Monty Back on Top in Euorpe

By Sports NetworkDecember 14, 2005, 5:00 pm
European TourNothing like the old guard showing off one more time. That's what happened in 2005 as tour veterans like Jose Maria Olazabal, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Colin Montgomerie combined for four wins and 16 top-five finishes.
Leading the old guard in battle in 2005 was Colin Montgomerie. The Scotsman got off to a hot start as he shared second place at the Caltex Masters, where he was the defending champion. Then in Australia, he finished 11th at the Heineken Classic.
Colin Montgomerie
Colin Montgomerie won his eighth career Order of Merit title in 2005.
Must've had too many free sponsors drinks that week as it was the only time in his first six events that he finished outside the top six. A trip to China knocked him for a loop as he went his next seven tournaments without a top-10.
Monty also threw in a missed cut for good measure. Included in that stretch was a tie for 42nd at the U.S. Open, his first major of the year. Montgomerie missed the Masters after playing Augusta each of the previous 13 years.
After returning to Europe, Montgomerie shared second place at the Smurfit European Open at the K Club, host of the 2006 Ryder Cup - a place and event Monty surely wants to be a part of.
Two events later, the 42-year-old battled world No. 1 Tiger Woods tooth-and-nail during the final round of the British Open. Montgomerie got within one of Woods, but a two-stroke swing over the 12th and 13th holes dropped the Scotsman three back and he would end five back at St. Andrews, where Monty found good karma later in the season.
For Montgomerie, this was his fourth second-place finish in a major championship versus no wins. After the Open Championship, he struggled with a withdrawal and two missed cuts in his next for events.
Battling U.S. Open winner Michael Campbell for the lead in the Order of Merit, Montgomerie closed the season with a bang. He lost in the first round of the HSBC World Match Play Championship, and that defeat to Mark Hensby was a kick in the pants.
Montgomerie returned to the Old Course at St. Andrews, as well as Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, for the dunhill links championship. Trailing by five strokes entering the final round, Monty needed just a 1-under 71 to collect a one-shot win over Kenneth Ferrie.
He nearly faltered with a bogey on 11 and a double bogey at the 12th, but Montgomerie settled in and sank a short birdie putt on the 72nd hole for his first individual win at the Old Course.
With three more events on his personal schedule, Montgomerie ended the season with three top-8 finishes to snatch his eighth Order of Merit crown, as he finished ahead of Campbell for the top spot.
With three-time defending champion Ernie Els on the sideline, the HSBC World Match Play Championship had lost some of its luster. However, with the reigning U.S. Open champion, Campbell, and a two-time U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen on hand, there was no loss of talent in the field.
The final would come down to the aforementioned reigning U.S. Open champ, Campbell, and a two-time European Ryder Cupper, Paul McGinley, who had been blitzing his competition.
Campbell, the fourth seed at the tournament, managed a 1-up win over Geoff Ogilvy in his opening match. With each match played over 36 holes, Campbell needed 37 holes to down his second-round foe, 12th-seeded Steve Elkington.
The 36-year-old made fast work of fellow U.S. Open champion Goosen in the semifinals. Campbell blitzed Goosen, who at the time was the fifth-ranked player in the world, 7 and 6, to make the finals.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the bracket the Irishman McGinley was routing the competition. He opened with an easy 6 and 5 win over Dane Thomas Bjorn. McGinley then throttled 2004 European Ryder Cup teammate, Luke Donald, 9 and 8, in round two.
McGinley faced world No. 13 Angel Cabrera in the semifinals. Cabrera was having a fine season in his own right with a win and four other top-four finishes. The Irishman, though, took care of business with a 4 and 3 win over the Argentine.
In the final match, McGinley and Campbell battled throughout in a tight match. Campbell bogeyed the 31st hole to square the match. However, McGinley bogeyed the 33rd and 34th holes to fall into an insurmountable 2-down hole with two to go.
