The Sweet-and-Sour Edition

By Rex HoggardFebruary 13, 2009, 5:00 pm
Pro-Am week is one of the more curious cuts of the year. Pebble Beach is the ultimate love/hate deal for those whose professional fortunes ebb and flow to the tune of serenading sea lions and the pounding panorama of the Pacific Ocean.
On one hand, a wanting scorecard, Crosby weather, and glacial rounds can weigh on even the best attitudes, but if one needs a reason to bust out of their mental prison the most-mesmerizing views in all golf are normally little more than a head turn away.
Missing, or making, the cut at the Clambake is relative.

  • Democracy: Two names emerged from last weeks initial meeting of the Players Advisory Council as possible heirs to the PACs chairmanship, and the Tour wont go wrong with either option.
    Word is PAC and Policy Board staple Davis Love III has been listed as a candidate for this years PAC chairmanship alongside modern sophist Paul Goydos. This years PAC chair ascends to the Policy Board in 2010.
    The Cut Line will stay clear of any endorsements, but will objectively point out that DLIII has done his time on the Policy Board. Its also worth noting that the nine-member board could use an independent, and alternative voice like Goydos as the Tour begins to struggle with economic headwinds.
    Any Tour player who sports a Dirtbags hat and maintains his mens club membership at his local muni must know how to stretch a dollar.
  • LPGA: No, were not referring to the new 10-year deal the circuit penned with Golf Channel, but the wave of potential that has engulfed the season opener in Hawaii.
    Michelle Wie putted like a 13-year-old (24 putts), hit the ball like a 23-year-old (nine fairways and 12 greens in regulation) and managed her game like a 33-year-old. It all added up to a 6-under 66 and the best opening act any Hollywood screen writer would be proud of.
  • Arnold Palmer: If anyone would have an inside track on when Tiger Woods will emerge from his surgery-induced slumber it would be The King, right?
    We spotted a billboard on Interstate 4 in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday advertising next months Arnold Palmer Invitational adorned with a larger-than-life picture of the defending champion.
    Now, putting the defending champ on tournament marketing is SOP, and it could just be wishful thinking. But with 62 Tour victories its impossible to bet against The King.

  • Dustin Johnson: Little surprise one of the circuits longest hitters swung for the fences on one the circuits shortest layouts (Pebble Beach, 6,874 yards). What may surprise some is how the athletic swingman prepared for 2009.
    The world may dig the long ball, but its Johnsons iron and bunker play that has separated him from the sophomore pack this season.
    On Tuesday, Johnsons swing coach Allen Terrell texted his star student, Look at the good job youre doing (on ShotLink).
    Specifically, Johnson has jumped almost 100 spots in greens in regulation (from 129th last year to 39th) and 150 spots in sand saves (178th in 2008 to 28th). His share of the first-round lead at Pebble Beach was a testament to Johnsons improvement, but it also cast a glaring light on the World Golf Ranking.
    Because the second-year player only has played 36 sanctioned events and the ranking requires a 40-tournament minimum there is no way for him to qualify for the WGC-Match Play or the WGC-CA Championship. College football has the BCS, presidential elections have the electoral college, and the Tour has the World Ranking.
  • Spyglass Hill Golf Club: The wallflower dwarfed by Pebble Beachs lengthy shadow never gets its due.
    Sure, Pebble Beach is the pride of the Pacific and has more history than a seventh-grade text book, but its cross-peninsula stepbrother isnt too shabby. Quiz ten off-the-shelf Tour players, who dont get taken in by sweeping vistas or $450 tee times, and chances are half would rather play Spyglass.
  • Tim Finchem: For the first time in 15 years the commish put a peg in the ground and joined his constituents inside the ropes for this weeks Pro-Am.
    David Toms joked that after a few days of Crosby weather it could help move the Pro-Am to a dryer spot on the calendar, say ... October. After a few five-hour-plus rounds were also hoping Finchem will be moved to put some teeth into the Tours pace-of-play policy.
    Finchem, a 5 handicap, admitted to being nervous but played solid on Day 1. Hes like most players who come to play in the AT&T, said Finchems pro Davis Love III, he doesnt get enough strokes.
    The Cut Line has never felt closer to the commish.

  • Major League Baseball: With apologies to those who tune in for golf topics, and with kudos to Tour decision makers whose preemptive action has spared the circuit a similar fate, Cut Line laments more sordid steroids news from the boys of summer.
    Were no fan of Alex Rodriguez, but in fairness to the tarnished slugger, and for the sake of expediency, the ML B powers that be should publish the 103 other names that reported positive during the 2003 testing for performance enhancing drugs.
    Ask any 8-year-old, the Band Aid is best removed in one, quick motion.
  • Bill Murray: Its impossible not to love Murrays on-course shtick, but after watching some file footage from the bygone days of the Clambake one realizes the funnyman is a poor replacement for the tournaments former crooning namesake.
    Bing Crosby was cool, think Tommy Armour III without the goth wardrobe, and the truth is Murray & Co. just cant bring the same heat. Exploding golf balls are wanting stand-ins for a stirring rendition of Danny Boy.
    Email your thoughts to Rex Hoggard
    Related Links:
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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.”