Driving toward success

WES GILBERTSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:52 AM ET

Brittany Lincicome's ability to airmail a golf ball has already earned her millions.

But her hesitation to leave the big stick in the bag ultimately cost her father, Tom, his job.

"I love hitting it far, and I want to hit driver off every hole -- that's why I had to fire my dad as my caddy," Lincicome said.

"Him and I together were not a very good team because we both wanted to hit driver off every hole. Obviously, I learned early that you can't do that.

"He knew eventually he was going to get fired. He caddied nine holes for me (in a practice round) before the U.S. Open, and we're pulling driver on every hole, and I'm like, 'This is why you don't caddy for me any more.' "

Even with a fresh face on the bag, the 24-year-old from St. Petersburg, Fla., continues to wow crowds with her knack for nuking the ball.

And she's not alone.

Nowhere is the LPGA Tour's youth movement more apparent than on the tee, where the next wave of stars are pushing the limits of how far a female can drive a golf ball.

Heading into the Safeway Classic in North Plains, Ore., Lincicome ranked second on the LPGA's list of long-bombers, averaging 269.7 yards per drive in her fifth season on the pro circuit and trailing only 31-year-old South Korean Yani Tseng (270.2).

Next on the list is rookie Vicky Hurst (268.2), a fearless 19-year-old who has been compared to Michelle Wie.

Wie, 19, just so happens to rank fourth with an average of 267.2 yards per drive.

Hurst turned professional months before her high school graduation last June and immediately turned heads with her ability to clobber the ball.

At a Duramed Futures Tour event late last season, one golfer admitted Hurst's distance off the tee made her the envy of the locker-room, reportedly saying, "She has the face of a girl but hits it like a man."

Lincicome, who won her first major at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in April, hits it further than most men, including a couple of PGA Tour pros.

All part of the plan.

Nicknamed Bam-Bam, Lincicome counts heavy-hitters John Daly and Laura Davies among her golf heroes.

As a youngster, she even carried a scoring placard for the dynamic duo at the JC Penney Classic, a mixed team event that pairs a PGA Tour regular with one of their peers from the LPGA Tour.

"It was mind-blowing how far they could hit it. I was probably in high school or even middle school when I was watching them, so to even think you could hit a ball that far was crazy," Lincicome said.

"I just liked how aggressive they played. They never laid up.

"They always hit driver off every tee or even off the ground, and they went for everything."

Brittany and Tom Lincicome can agree on that point.

They just can't work together.


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