The LPGA Tour has five major championships.
Brittany Lincicome’s 2018 season will feature six.
The eight-time tour winner and two-time major champion will become just the fifth woman to play in a PGA Tour event when she tees it up in the Barbasol Championship in Kentucky next week.
“I’m not trying to put too much pressure on myself,” said Lincocome, 32, a winner of two majors and eight tournaments on the LPGA Tour. “I’m hoping the guys are welcoming. Obviously, I’m not trying to compare myself to the guys. I just want to go out there and have fun and see how they do it. It’s a different world out there. I think it'll be really fun.”
VIDEO: Brittany Lincicome
The invitation came from Perio, Inc., based in Columbus and the maker of Barbasol and Pure Silk products, which is one of Lincicome’s sponsors. Despite that, she still had reservations. In each of the previous instances when women played on the PGA Tour — Babe Didrikson Zaharias (the only woman to make the cut in a PGA Tour event), Annika Sorenstam, Michelle Wie, and Suzy Whaley — there was a chorus of criticism and sexist comments. Did she want to open herself up to the shock jocks? Yes.
“I feel like every time I walk by one of those guys they are going to look at me like, ‘Why the heck are you here? What are you doing here?’ kind of a look,” Lincicome said. “Hopefully they are really nice.”
After a family discussion, Lincicome and her biggest supporters couldn’t unearth many negatives. The same can be said for women’s golf.
The Barbasol Championship, played opposite the British Open, usually doesn’t attract eyeballs. But Lincicome’s appearance in the tournament has already garnered national attention in the pages of the New York Times and USA Today and on ESPN.
“It’s really exciting,” LPGA Tour player Allison Emrey said. “I think she’ll be great representing the LPGA Tour. Hopefully, she does well. She’ll show that we can play and that we can be as good as the guys. I feel like there will be a lot of viewers tune in to see how she does.”
Lincicome’s first order of business is to win the Marathon Classic, where she has two career top 10s. She enters the week having won once this season with three additional top 10s. Lincicome ranks 21st in scoring average, 24th on the money list, and 34th in the world. She’s also sixth on the LPGA Tour with an average driving distance of 271 yards, which should prove beneficial at the 7,300-yard Keene Trace Golf Club. Lincicome doesn’t have the nickname “Bam Bam” for nothing.
Next week won’t be her first foray into men’s golf. She played on the boys golf team at Seminole High School in Sanford, Fla., and routinely beat her male competitors. Lincicome also participated in the Diamond Resorts Invitational the past two years, a Champions Tour event that uses a Modified Stableford scoring system. She finished tied for 22nd in a 31-person field in 2016 and tied for 25th out of 32 in 2017. Lincicome has also played in a handful of mini-tour events.
Sorenstam’s appearance at Colonial in 2003, the most famous example of a woman playing on the PGA Tour, created a media frenzy and a series of regrettable comments from PGA Tour players. She was the best women’s golfer in the world at the time and shot 74-71 to miss the cut by three strokes. Wie played in eight PGA Tour events from 2004 to 2008, missing the cut by one shot at the 2004 Sony Open.
“Just have fun, just enjoy it out there,” Wie told Lincicome. “She asked me if I wanted to do it again, and I was like, no. But I definitely really enjoyed it when I did. It's a great experience. I learned so much playing with the guys, and it's definitely a unique experience, and I think that she's someone that can compete with them.
“She hits it really far. She has the right mind-set for it where she doesn't let things bother her and get to her, so I think she's going to have a blast. Hopefully the course will play fast and you'll see her out-drive a couple of guys. That would be fun.”
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