Here's a thought: Love as Tiger's next coach

By John FeinsteinSeptember 16, 2014, 7:05 pm

Editor's Note: Click here for Davis Love's response.


Tiger Woods needs a new swing coach. Shortly after his lost year ended with a missed cut at the PGA Championship, Woods announced that he would no longer be working with Sean Foley.

The announcement came as no surprise. After all, Woods hadn’t won a major title since hiring Foley in 2010 and 2014 had been a disaster – even if injuries were a big part of the problem.

And so the speculation began – and continues, even though Woods said on Monday that he’s in no hurry to find a replacement.

Who will Woods hire next? The rumors that he would try to go back to Butch Harmon, who was his coach during his most dominant days, started instantly. That’s not happening. Harmon works with Phil Mickelson and Woods and Mickelson sharing a teacher would be roughly the equivalent of the Yankees and Red Sox sharing the same manager.

Hank Haney? Forget it – did you read the book?

Swing coaches worldwide have been mentioned. One list of candidates included the Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee – who wouldn’t be a bad choice – and Woods’ ex-wife, Elin Nordegren.

There’s one name that appeared on ZERO lists who would be the perfect pick for Woods, even though he’s never been a fulltime swing coach, mostly because it would have involved a massive pay cut.

Davis Love III.

Before you roll your eyes, give it some thought. Love is the son of the late Davis Love Jr. who was one of golf’s most revered and respected teachers before his tragic death in a private plane crash in 1988. Because of who his father was, Love grew up around great golf teachers – among them Harvey Penick – and has an understanding of the golf swing and how to fix swing flaws that goes beyond most of his peers on Tour.

For years, Love has been a go-to guy on the range when players are struggling. Golf is unique in that it is the one sport where competitors will help one another when one of them is struggling. Remember the last time Woods had a hot putter, back in 2013? He credited the improvement to a tip he got from Steve Stricker.

Love is a very confident teacher. Years ago, Tom Kite, who was one of Love’s mentors on Tour when he first came out, approached Love on the range in Greensboro and asked Love if he would take a look at his swing.

Love agreed – on one condition. “I don’t want to walk out here tomorrow and see you asking someone else for help,” he said. “I’ll tell you what I think but you better listen and you better not be trying something else a couple of days from now.”

Kite, as Love explained later, is one of those guys who is constantly seeking swing advice. “If a guy walked up to him on the street and suggested a change, Tom might listen to him.” Kite agreed and the two men went to work.

Love doesn’t just know the golf swing, he knows how to teach the golf swing. He’s been doing it in one form or another all his life.

There’s more – Woods likes Love, which is a statement that can’t be made about a lot of other players. He also respects him, which is an even shorter list. They’ve known each other since Woods first started playing Tour events as a teenage amateur. It is impossible not to like Love. Woods would listen to him and he would enjoy spending time with him. That’s no small thing. Plus, Love wouldn’t worry about telling Woods the truth about his swing or his game because he doesn’t need the job and won’t be worried about getting fired.

The timing is perfect. Love turned 50 in April. He can play on the PGA Tour forever because he has 20 victories, which makes him a member for life. He played 22 times on the PGA Tour this year and his highest finish was a tie for 35th place. Clearly, he could migrate to the Champions Tour whenever he wants and probably beat up 6,500-yard golf courses with slow greens.

But he doesn’t really want to do that. Back in June, he stood in the locker room at Congressional Country Club – during the event sponsored by Woods’ foundation – and talked about his future.

“I’m going to play here (PGA Tour) for as long as I can,” he said. “I know there will come a time when I have to go over there (Champions Tour) but I hope it isn’t for a while.”

Most top players feel that way when they turn 50. They still believe they can find the magic one more time while competing against the best in the world. Reality sets in at some point and off they go to the world of 54-hole, no cut tournaments. Love knows that time will come – but, at the moment, isn’t very fired up about it. (For the record, he'll make his senior debut this week in Hawaii.)

Why not take a hiatus for a couple of years and see if you can fix the greatest player (arguably) in golf history?

There will still be plenty of time to be successful on the Champions Tour if and when Love chooses to go there full time. He is already a lock Hall of Famer but this would be a unique addition to his resume.

Think of it: Won 20 times on the PGA Tour, including the 1997 PGA Championship; Played on six Ryder Cup teams and captained the 2012 Ryder Cup team; Fixed Tiger Woods.

Love can do it. He might even want to do it – if asked.

It isn’t as if there’s a no-brainer, this-is-the-guy-for-Tiger swing coach out there. Why not try something out of the box?

The last time inside the box worked in a tournament Woods truly cares about was six years, and two swing coaches, ago.

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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.”