Lincicome happy to choose life over golf

By Randall MellMarch 29, 2016, 7:44 pm

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – There is something almost gravity defying about Brittany Lincicome’s game.

It isn’t in the way her golf ball challenges Newton’s Law, soaring higher and farther than most of her peers. It’s in the way she breaks so unapologetically from the sport’s slavish conventions.

Lincicome is back at Mission Hills this week to defend her title at the ANA Inspiration. She’s an American original in the women’s game.

At 30 now, Lincicome isn’t ruled by the ambition that fills driving ranges from sun up until sun down at LPGA events.

She isn’t driven to be the best player in the game.

She doesn’t aspire to be No. 1, to break records or make it to the Hall of Fame.

Lincicome isn’t daring to be great.

She’s daring to be happy in a profession that makes so many of her colleagues miserable.

As cheery and agreeable as Lincicome always seems to be, she’s a rebel this way.

Lincicome confesses crimes against the player code that you won’t hear any other player not named Laura Davies confess. Lincicome doesn’t have a coach. She hasn’t had a lesson in at least three years, maybe four. She unabashedly admits to loving her naps and hating to practice. She doesn’t spend much time on the practice range. Mostly, when she’s there, she’s warming up to play, because that’s what she loves. She loves to play.

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If Lincicome is going to be anywhere from sun up to sun down, it’s on her boat, fishing in the Gulf of Mexico near her St. Petersburg home. She has a 24-foot Sheaffer fishing boat designed to her personal specifications.

She named it “Taking Relief.”

What’s her idea of a perfect day? It’s a day with her newlywed husband, Dewald Gouws. Though he’s also in the game as a professional long driver, her perfect day isn’t spent on a golf course with him, though they play a lot together.

“My sponsors hate me saying this, but it’s a day of fishing,” Lincicome said. “It’s getting up with the sun, getting on the boat, getting your bait and heading out. When the water’s dead calm, it’s so much more fun. You can see for miles, and the things you see, turtles, dolphins, stingray, manta rays ...

“I like catching goliath groupers. We have a spot where we usually go, about 13 miles out, over a sunken tug boat. The goliath groupers can range from 100 pounds to 700 pounds. A guide once told me they’re like reeling in a Volkswagen beetle with its doors open.”

The largest goliath grouper Lincicome has ever caught?

“About 400 pounds,” she said. “You can’t really weigh them.”

The major championships Lincicome has won in her career are her goliath groupers of golf. She also won the ANA Inspiration back in 2009, when it was the Kraft Nabisco.

Lincicome said there was “validation” winning her second major, but she says she did not set out in her career burning to win one. She doesn’t look back overly disappointed that she didn’t win a third major in that playoff loss to Inbee Park at the LPGA Championship two seasons ago. Instead, she looks back delighted that she played this game she loves so well that somebody handed her six LPGA trophies at the end of tournaments.

“I can’t think that losing a tournament would ever be devastating to my career,” Lincicome said. “I can’t think of losing something that would ruin a number of years for me.

“When I was growing up playing, I thought it would be cool just to be on the driving range with Annika Sorenstam, Juli Inkster and Lorena Ochoa. When I turned pro, I didn’t even know if I would be able to keep my card, but I’ve been blessed to have kept my card every year I’ve been out here, knock on wood. I’ve been blessed to win six times. I think I’ve accomplished a lot. Six wins is pretty good.”

Yeah, Lincicome knows the wrath she invites from people who wonder what she might achieve if she pushed herself harder. She isn’t immune to the criticism. She admits she has wondered, too.

“To be like Lydia Ko or Stacy Lewis, always finishing in the top 10, to always be in contention, I’ve wondered where my balance should be,” Lincicome said. “Do I need to practice more? Would that help me? Or would it hurt me?”

What Lincicome has learned is that she’s miserable when she grinds away, looking for perfection in her swing. She says her game gets worse. That’s not to say she doesn’t work at her game. She does in practice rounds, but she’s not a technical player, and she doesn’t think a lot about technique. She isn’t on Track Man looking at her numbers and she doesn’t break down video looking at what positions she’s getting her club into. She’s a feel player, and Lincicome feels she's at her best when she’s fresh.

