GULFPORT — Brittany Lincicome is a bit uncomfortable. It's not the scorching heat on this particular morning at Pasadena Country Club. And it's not the humidity.
It's the pants.
They arrived in the mail a few days earlier and she's giving them a test wear on the putting green and driving range. The PGA Tour does not allow its players to wear shorts.
"They said I didn't have to (wear pants) but I don't want to be an even bigger distraction," she said.
Lincicome, 32, will be the sixth female golfer to play in a PGA tournament when she tees it up on Thursday at the Barbasol Championship in Nicholasville, Ky. The Seminole native received a sponsor's exemption from Tom Murray, president and CEO of Perio, the company that owns Barbasol and Pure Silk. The latter is one of Lincicome's sponsors on the LPGA Tour.
The Barbasol will be played opposite the British Open, meaning most of the PGA Tour's big names will be in Carnoustie, Scotland. Lincicome is sure to be one of the main story lines for a four-year-old tournament that struggles to get publicity.
"I'm nervous about it now and it's not even here yet," Lincicome said. "But I've played with the guys my whole life. I love playing with the guys. I feel like it pushes me to be better. I think I can learn a lot about the way they work through a golf course."
Tom Lincicome tried to put his youngest daughter on the expected path. His two older sons, Bryan and Hunter, were average athletes who played Little League, golf and any other sport that would break out in the neighborhood.
He signed Brittany up for softball at Helen Howarth Park in Pinellas Park. She was 8 years old and got put at third base.
"Softball was a little too slow for her," Tom said. "There was one time where a ball was hit to her at third base and she threw it to first. One of the coaches told her that she was going to have to slow it down. She threw it too hard for her to catch it."
So it was on to baseball.
She played for the Rockies four years and always wore No. 9. While she didn't pitch, she did play just about every other position. And when she hit the ball, it she hit it hard.
"I knew that I had to hit it hard," she said. "My nickname was 'Turtle' because I ran so slow."
Tom put a club in 10-year-old Brittany's hand and let her golf with him and her brothers. It all started on a par-3 course at East Bay that was lit at night.
From there, Brittany graduated to the longer courses at Bardmoor.
In just a couple of years she beat her brothers. When she was a high school freshman, she was able to take down dad — no easy task since he was a scratch golfer.
No matter the sport, Brittany never got a break because she was a girl.
"We had all boys in the neighborhood," she said. "It was no blood, no foul basketball. We played football. I did all the things the boys did. When I started playing golf at 10 with my big brothers, they played from the back tees so I played from the back tees."
Preps to pros
Brittany was a member of Seminole High's boys golf team for three years. She would play regular-season tournaments with the boys. And most of the time, she won.
"She hit it farther than I did," said former Seminole teammate Jon Dubbeld, who was a sophomore when Brittany was a senior. "She was like 270 off the tee. We would play nine-hole matches and if you couldn't shoot par or better, then you weren't going to beat her. She had that superstar vibe even back then."
Brittany won girls individual state championships as a junior and senior. She turned professional in late 2004, and her dad was on the bag for her first full season in 2005. The following July she won her first tournament, the World Match Play Championship. Shortly afterward, she fired her caddie.
Since then, Brittany has won seven other times on the LPGA Tour, including two majors. She narrowly missed out on an eighth win Sunday when she finished second in a playoff at the Marathon Classic in Ohio. Her career earnings are $8,745,076. She earned the nickname "Bam Bam" for her length off the tee (she is sixth on Tour with a 271.4 yard average).
Yet she could be remembered most by what she does on the PGA Tour. The only female player to make a cut was Babe Didrikson Zaharias in 1945.
Annika Sorenstam was the best female golfer in the world when she played in the Colonial in 2003. She missed the cut after shooting 71-74—145.
"My advice to her would be to enjoy the opportunity," Sorenstam said. "Don't put too much pressure on yourself and stick to your game plan. It's going to be a lot different than any other tournament but for me it was the highlight of my career.
"I was the No. 1 player at the time and I was considered a long hitter. But out there I was hitting first into every green instead of hitting last. I'd played with the boys when I was practicing in Orlando, but this was much different. It was a great challenge and it made me a better player."
Michelle Wie has the most experience on the PGA Tour. She has played in eight events, but never made the cut.
"It's a great experience," she told the Golf Channel. "I learned so much playing with the guys, and it's definitely a unique experience. I think (Brittany) is 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 outdrive a couple of guys. That would be fun."
And her dad had no reservations about whether she should play or not.
"I told her to go for it," Tom said. "She's always wanted to give it a try. She really wanted to play in that mixed team tournament they had (JCPenney Classic). She was always the standard bearer for Laura Davies and John Daly. She loved being with the long hitters."
After Sunday's tournament, Brittany played in the Rockford Pro-Am in Illinois on Monday and planned to get in a practice round Tuesday. To prepare for the men's event, she played at Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, which is about 7,400 yards from the back tees.
The biggest change was hitting hybrid clubs into greens instead of wedges.
The goal, as always, is to play on the weekend. She said barring a win, this is likely the only time she will give the PGA Tour a try. But this opportunity was too big to pass up.
"It's kind of like playing in the Solheim Cup; you're not playing for yourself, you're representing your country," Brittany said. "Well, now I'm not representing myself, I'm representing the LPGA. Everyone just wants me to make the cut. My goal is to have a good time. Just treat it like a U.S. Open and go have fun."
The only downside to possibly making that historic cut? It will require two extra pairs of pants.
Contact Rodney Page at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @RodneyHomeTeam.
How other female golfers have fared on the PGA Tour
Babe Didrikson Zaharias
1938 Los Angeles Open: 81-84 (Missed the cut)
1945 Los Angeles Open: 76-81-79 (Missed the third day cut)
1945 Phoenix Open: 77-72-75-80 (Made the cut, finished 33rd)
1945 Tucson Open: 74-81—155 (Qualified; finished 42nd)
1952 Northern California-Reno Open: 77-80-77-80—314 (No cut)
2003 Greater Hartford Open: 75-78 (Missed the cut)
2003 Colonial Open: 71-74 (Missed the cut)
2004 Sony Open: 72-68—140 (Missed the cut by one shot).
2005 Sony Open: 75-74—149 (Missed the cut)
2005 John Deere Classic: 70-71—141 (Missed the cut)
2006 Sony Open: 79-68—147 (Missed cut)
2006 John Deere Classic: 77-WD
2006: 84 Lumber Classic: 77-81—158 (Missed cut)
2007 Sony Open: 78-76—154 (Missed cut)
2008 Reno-Tahoe Open: 73-80—153 (Missed cut)