Singh contends, speaks at Open

By Mercer BaggsOctober 13, 2013, 12:53 am

SAN MARTIN, Calif. – Vijay Singh spoke. That’s the biggest revelation through three rounds of the Open.

He’s not leading the tournament entering the final round, but he’s close. Following a Saturday 65, he’s three shots behind leader Brooks Koepka, who shot 67 in Round 3 to reach 15 under.

“The goal was to get to 12 under. Had a shaky start there, but played well in the middle,” Singh said. “If I putt well, I’m going to score well.”

Singh had one eagle, five birdies and one bogey in the third round at CordeValle Golf Club. His eagle came at the par-4 17th, when he nearly made a hole-in-one. Singh’s drive came to rest 1 foot 4 inches from the cup. Open: Articles, videos and photos

That got him within one of the lead at the time and had media folk wondering: Will he talk?

And so it was, at 5:08 p.m. PT, Singh spoke on the record to a small group of reporters. For the first time since Oct. 13, 2012, at this event, there was a Tour transcript of a Singh conversation.

A quick timeline of events:

• 4:51 p.m.: Singh walks up the par-4 18th hole. No one announces the group so there is no crowd reaction.

• 5 p.m.: After he just misses a 27-foot birdie putt, fans give him an enthusiastic applause.

• 5:04 p.m.: Singh enters the scoring trailer. PGA Tour media official John Bush hopes to get Singh to do a live Golf Channel sit-down with Todd Lewis, an XM Radio interview and a media scrum. Singh agrees to the scrum and Lewis.

• 5:08 p.m.: Singh speaks to two writers, one Golf Channel producer and one radio reporter for two minutes and 13 seconds. No one brings up his lawsuit against the PGA Tour. No one wants to send him scurrying. Or get pummeled.

• 5:11 p.m.: Singh sits down with Lewis. “How many questions,” he asks. “I’m going to ignore any question I don’t want to answer.”

• 5:14 p.m.: Singh leaves Lewis and goes to sign autographs. He doesn’t engage much with fans, just saying “thank you” when they complement and encourage him. But he signs for most everyone and even poses for a few photos.

• 5:17 p.m.: He’s gone like Keyser Soze.

He was almost … pleasant. It certainly helps when you’ve just put yourself in contention to win your first Tour title since 2008, and the 35th in your Hall of Fame career.

“I’m not in the lead, so coming from behind is much easier than being in the lead,” he said. “(I) haven’t won for a long time, but I feel good. If I keep playing well, there is not much nerves. (I'm) striking the ball good and driving the ball really well and the putts have gone in, so it’s a good feeling.”

Asking Singh a question is like talking to a unicorn. You knew they existed but you didn’t know they could speak.

The reason such a minor thing is news-making –  if you missed the entire 2013 season – is because of Singh’s lawsuit. He is suing the PGA Tour for “violating its duty of care and good faith.” In January of this year, Singh was quoted in a Sports Illustrated article as using deer-antler spray, which contains IGF-1. The chemical was banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, by which the Tour models its anti-doping policy.

The Tour treated Singh’s quotes as an admission of guilt and suspended him for 90 days. Singh appealed. WADA later reviewed IGF-1 and took it off its list of banned substance. The Tour dropped its case against Singh on April 30. Singh filed suit nine days later for defamation.

And here we are, suit still lingering, Singh back contending. It’s been awhile since he was in this position. His last top 10 on Tour came last year at CordeValle; though, he did tie for sixth in his Champions Tour debut last month.

Lewis, who has a good working relationship with Singh, asked him if all the hubbub had been a distraction to him. Singh did not ignore the question.

“Personally, yes. Professionally, bigger yes. It kind of messed up my whole season,” he said. “I’m re-energizing. Still not over it yet, but focused on my game.”

Will Singh win again? Will he speak again? The answers may be one day away.

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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.”

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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.”