Golf is not the be-all, end-all for LPGA star Brittany Lincicome

Posted: May 04, 2012

GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. — Brittany Lincicome obviously can’t wait to get back to the Seaview Resort in another month. And not just because she’s the defending champion of the LPGA’s ShopRite Classic (June 1-3 on the Bay Course). There are also the hotel’s tennis courts. Not to mention those casinos across Absecon Bay. If they only had a dock to park her new fishing boat, the venue would be complete.

The 26-year-old Floridian is hardly one-dimensional. So don’t expect to find her pounding balls on the driving range until the moon comes out. That’s not her style.

“For me, just being on this property is convenient,” Lincicome said at Monday’s pretournament media fest. “I’m bringing my racket, so I can play [tennis] every day. It’s a win-win. I get to play some golf, [then] have some more fun. It means a lot.

“I played three times last week [at the Mobile Bay Classic in Alabama, where she tied for fourth]. A couple of us were discussing where our next [chance]] would be. We’ll have a big match, I guess. I hate working out in a gym, so if I can run around for a couple of hours it’s so much [better]…

“I like to play poker, too. I think I made it [to Atlantic City] once last year. A lot of girls stay over there, which is really dangerous, because they end up in the casinos all day.”

Lincicome, who has won five times (twice in 2011), is 18th on this year’s money list ($185,545) and 11th in the world rankings, which makes her the fourth-highest American. Yet she gets just as much from spending the afternoon on her new toy, a 24-foot bay boat with all the necessities: a tower, 24 rod holders, trawling motor and 300 horsepower. Because who can tell when you might cross paths with a really big one?

“Golf is what I do for a living,” said Lincicome, who said she upgraded from a 22-foot model. “Fishing is something to do on the side. If I didn’t have to play golf and could fish every day, I would totally do it.

“I saw that ‘Wicked Tuna’ show on TV. They were catching 1,000-pound fish and selling it for, like, 15 grand. And I’m like, ‘I’m in the wrong business.’?”

Maybe she could make a guest appearance.

“That could be cool,” she said, smiling. “Good idea.”

Lincicome said she has hooked a 4-foot shark.

“It probably took 20 minutes,” she said. “Every time he saw the boat, he would take off again, which was obviously fun. Tarpon season’s coming around.”

Whatever works.

“Some girls need to hit balls for 8 hours,” she said. “Others can take a couple of days off and be perfectly fine. Then it’s back to the grind. I feel like I have a really good balance. If I practice a little bit more, I might be better, but that’s not something I want to sacrifice right now. Maybe when I’m 30. I think it’ll kick in eventually.

“Having a little more success last year [when she finished sixth on the money list], I found myself this year wanting to practice more and do better. Ever since I was little — and I did home schooling — my parents tried to keep it fun. If they saw me getting mad on the golf course, they’d put my clubs away for [a while]?…?If a parent comes up and asks me, ‘How can I make my kid good,’ I always say, don’t force them. Let them enjoy it.”

Earlier this season, after Lincicome missed a cut for the first time in more than 40 tournaments, she broke down crying on the putting green. Still, it didn’t change who she is. That’s a good thing.

She noted that the Korean players on the tour seem more intense about practicing.

“I’m not saying it’s wrong. Just different,” she said. “They probably couldn’t perform on 1 hour [of practice] a day. But you’ll see some girls out there [constantly] and still not getting any better. You want to go up to them and say, ‘You know, you’re kidding yourself. Maybe you need to let it go.’ I’ve never tried to take it too seriously. Just try to be normal.

“I don’t want to wake up when I’m 30 and say I’ve dedicated my life to [one thing]. I know girls who weren’t allowed to date, go out with their friends or do anything that wasn’t golf-related. I can be out on my boat all day. You’ve got to go with the flow…

“If I’m in the final hand of a poker tournament or something, it’s like I’m shaking. I’m so nervous, because I don’t know what the outcome’s going to be or what’s going on. It’s the same with golf. You never know. You can finish fourth one week, then miss the cut. So it can be hit or miss on what that day’s going to give you. But catching a shark or winning a golf tournament, they’re a cool rush.” n

Contact Mike Kern at kernm@phillynews.com.

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