De-Ja Vu All Over Again

By Mercer BaggsJuly 21, 2000, 4:00 pm
Here we go again. Just as he did at Pebble Beach, Tiger Woods is threatening to run away with the British Open.
 
Woods, who went to bed trailing Ernie Els by one, stepped on the first tee Friday three strokes back of David Toms, who shot an early-morning 5-under 67 to move into the overall lead at 8-under-par. However, Tiger wasted little time establishing himself in the second round.
 
Woods birdied the 1st hole with a 12-foot putt, tapped in for another birdie at the 4th and nearly holed an eagle putt at the par-5 5th. His second consecutive tap-in gave him three birdies in five holes, and a share of the lead with Toms.
 
Aside from a half-hour wait on the 5th tee, all went according to plan for Woods on Friday. After a birdie at the 9th, Woods drove through the green on the 314-yard par-4 12th. He successfully got up and down for his fifth birdie of the day, then picked up No. 6 at the 14th to move three shots clear of Toms at 11-under. The only time he sniffed bogey was at 'The Road Hole' par-4 17th. Just off the road in two, Woods chipped past the flag, into a sloping backboard and watched as his ball came to rest within eight feet of the hole. He then sank a double-breaking par save and pointed with controlled enthusiasm at the cup. He parred out on 18 to shoot 6-under 66. Through 36 holes, he has yet to record a bogey.
 
'What you try to do in any tournament is not make a mistake,' Woods said. 'Bogeys aren't good for your scorecard.'
 
With a three-stroke lead and 36 holes to play, Woods was asked if he thought the tournament was over. He replied: 'Over? I don't have the trophy sitting next to me.'
 
Nicklaus waves goodbye to the Open ChampionshipAs was the case at the U.S. Open, where he won by 15, Woods began his second round as Jack Nicklaus was finishing his. Nicklaus said prior to the tournament, this would be his final Open appearance. Unfortunately, the three-time champion shot 77-73 to miss the cut. But before he bid adieu, Nicklaus stood on the Swilken Bridge, doffed his cap and waved it to the crowd. After missing a birdie putt on the 18th, the 60-year-old Nicklaus walked arm-and-arm with his son and caddie, Steve, blowing kisses to an appreciative crowd.
 
'St. Andrews always has a special place in my heart,' said Nicklaus, who won at this venue in 1970. 'For 20 years I was in contention almost every year. I will have great memories of playing here and the galleries have always been great to me.'
 
Many players were able to take advantage of the docile Scottish conditions in the second round, however, Els was not one of them. The overnight leader squandered opportunities early. He began his day by missing from six feet for birdie at the 1st. He then lipped out a 12-footer for birdie on the 2nd; and continued by three-putting for bogey at the 3rd.
 
'When you do that, those things really stop your momentum,' said Els. 'I thought I hit the ball well on the range but when I three-putted there I just stepped out of my rhythm a little bit.
 
'Then I three-putted the 9th as well, really from nowhere. I was very concerned about that because I fell back to 4-under and really way out of contention.'
 
Els rescued his round on the back nine with birdies at the 10th and 12th, but he completed his day by parring his final six holes to shoot an even-par 72, and remain at 6-under.
 
'It just wasn't a comfortable day, just one of those funny days,' Els said. 'Today was my bad round. I know I can play better than that over the weekend and I'll do that.'
 
Els is in a five-way tie for 6th with Fred Couples, Thomas Bjorn, Tom Lehman and Phil Mickelson. Mickelson was even par for the day, and the tournament, entering the inward half on Friday, but shot a back-nine 30 to climb into contention. The highlight of his day came at the par-4 12th, when he rolled in a 60-foot putt for eagle.
 
Woods will play the third round paired with Toms. In his first Open Championship, the 33-year-old had five birdies in an eight-hole stretch on Friday, beginning at the par-5 5th. Toms has had major success before. He shares the Masters record of 29 on the back nine at Augusta National, which he fired in 1998. He also finished tied for 16th at this year's U.S. Open.
 
'My first goal was to play on the weekend, just to see that experience with all the people out there,' Toms said. 'Now, looking at the whole experience, I guess I was a little cheap over the years and I did not want to spend the money to come over here to qualify.
 
'Looking back, I wish I would have,just to have the opportunity to have played it before. This is totally different. It is fun to see all the shots you can play.'
 
One shot back of Toms are Steve Flesch, Loren Roberts, who won last week's Greater Milwaukee Open, and Sergio Garcia. Garcia is certainly liking St. Andrews better than Carnoustie. This year, the 20-year-old Spaniard has shot rounds of 68-68; compared to last year when he shot 89-83.
 
Last year's lovable loser, Jean Van de Velde, is in a tie for 11th at 5-under-par. He's fared much better through two days than 1999 champion Paul Lawrie. Lawrie's reign as Open champion has come to an end after shooting 78-75 for a 9-over-par total.
 
The cut line fell at even par. Aside from Lawrie, Michael Campbell, who tied for 3rd at St. Andrews in 1995, 1994 champion Nick Price, 1995 champ John Daly and all four amateurs in the field failed to qualify for the weekend.
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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.”