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How Did Brittany Lincicome Make Golf History?

How did Brittany Lincicome make golf history? Image courtesy Shutterstock
How did Brittany Lincicome make golf history? Image courtesy Shutterstock

Brittany Lincicome is the latest female golfer to create history by taking on the men on the PGA TOUR in the Barbasol Championship in Kentucky.

Ten years since Michelle Wie was the last LPGA TOUR star to tee it up in a men’s event, Brittany Lincicome accepted a sponsor invite to take part in the 2018 Barbasol Championship, which ran on the same week as The Open Championship at Carnoustie.

While it may not be a field full of the world’s biggest names, the goal for Brittany Lincicome—who is represented by the parent company of Barbasol—is to prove that female golfers have the talent to mix it with their male counterparts.

“It’s kind of surreal, I just can’t stop smiling,” Lincicome said in the build-up. “Obviously I’ve heard many times I would be the first LPGA or female person to make the cut in a men’s event.

“The more I thought about whether to play in this event, the more I kept coming back to all the younger girls who I might be able to connect with and inspire by doing this.

“I thought about how an opportunity like this might be able to make a difference in how people think about our sport in the future.

“I’m trying to block that all out and just go out and play and have fun and play my own game and not be too tense or uptight about it. If I can inspire one child to pick up the game of golf and want to play, I feel like my job as a pro has been succeeded.”

The 32-year-old two-time major winner Brittany Lincicome—who is ranked as the world number 30 in the women’s game—becomes the sixth female golfer to take on the men on the PGA TOUR.

Other trailblazers

Wie was the most recent in 2008, which was the last of 13 appearances in men’s Tour events before she turned 18. She made the cut in just one—the SK Telecom Open on the Asian Tour—but failed to do so in eight PGA TOUR starts.

They came in four Sony Opens between 2004-2007, two John Deere Classics between 2005-2006, the 2007 Lumber Classic and the 2008 Reno-Tahoe Open.

Before her, Annika Sörenstam played in the Bank of America Colonial in 2003 and caused much controversy in doing so. She was the first female to play on the PGA TOUR since 1945, but missed the cut as she finished 96th of the 111-strong field in Texas.

The Whaley Rule

Suzy Whaley also qualified to play in the 2003 Great Hartford Open, although her place in the field caused controversy as she had achieved it playing off the ladies tees. The subsequent “Whaley Rule” was introduced, meaning women playing in men’s competitions had to play from the same tees.

Before them it was a long gap back to Babe Didrikson Zaharias, who qualified for the 1945 Los Angeles Open but again missed the cut. The multi-talented sportswomen and Olympic gold medal winner did, however, meet her future husband George Zaharias while playing in the event.

Shirley Spork, one of the founders of the LPGA, was the other to have teed it up against the men.

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