“It’s important as a player that you understand what works for you,” Gouws said. “Britt realizes when she’s putting in too much time, she gets frustrated with the game. She plays her best when it’s still a game for her, when she finds her happy place. I promise you, when Britt is excited about playing golf, she’s going to play good golf.”

When something’s awry with Lincicome’s swing, she’ll ask Pederson and Gouws about it and then go to work on it in a practice round.

“She’s such a phenom, and that’s enough for her,” Gouws said. “She has figured out what works for her.”

Lincicome is a rebel in today’s game, a mutineer who plays golf for fun, an insurrectionist unbound and untethered by social gravity’s pull.

“I’m sure people have told Brittany that she needs to practice more, but she hasn’t changed who she is, and I think that’s pretty cool,” said Angela Stanford, who has watched Lincicome grow since joining the tour as a rookie. “She just keeps doing her thing. She believes in what she’s doing, how she should go about things. I think if she were out there grinding all the time, she would be miserable.”

Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam” for her power, but Stanford marvels at how well rounded her game is.

“She is an amazing talent,” Stanford said. “She obviously bombs it, but the thing I’ve always said about Bam is how great her hands are. Around the green, I’ve seen her hit chip shots where I’m thinking, `How does a girl who can bomb it like she does hit shots so soft?’ And her putting. I enjoyed being her Solheim Cup partner because you know she’s going to make a putt.”

Lincicome sees the game as just that. It’s a game. It’s’ one dimension of her larger life.

“If you dedicate your whole life to golf, you can wake up when you’re 50 and have nothing else,” Lincicome said. “You can find you don’t have a family, and you haven’t really lived your life. That would be a big regret for me. I don’t want to have those regrets.”

That’s why meeting Gouws three years ago was such an important turn in Lincicome’s life. She went to Mesquite, Nev., to cheer for her friend, Trevor Consavage, in a long drive competition.

Sitting in the bleachers, paging through a program, Lincicome wondered aloud to a friend how the brackets worked. Seated a couple rows in front of Lincicome, Gouws offered his help. He was also in the competition.

“I thought he was cute, and he had really big muscles,” Lincicome said.

After the competition, Lincicome and Gouws met again at a casino bar where all the competitors hung out. Gouws, a South African with little knowledge of the LPGA, had no idea who Lincicome was or that she was a major champion. When Lincicome briefly stepped away, another friend of Gouws began raving about what a great LPGA player she was.

“We don’t get to see much LPGA on TV in South Africa, but my friend kept going on and on about her,” Gouws said. “I told him I don’t really care, she’s just a really a cute blonde I’m enjoying having a conversation with, but he wouldn’t stop.”

Gouws asked his friend if he would shut up if he walked over and asked Lincicome to autograph his chest.

“I was joking,” Gouws said.

But moments later, somebody handed Gouws a Sharpie. So, he walked over to Lincicome and asked if she would sign his chest.

And she obliged.

“I thought he was going to take his whole shirt off, so I was kind of disappointed when he only pulled down the front of his shirt,” Lincicome said.

Lincicome and Gouws didn’t stop talking for two hours, and they stayed in contact by cell phone, texts and emails when Gouws returned to his South African home. Three months after they met, Consavage booked a trip to South Africa to see Gouws and begged Lincicome to join him.

“I’m like `Are you crazy? My dad will never let me fly to South Africa to see a boy I’d just met,’” Lincicome said.

But Lincicome did go, and Gouws gave her and Consavage the grand tour of his homeland. He took them on safari, where they played with lion cubs and survived a scary charge by a bull elephant. They toured Cape Town and the wineries of the region. Their romance really began there, leading to their marriage in December.

“We watched our wedding for the first time on video the other day,” Gouws said. “I asked her if she knew how incredible our story is, how we are from different parts of the world but we were able to meet the way we did. Who would have thought?”

Lincicome doesn’t hide the fuller life she seeks with “D,” her pet name for Gouws, and how, once again, golf isn’t what comes first in this broader life she craves. She wants to be a mother.

“I would love to have a family tomorrow,” Lincicome says. “Write that, and I’ll tell ‘D’ to read it.

“I understand we just got married, and we need to focus on us a little bit before we start a family, but I’ve already been asking a million questions to the moms on tour, what it’s like raising a family out here, how traveling can be like a circus. I’d love to be at home, doing nothing when we start a family, but I realize I will probably be playing with a family, that I’ll probably need to work a couple more years before retiring.”

