Woods can unofficially pass Snead with Masters win

By Jason SobelApril 7, 2013, 1:00 pm

If he wins the Masters this week, Tiger Woods will become the PGA Tour’s all-time victory leader.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it – even if the PGA Tour doesn’t agree.

According to the official record books, Woods’ total of 77 career wins places him five behind Sam Snead’s 82, but numbers alone don’t tell the entire story.

Buried among the cumbersome agate is this reality: Five of those titles for Slammin’ Sam occurred with a partner. That’s right – more than 6 percent of his “individual” wins weren’t individual wins at all. Count ’em up. There was the 1938 Inverness Invitational Four-Ball with Vic Ghezzi; the 1939 Miami Biltmore International Four-Ball with Ralph Guldahl; the 1940 Inverness Invitational Four-Ball with Guldahl; the 1950 Inverness Invitational Four-Ball with Jim Ferrier; and the 1952 Inverness Invitational Four-Ball with Ferrier.

Photos: Woods' career PGA Tour wins

If that sounds inconsistent, it should – especially when you consider that neither of Woods’ team victories in the World Cup, nor his Presidents Cup wins nor that lone Ryder Cup triumph nor even any of his eye-rolling success in the Tavistock Cup (hey, it’s a “recognized” event by the PGA Tour, just not an “official” one) are part of the overall tally. Hell, he doesn’t even get to count the four trophies from his eponymous World Challenge – and he didn’t have any partners helping with those.

So why does Snead get credit for his team victories while Woods doesn’t? Glad you asked.

Since the PGA of America – which was the governing body over all professional events prior to the PGA Tour – was formed in 1916, a total of 62 team events were contested and considered official through the 1981 season.

About 25 years ago, the PGA Tour commissioned a blue-ribbon panel – though debate looms as to whether it was more blue than ribboned – to examine which events would remain official and which would be stricken from the record.

“On some of these,” explains PGA Tour executive vice president of communications Ty Votaw, “there was no guiding, absolute standard that applied to these things, other than to say if it was an official event recognized by the PGA of America in their media guide or on their official schedule.”

Because the panel deemed these 62 team events to be official, Snead maintains a 5-up lead over Woods in the race to history.

Of course, it’s not only Snead whose partnered wins boosted his total. Jack Nicklaus counts two team titles among his 73. Arnold Palmer also has two among his 62. And Ben Hogan owns eight team victories among his 64 on the official ledger.

There are also, as to be expected, plenty of other gray areas surrounding Snead’s overall number. While the panel allowed his five team wins, it likewise removed eight other victories that it considered unofficial based on the specifications. His 1946 Open Championship wasn’t considered sanctioned until just over a decade ago. And one of his wins – the 1950 Bing Crosby Pro-Am – was concluded as a four-way tie for the title with three others.

“We’ve looked at it subsequent to that,” Votaw says of the panel’s examination, “and we feel pretty good about the 82 number.”

Even so, it’s a number which has come under more scrutiny in recent years, with Woods edging ever closer to Snead’s official record.

“We examine it all the time,” Votaw continues. “Every time Tiger has gone toward this, we’ve looked at them. There are some examples where reasonable minds could differ. There could be some debate.”

In fact, just last year a footnote in history was rewritten. Somehow the winners of the 1972 National Team Championship – the venerable Kermit Zarley and Babe Hiskey, as if you didn’t know – weren’t credited with an official victory, even though their predecessors in the same event were. And so the wrong was righted, with Kermit and Babe taking slow play to the next level, needing 40 years to win a PGA Tour event.

Maybe 40 years from now, archeological researchers will unearth a time capsule that includes DVDs – remember those old things? – showing Woods’ team victories. They’ll count up the World Cup and Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup and – commence eye-rolling – even the Tavistock Cup wins and adjust his total to a number that is even further out of reach for future generations.

Or maybe we won’t have to wait that long. Instead, maybe Snead’s five team titles will be deemed unofficial for the simple fact that golf at the professional level is an individual pursuit.

One of the beauties of the game is that the head-to-head, every-man-for-himself quality has withstood for centuries. There are no teammates in golf. There are no others – save for caddies -- on whom a player can rely for assistance. Obviously there is a place for team competitions, but that place doesn’t belong among the overall total of a player’s professional victories.

Keep that in mind as you watch Tiger Woods this week. A win would be the 78th of his career, giving him sole possession of the all-time PGA Tour individual victory total – even if the PGA Tour doesn’t recognize the accomplishment.

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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.”