The big picture

By Rex HoggardJanuary 16, 2009, 5:00 pm
Hawaii is a long haul for a potential 36-hole week ' just ask Chad Campbell ' which makes this weeks Sony Open particularly stressful for those trying to make it to the weekend. Week 2 of Cut Line will leave the birdies and bogeys to those enduring an Aloha gale at the seasons first full-field event. Instead, the Cut staff is taking the long-view on a certain return, a premature return flight and a possible Ryder Cup return for Woosie.

  • Charles Howell III:
  • OK, hes only 18 holes into 09 so theres no need to start etching his name into the Comeback Player of the Year Award, but Howells opening 67 at Waialae was a victory by any measure for the games most explosive beanpole.
    Howell posted just two top-10s during the FedEx Cup portion of the schedule and lost ground in almost every major statistical category in 2008, which prompted him to switch swing coaches and put in a healthy amount of OT during the offseason.
    Howell, a long-time David Leadbetter pupil, started working with Sea Island (Ga.) Resorts Todd Anderson late last year and made the 3 hour trek from Orlando, Fla., once a week to hone a swing that had gotten too technical.
    Its the way he was taught and kind of his personality, Anderson said. I want to get him to feel where he needs to put the club.
    If all that wasnt enough, Howell boasted late last year that he was, One fifty-five. No, not in FedEx Cup points, but on a scale. Thats right. CH-3s ongoing News Years resolution is to gain weight.
  • Irish Open:
  • The championship wont be played until May, but players and fans already enjoyed a walk-off moment when officials announced the event will be played at Baltray, a seaside links on Irelands east coast.
    The Cut Line has never understood why the biggest events ' the 2006 Ryder Cup at the K Club comes to mind ' are played on relatively mundane parkland courses instead of one of the classic links layouts. Given an option, you dont bat it around U.S. Cellular Field if Wrigley Field is on the menu.

  • Buick Invitational:
  • Tournament director Tom Wilson has been feverishly working his cell phone, inundating Tiger Woods agent Mark Steinberg with text messages trying to lure the games top draw back to SoCal.
    When Buick and Woods ended their endorsement deal after nine years, Wilson fired a simple missive to Steinberg: Despite the divorce, we still want him.
    We applaud Wilsons optimistic energy, but the Buick is probably not on Woods radar. The earliest Woods is rumored to be considering is the WGC-Match Play Championship, three weeks after the Buick. Of course, Eldrick does have a flare for dramatics and a return to the same seaside muni where he made history may be just enough to woo a rusty Woods.
  • Chad Campbell:
  • It has been an interesting offseason for the good-natured Texan. He ended his long-running endorsement relationship with Nike Golf, penned a new deal with Adams Golf and made the hop to Hawaii only to discover there was no room at the inn.
    Seems Campbell forgot to commit to the Sony. So when he arrived in Hawaii he had no place to play. We commend Campbells intentions, a top player supporting an event that needs more star power, and offer this friendly reminder ' the Masters is in April.
    The good news, of course, is that Campbell did bank plenty of frequent flyer miles.

  • European Tour Ryder Cup captain selection committee:
  • The 15-member committee met this week in Abu Dhabi and decided . . . well, nothing. Keep up, because this gets confusing.
    Jose Maria Olazabal is widely considered the frontrunner for the 2010 job, but the Spaniard would like to play on the team so he is delaying his decision which, some say, prompted the committees stiff arm.
    Ian Woosnam, the man who led Europe to a nine-point victory in Ireland two years ago, seems to be something of a sentimental pick considering next years matches will be played in Wales, but he is sideways with Thomas Bjorn, the chairman of the selection committee who the Welshman kept off the 2006 team.
    Sandy Lyle seems to be the odd man out for a number of curious reasons, including his age (50), his failure to support the European Seniors Tour and his walking off the course during last years British Open.
    And president-elect Barack Obama thought he had a political minefield waiting for him next week in Washington D.C. It all makes one appreciate the secretive nature of the U.S. selection process for captains. Its like sausage, you just want it on your plate. You dont want to know how its made.
  • Maui Seven:
  • Seven players who participated in the Mercedes-Benz Championship bypassed the 20-minute flight to Oahu for the Sony Open. Give Vijay Singh a pass because he had knee surgery on Wednesday. The rest, however, must have not gotten their copies of that five-minute video from Tour commissioner Tim Finchem urging players to support all tournaments, large and small.
    Players pick their schedules for a variety of reasons ' golf course, purse, history ' and before someone throws an independent contractor at us, its important to respect that. But it just seems the Sony would have been a good place to start the Tours version of a corporate bailout.
    Email your thoughts to Rex Hoggard
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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.”