And remember what Gouws said. When his wife’s happy, she plays her best. So there shouldn’t be any counting her out of winning more majors, even with children in tow. After all, Lincicome doesn’t need as much practice as most players.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 16, 2018, 9:00 am

You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on  

Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

(All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (

Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (

Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM ( Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (

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Davies wins by 10 on 'best ball-striking round'

By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 1:53 am

WHEATON, Ill. - Laura Davies immediately recognized the significance of having her name inscribed on the first U.S. Senior Women's Open trophy.

It might be a long time before anyone secures the title as emphatically as Davies did.

Davies went virtually unchallenged in Sunday's final round of the inaugural USGA championship for women 50 and older, claiming the title by 10 strokes over Juli Inkster.

''It's great seeing this (trophy) paraded down for the very first time and I get my name on it first, you know?'' Davies said. ''This championship will be played for many years and there will only be one first winner - obviously a proud moment for me to win that.''

The 54-year-old Davies shot a 5-under 68 to finish at 16-under 276 at Chicago Golf Club.

It was the English player's 85th career win, and she felt the pressure even though her lead was rarely in danger.

''I haven't won for eight years - my last win was India, 2010,'' Davies said. ''So that's the pressure you're playing under, when you're trying to do something for yourself, prove to yourself you can still win.

''So this ranks highly up there. And obviously it's a USGA event. It's hard comparing tournaments, but this is very high on my list of achievements.''

A 7-under 66 Saturday provided Davies with a five-shot lead over Inkster and what she said would be a sleepless night worrying about the pressure.

Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open

The World Golf Hall of Famer widened her advantage early Sunday when she birdied the par-5 second hole and Inkster made bogey. Davies said a par she salvaged at the 10th was another turning point.

''It wasn't the greatest hole I ever played, but I think that, to me, was when I really started to think I might have one hand on the trophy and just had to get the other one in there.''

Inkster shot an even-par 73. England's Trish Johnson also shot 73 to finish third, 12 shots back.

''I mean, she was absolutely spectacular this week,'' Johnson said about Davies. ''I've played against her for 35 years. Yesterday was the best I have ever seen her play in her entire career.

''She just said walking down 18 it was best ball-striking round she ever had. Considering she's won 85 tournaments, that's quite some feat.''

Danielle Ammaccapane was fourth and Yuko Saito finished fifth. Martha Leach was the top amateur, tying for 10th at 6-over 298.

Davies plans to play in the Women's British Open next month, and called this win a confidence-booster as she continues to compete against the younger generation. She finished tied for second at the LPGA's Bank of Hope Founders Cup earlier this year.

''You build up a little bit of momentum, and a golf course is a golf course,'' Davies said. ''Sometimes the field strength is a little bit different, but in your own mind if you've done something like this, 16 under for four rounds around a proper championship course, it can't do anything but fill you full of confidence.''

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Romo rallies to win American Century Championship

By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:42 am

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Nev. - Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo rallied from four points back to win his first American Century Championship at Lake Tahoe on Sunday.

Romo, who retired after the 2016 NFL season and is now an NFL analyst, had 27 points on the day to beat three-time defending champion Mark Mulder and San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, the the leader after the first two rounds.

''It's a special win,'' said Romo, who had finished second three times in seven previous trips to the annual celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. ''It feels like you're playing a tournament back home here. The day felt good for a lot of reasons.''

Romo tapped in for par, worth one point, on the 18th hole to finish with 71 points, three ahead of Mulder, the former major league pitcher. He then caught a flight to Berlin, Wis., where he was to compete in a 36-hole U.S. Amateur qualifying tournament on Monday.

The American Century Championship uses a modified Stableford scoring system which rewards points for eagles (six), birdies (three) and pars (one) and deducts points (two) for double bogeys or worse. Bogeys are worth zero points.

Pavelski had a 7-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th that could have tied Romo, but it slid by. He finished with 66 points, tied for third with Ray Allen, who will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 7.

Full-field scores from the American Century Championship

''It feels like nothing went in for me today,'' Pavelski said. ''But I couldn't ask for more than to have that putt to tie on the last hole.''

Romo plays as an amateur, so his $125,000 first-place check from the $600,000 purse will go to local charities and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, the primary charitable arm of title sponsor American Century Investments.

