Behind the Scenes at The Barclays

By Kraig KannAugust 23, 2007, 4:00 pm
Truth be told, Im still trying to wrap my arms around this 'Cup.' And believe me, Im not alone. Enthusiastic about something new and the possibility that it could be great? Yes. Perplexed about 'points' and tournament withdrawls? Yes and yes.
On Wednesday at Westchester Country Club I hosted the awards luncheon for the folks at Barclays after the morning pro-am. Good fun and a happy bunch of competitors who had a chance to rub elbows with some of the biggest names in this weeks field.
Open Championship winner Padraig Harrington stopped in for lunch ' with no strings attached - which was impressive. Vijay Singh as well, who ' from my vantage point - looked to tell more than a few good stories and signed more than a couple autographs for youngsters with a strong will and a good Sharpie. And so, too, did Ian Poulter.
PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem was on hand for a short time, working the room, saying hello and chatting up the weeks first playoff event with those in attendance. He asked me if I was fired up for the event.
My response went something like this ' I actually am. It should be interesting to see how this thing works out.
It was as honest as I could be given some of the questions I have regarding the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup.
And as many questions as I have, there are also those who in the field who have questions. And plenty of them.
* Jim Furyk compared these playoffs to the NFL where only division winners and two wild cards from each conference make the playoffs as compared to golf where a whopping 144 make it. Do the percentages of the sports make-up of teams/players and golf suddenly seems strange. Hes right. 125 are exempt for next year but 144 make the playoffs? Just asking.
* Vijay Singh said in as many words at his news conference that he was a bit tired of all the hype about the FedExCup. And Im sure he didnt much enjoy the questions about Tigers whereabouts this week.
* Charlie Hoffman and D.J. Trahan were out at a restaurant early this week, sitting at their table and trying to figure out how the points worked and what each would have to do to get to the next event. Trahan is No. 115 and Hoffman is No. 46, which means Trahan needs a good week, and Hoffman will advance to next week regardless of whether he makes the cut. And given that the field is just 70 in Chicago for the BMW Championship in two weeks ' Hoffmans in good shape there, too.
Heres one for you: PGA TOUR models run before the season couldnt find a winner from outside No. 13 on the points list no matter how many times the computer tried to spit one out which doesnt bode well for guys like Hoffman and Trahan anyway - and players know it.
Heck, the St. Louis Cardinals got into the playoffs with the worst record among the playoff teams last year but won the World Series. So shouldnt number 144 in this playoff have a legitimate chance? (If he wins three in a row ' he might)
What I dont understand (yet) is why the fascination with points. Golf has always been about a money list. And why model it after NASCAR anyway? Im no NASCAR expert but in that sport Sunday payouts are quite different than golf. Drivers earn money for laps led and thus a guy who finishes 4th in a race could stand to make much less that a driver who a) won the pole or b) finished 20th but led far more laps than the winner of the race prior to a crash.
Tiger Woods should be rewarded for dominating the PGA TOUR all year. But as much as I see it being similar to a team like the Chicago Bears who ' because of the NFCs best record in 2006 - earned a first-round bye, I still have trouble with his absence. Woods may very well still win this thing.
In talking to players and media members ' who are all equally perplexed at this stage ' I cant help but wish it were just about the money.
So, thinking out loud, and having been bombarded with conversation this week in New York from players and media members and spectators, heres my early wish to tweak things for 2008 ' without this years first run having even reached the weekend.
1. Go ahead and re-set the MONEY after the regular season, giving the regular season money leader a bonus of $2.5 million for his efforts. But give him a head start on the rest of the playoff participants for the four playoff events with $500,000 going to his playoff money total. In other words, Tiger Woods starts at the Barclays with $500,000. To benefit the others in the Top 5 give them each $200,000 and everyone else starts at zero.
2. Top 144 on money list play the Barclays. Top 100 in money play the Deutsche Bank Championship. Top 70 play the BMW and Top 30 play the TOUR Championship. That head start combined with shear talent should allow for the TOURs biggest names to advance to the final event. Money is easier to figure out than points.
3. Player with most money earned after the TOUR Championship wins the FedExCup. Simple as that. But, as has been suggested, lets add some drama on the first tee of the TOUR Championship with a FedEx Ground Truck backing up to the tee and dropping off a stack of $10 million that goes to the winner.
My greatest concern is how Sunday at the TOUR Championship plays out. What if the leader of the FedExCup playoffs is in the 8th group of the tee on Sunday and nowhere near the lead of the tournament? Who gets the airtime? Whats more important ' winning the tournament or the FedExCup?
And what if it comes down to the last hole, and Jim Furyk needs a birdie 3 to win the golf tournament but just a 7 to win the FedExCup? Does he play to win or play not to lose the FedEx Cup?
Things you dont have to think about in the NFL, now do you.
As always, I welcome your thoughts.
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann
Getty Images

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.



Getty Images

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.”

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.”