The victory for Campbell made him the fourth player to win this title and the U.S. Open crown in the same season. He joined a short list that includes Gary Player, Hale Irwin and Ernie Els.
It may not have won a tournament. It may not have been a long shot. But the most memorable shot of the year came from the putter of the legendary Jack Nicklaus.
Jack Nicklaus
Jack Nicklaus poses on the Swilken Bridge for the final time.
Nicklaus, who won two of his three British Open crowns at St. Andrews, missed the cut in what he said would be his final competitive round of golf. But he didn't go down without a fight.
Throughout his career, Nicklaus has had a knack for making putts late in tournaments to close out a win or put pressure on a formidable foe.
Preceding 'the putt,' Nicklaus crossed the Swilken Bridge one last time and paused for a long time to soak in the atmosphere. His partners stopped short of the bridge to give Nicklaus the stage.
True to his fashion for the game of golf, Nicklaus would not spend the lengthy amount of time alone on the bridge. He was joined by his playing partners -- Luke Donald and Tom Watson, a five-time British Open and two-time Senior British Open champion.
Nicklaus did not stop there, as he waved the three caddies onto the bridge for some pictures. Finally, Jack and son Steve, his caddy for the week, were given time alone on the bridge. Tears flowed from many an eye, but the best was yet to come.
The Golden Bear had ripped a huge drive near green and rolled his second shot within seven feet. He dropped in a tough, left-to-right breaker for a final birdie and one of the loudest ovations you'll ever hear on a golf course.
The top rookie on tour has a unique name and a long one at that. Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandaz-Castano collected a win at the KLM Open in his rookie season on tour. He also had another top-10 en route to finishing 57th on the European Tour Order of Merit.
The 25-year-old had a streaky year that started out with him missing three straight cuts before he made his next three. He ended the season making the cut in his final three events, finishing no worse than tied for 34th in those tournaments.
Other top rookies included Sweden's Peter Gustafsson and England's Richard Finch. Gustafsson had best his finish at the Open de Espana, where he tied for second. Finch shared second place at the Italia Open for his best placing of the season.
As mentioned, Michael Campbell won the HSBC World Match Play Championship. That, in and of itself, would have been good enough to give him a good year. But it was Campbell's victory at the U.S. Open that made this a breakthrough season for the New Zealander.
Retief Goosen had held a three-shot lead entering the final day, but collapsed with an 11-over 81. Campbell took full advantage of the opening by carding one of the few sub-par rounds Sunday. He posted a 1-under 69 to hold off world No. 1 Tiger Woods, who also posted a 69, on Father's Day.
All wasn't lost on the season for Goosen, though, as he picked up a win and five other top-five finishes and took fourth in the Order of Merit.
Former European Ryder Cupper David Howell had a strong year as well. He collected a win and two seconds among his 11 top-10 finishes this season. Only Montgomerie (13) had more top-10s this season.
Also having a good year with each picking up two wins were Niclas Fasth, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Stephen Dodd.
Ernie Els deserves to be in the good year category as he won three times early in the season, but a mid-season knee injury halted what could have been a player-of-the-year type season.
Time to pick on guys who didn't get it done this past season. We'll start at the bottom and work our way up.
Lars Brovold -- 20 starts, two cuts made -- not much else to say there. Malcolm MacKenzie played in four more events than Brovold, and actually made two more cuts while earning 15,929 euros and placing 236th on the Order of Merit.
Just two more guys to call out for their play in '05. Englishman Matthew King, coming off a two-win season the European Tour's Challenge Tour, made it to the weekend three times in 24 tries. Not so good. His best finish was a tie for 28th, his first start of the season.
Finally, Mattias Eliasson collected three top-25 finishes in his 24 starts. However, he made only eight other cuts in his 24 starts. His best finish was a share of eighth at the Mallorca Classic late in the season. However, he missed 10 of 12 cuts at one point in the middle of the season.
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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.”