Rounding out the top five were Trent Dilfer, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, and former tennis player Mardy Fish. Each had 62 points.

Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, who fell out of contention with a mediocre round Saturday, jumped into Lake Tahoe amidst much fanfare after losing a bet to his father, Dell. The elder Curry jumped into the lake last year, so he negotiated a 20-point handicap and won by two points.

Other notable players in the 92-player field included John Smoltz, the MLB hall of Fame pitcher who two weeks ago competed in the U.S. Senior Open and finished 10th here with 53 points; Steph Curry, who finished tied for 11th with retired Marine and wounded war hero Andrew Bachelder (50); actor Jack Wagner (16th, 47 points); Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (tied for 18th, 44 points); actor Ray Romano (tied for 71st, minus-26 points); comedian Larry the Cable Guy (tied for 77th, minus-33 points); and former NBA great Charles Barkley, who finished alone in last with minus-93 points.

The tournament drew 57,097 fans for the week, setting an attendance record for the fourth straight year.

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Singh tops Maggert in playoff for first senior major

By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:10 am

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. - Vijay Singh hit a perfect approach to set up the winning playoff birdie. His celebration as the ball rolled into the cup was nowhere near as spectacular.

Singh closed the door on Jeff Maggert on the second playoff hole to win the Constellation Senior Players Championship on Sunday, giving an understated fist pump as his birdie putt dropped from about 2 feet. It was the first major title on the PGA Tour Champions for the 55-year-old Fijian, a past winner of the Masters and two PGA Championships.

''It's a little different,'' Singh said. ''It's a senior major, you know, so it's - any time you win a tournament no matter what it is, you feel accomplishment, and that's what I feel. I feel like I played well, and it's a win. A win is a win.''

Singh (67) and Maggert (68) finished at 20-under 268 at Exmoor Country Club. Brandt Jobe (66) was two strokes behind, while Jerry Kelly (64) and defending champion Scott McCarron (71) finished at 17 under.

Maggert began the day tied with McCarron and Bart Bryant for the lead. Singh was one shot back, but a crowd at the top of the leaderboard thinned out, turning it into a two-man race.

''I wasn't really watching the scoreboard or Vijay,'' Maggert said. ''Like I said, I thought I needed to shoot 5-, 6-, 7-under today to really kind of ice it. So I was really focused in on making seven or eight birdies today. ... You know, I thought some other scores would come into play there toward the end, but the last two or three groups looked like they were struggling, other than me and Vijay.''

Singh and Maggert posted identical scores through the first 15 holes. But Maggert bogeyed 16, and then missed chances to win in regulation and on the first playoff hole.

His 15-footer on the 72nd hole rolled wide, forcing the playoff, and a downhill 12-footer on the same green went just past the edge.

''We played toe-to-toe all day,'' Maggert said. ''He hit a nice shot on 18, and I had a chance to make a few putts throughout the day, but they just didn't go in.''

Full-field scores from the Constellation Energy Senior Players

Singh made just one bogey this week, and that came in the third round. He had five birdies Sunday and made some neat par saves to get into the playoff.

His tee shot on 17 landed near the trees to the right of the fairway, and his approach on 18 wound up in a bunker. But Singh blasted to within a few feet to match Maggert's par and send a senior major to a playoff for the first time since the 2015 Regions Tradition.

Singh played sporadically on the over-50 tour during his first few years of eligibility but is playing more often against men his age these days.

''To win the first major on this tour, I'm really excited about that,'' Singh said. ''Winning my first tournament at the beginning of the year was big, and now I've won this one, so I look forward to winning a lot more now. I always say, the first one, you get the first one out of the way, you can win a lot more after that.''

McCarron was trying to join Arnold Palmer and Bernhard Langer as the only back-to-back winners of this major. He came back from a six-shot deficit to win at Caves Valley near Baltimore last year and got off to a good start on Sunday.

He birdied the first two holes to reach 18 under. But bogeys on the par-4 seventh and ninth holes knocked him off the lead. His tee shot on No. 7 rolled into a hole at the base of a tree and forced him to take an unplayable lie.

Bryant (72) and Kenny Perry (68) finished in a pack at 16 under. Illinois golf coach Mike Small (71) finished one shot behind them, while three-time champion Bernhard Langer closed with a 74 to finish at 12 under after starting the day two strokes back.