Hall of Fame inductees boast impressive resumes

By Randall MellMay 6, 2013, 3:45 pm

A Hall of Fame class notably light on major championships will be inducted Monday in St. Augustine, Fla.

Fred Couples, Colin Montgomerie, Willie Park Jr., Ken Schofield and Ken Venturi will be honored at the St. Johns County Convention Center at the World Golf Village with the ceremony beginning at 6 p.m. Golf Channel’s telecast will air at 10 p.m.

The four former players being inducted combined to win just four major championships but also made marks beyond those stages.

NBC’s Dan Hicks will host the induction ceremony.

Couples, 53, won 15 PGA Tour titles and one major, the Masters in 1992. He qualified for induction garnering 51 percent of the vote in the Hall of Fame balloting. Though 65 percent is required for induction, a special provision grants membership to the leading vote-getter, provided nobody garners the minimum and the vote-getter pulls at least 50 percent of the vote. Couples will be presented Monday evening by CBS’ Jim Nantz.

Montgomerie, 49, one of three Scots being inducted, won 31 European Tour titles without a major among them. He was elected through the international ballot, also via special provision after garnering just 51 percent of the vote. He will be presented by European Tour chief executive George O’Grady.

Venturi, 81, won 14 PGA Tour titles and one major, the U.S. Open in 1964, but he also made his mark as CBS’ golf analyst for 35 years. He was elected through the lifetime achievement category. Venturi is recovering from surgery and will not be able to attend the ceremony. Nantz will present and represent Venturi.

Park Jr., a Scot who died in 1925, won the British Open twice.

Schofield, 67, yet another Scot, was the executive director during the rise of the European Tour from 1975-2004. He was elected through the lifetime achievement category. Former USGA executive director David Fay will present him.

Here are capsules of the five inductees:


Fred Couples

• His 15 PGA Tour titles include two Players Championships (1984, ’96). His Masters triumph was among a dozen top-five finishes in majors.

• After winning the ’92 Masters, Couples became the first American to become No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Nicknamed “Boom Boom,” Couples was a power player with one of the smoothest swings in the game. He ranks among the most popular players in his generation.

• He won PGA Tour Player of the Year awards in 1991 and ’92. He also won the Vardon Trophy for low scoring average those years.

• Has won eight Champions Tour events.

• Has captained the Americans to Presidents Cup victories in 2009 and ’11, played on five Ryder Cup teams and four Presidents Cup teams. He is also the 2013 Presidents Cup captain.


Colin Montgomerie

• With those 31 European titles, Montgomerie was a force on that tour, winning eight Order of Merit titles, including seven in a row (1993-99). No British player has won more European Tour titles.

• Montgomerie never won a major, but he came close, finishing second five times, including playoff losses to Ernie Els in the 1994 U.S. Open at Oakmont and to Steve Elkington in the 1995 PGA Championship at Riviera.

• Montgomerie played in eight Ryder Cups, helping the Euros win five of them. No European has won more Ryder Cups. Montgomerie was 20-9-7 in the matches and was never beaten in singles (6-0-2). He captained the Euros to victory in 2010 at Celtic Manor.


Willie Park Jr.

• Park won the British Open in 1887 and ’89. He’s the son of World Golf Hall of Famer Willie Park Sr., who won four British Opens, including the inaugural championship in 1860.

• A pioneer in club and ball design, Park Jr. made his mark beyond that of a player. He was also an architect and writer.


Ken Schofield

• Became the European Tour’s executive director in 1975 and reigned until 2004, a time of unprecedented growth for the tour. When Schofield came aboard, the European Tour schedule featured just 17 events. There were 45 on the schedule when he retired. He also oversaw the creation of the European Challenge Tour and the European Senior Tour.

• Schofield steered the European Tour toward global expansion, opening doors that would lead the tour to Africa and Asia. Schofield took the tour off the continent for the first time in 1982 with the start of the Tunisian Open.


Ken Venturi

• In one of the most dramatic conclusions in the history of the U.S. Open, Venturi won in 1964 at Congressional. The question was more than whether Venturi could close out the victory; it was whether he could literally survive the challenge. He overcame 100-degree temperatures and severe dehydration to win.

• Venturi won 14 PGA Tour events as a pro and nearly won one as an amateur. He is famously the only amateur to hold a 54-hole lead at the Masters. He did so in ’56, but finished second to Jackie Burke Jr.

• After carpal tunnel syndrome hastened his retirement as a player, Venturi joined CBS as an analyst in 1968. He shaped how we came to understand the sport and its stars in that role for 35 years.

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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.”