Open Closed

By Mercer BaggsJune 18, 2000, 4:00 pm
With no peers in the present to battle, Tiger Woods had but one foe on Sunday -- history. Woods made a run for the records in the final round of the 100th U.S. Open, and successfully finished the race. Woods shot a record-breaking 12-under-par total to win his third professional major championship by a never before seen 15-stroke margin.
Tiger began the day at 8-under-par, ten shots clear of his nearest competitor. The trophy was his. The $800,000 winner's check was his. A place in history was his. He just had to play 18 holes to make it official.
Tiger's day began with nine consecutive pars. Certainly, it was good enough to win the title, but it wasn't good enough to break the records -- and that's what this round was all about. Don't let Tiger fool you. He might appear aloof when asked about his place in the game's record books, but there's a white-hot fire burning inside of him that belies his demeanor. After all, you don't get that perturbed by making pars in the final round of the U.S. Open, particularly when you have a double-digit lead!
Woods finally broke his string of pars with a birdie at the par-4 10th to move to 9-under-par. But the game didn't truly begin until the par-3 12th. It was there that Tiger sank an 18-footer for birdie, thus becoming just the second man in history to reach double digits at any time in a U.S. Open.
Twelve-under was the next goal for Woods. That was the height reached by Gil Morgan in the third round in the Open at Pebble Beach in 1992.
Woods came within one of that number by nearly holing his approach at the par-4 13th. The resulting birdie moved him to 11-under for the tournament. One hole later, Tiger reached the 12-under total by birdying the par-5 14th.
Now that he had tied the lowest score at any point in Open history, the next step was to break it. He nearly did on the 15th, but left his birdie attempt inches short.

The par-4 16th looked to be a pitfall for Woods. He missed the green long, and pitched past the hole 15 feet. Faced with that putt to remain at 12-under, Woods forcefully rolled it in. He called it the high point of his round.
Tiger safely parred the 17th, and then approached the par-5 18th. There wasn't quite the atmosphere experienced on the 72nd hole as there was a year ago at Pinehurst, but there was still some drama. You knew Tiger was going to break a number of records, but which ones? And, how many?
In the end, Tiger mercifully ended the 100th U.S. Open by sinking a three-footer for par. He shot a 4-under-par 67 on Sunday. Not just a bogey-free round, but also the best of the day by all involved. He finished the tournament at 12-under-par 272 - 15 shots beyond Ernie Els and Miguel Angel Jimenez, who tied for second.
'The day, and all week, I had a sense of calmness that I haven't had in quite a while,' Woods said. 'It was reminiscent of Augusta in '97. No matter what happened, I was able to keep my composure and focus on the shot I needed to make.'
The U.S. Open records Tiger set are as follows: largest 36-hole lead (6 strokes), largest 54-hole lead (10 strokes), largest winning margin (15 strokes; breaking not only the Open record, but the major championship record which was previously 12 strokes, held by Old Tom Morris at the 1862 British Open), lowest 72-hole score in relation to par (12-under).
In addition, Woods tied the 36-hole total of 134 set by Jack Nicklaus (1980) and Lee Janzen (1993). He also tied the same two with a 72-hole total of 272. He became just the fifth wire-to-wire winner (no ties) in the U.S. Open, and the first since Tony Jacklin in 1970. Tiger also established himself as the first man in golf history to win the U.S. Junior-Am, U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open.
Some may feel that records are just numbers, and can't be used in determining greatness. But when there's no one at your present level, what else can you use but the past as a barometer.
How great can great be? It's fun to speculate, but difficult to answer; especially when you can't fully understand how great Tiger Woods is right now.
'The guy's unbelievable, man,' said Els, a two-time Open champion himself. 'I'm running out of words. Gimme a break. The guys unbelievable.'
Even the greatest wordsmiths are running out of adjectives to describe Tiger. And he's only 24-years-old.
Yes, this was a U.S. Open. Yes, this was Pebble Beach. Yes, Tiger won by 15. It wasn't competitive, but it was astounding. Simply put, Tiger Woods was and is too dominant to comprehend.
*Tiger Woods adds the 2000 U.S. Open to his major resume, which includes the 1999 PGA Championship and 1997 Masters Tournament. He will try to complete the career Grand Slam in next month's British Open at the Old Course at St. Andrews.
*John Huston was the only American besides Tiger who finished in the top-7.
*Retief Goosen holed an approach shot on the par-5 18th to finish the tournament in a tie for 12th, thus earning an exemption into the 2001 U.S. Open.
*How important is hitting fairways? Colin Montgomerie led the field by hitting 82%, but finished tied for 46th in the event.
*Woods led the tournament in greens hit in regulation (71%) and driving distance (299.3 avg.)
*Nick Faldo led the tournament in putting, averaging 26 putts per round.
*The par-71 Pebble Beach course played to a 75.355 overall scoring average.
*Holes 8-10 ranked 2nd, 1st and 5th respectively in overall difficulty.
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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.”