike his brethren in the exclusive club – he was using persimmon woods and balata balls on a 7,300-yard course, and the achievement remains truly remarkable to this day.

3. Stuart Appleby: The Greenbrier (Old White Course, par 70); Greenbrier Classic final round; August 1, 2010.
Let’s face it: The Old White wasn’t exactly a fire-breathing dragon of a golf course in its first year on the PGA Tour schedule and at par 70, Appleby “only” had to post a score of 11-under. Even so, it came on a Sunday afternoon and led to a trophy and oversized check presentation afterward. In my book, that outweighs almost every other weekday round of the same score.

4. Jim Furyk: Conway Farms (par 71); BMW Championship second round; Sept. 13, 2013.
The numbers are impossible to argue. Furyk’s 59 on Friday the 13th was a scary six shots better than the next-best score of the day and more than 12 shots better than the field’s scoring average. And that’s against a field of 69 other elite players, with no also-rans anchoring down that number. In windy conditions and with some bouncy greens, the only 59 on the PGA Tour to feature a bogey was a thing of beauty.

5. Chip Beck: Sunrise GC (par 72); Las Vegas Invitational third round; Oct. 11, 1991.
It took 14 years for another player to match Geiberger’s feat, but Beck’s scorecard was immaculate, with 13 red circles and five pars. Perhaps just as interesting was this quote from the longtime pro after Duval matched him eight years later: “Actually, I wish he had broken the record and shot 58. I think it will happen soon, and I hope it does. That's the next level.” We’re still waiting.

6. Paul Goydos: TPC Deere Run (par 71); John Deere Classic first round; July 8, 2010.
Let’s be real here: There’s no such thing as “last place” on a ranking of PGA Tour 59s. It’s like being ranked last on a list of dates with Kate Upton. But Goydos clearly had the best sense of humor after his record-tying number. 'Most people try to shoot their age,” he deadpanned. “I shot my height.'

As if it isn’t difficult enough to rank these six – and again, there really is no wrong answer – my initial tweet was followed by this one from a legend who posted 59 in the second round of the 1974 Brazil Open:

Uh-oh. Valid request and a potentially fun project – and I try to never let down a legend. Looks like it’s back to the research archives for me ...

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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.”