BEDMINSTER, N.J. – Brittany Lincicome might be the least political person on the LPGA. Yet her recent comments to a reporter from the Chicago Tribune have put her front and center of the Donald Trump controversy at this week’s U.S. Women’s Open.
For those who know Lincicome (like I have for two decades), it’s absurd. She’d rather talk about the fish she caught last weekend than anything that’s being discussed on cable news.
I met with Lincicome outside the player locker room at Trump National Golf Club on Tuesday to talk about the backlash she has received and the context of her quotes.
“I don’t have anything against the President,” said Lincicome. “I’m not political. Him showing or not showing isn’t a big deal. I wanted it to be more about us and not flip the limelight to him. It’s our biggest week of the year.”
This is the quote from the Tribune that brought hate to Lincicome’s Twitter feed: “Hopefully maybe he doesn’t show up, and it won’t be a big debacle and it will be about us and not him.”
Lincicome is not anti-Trump. She’s pro-LPGA. The two-time major winner simply wanted the stage to belong to the 156 female athletes who have gathered on Trump’s property to compete for the biggest purse of the year ($5 million).
Lincicome went on to say that even if someone wanted to sit this week out for political reasons, it would be difficult to do so considering the paycheck that’s on the line and the job security that it brings. Lincicome never considered boycotting. Fellow American Stacy Lewis said she hasn’t heard a single player bring up the possibility.
Every player that came into the interview room on Tuesday was asked about Trump. Should he stay away this week? And why aren’t more players willing to speak up, like Lincicome?
For starters, Lincicome didn’t know she had done anything gutsy because she didn’t intend to take a political stance. She simply didn’t want to deal with practical things like traffic jams and secret service delays. She didn’t want her national open to be about anything other than golf.
Given that the country is so divided on Trump, why aren’t players taking a strong stance?
South Korea’s Inbee Park, a two-time U.S. Women’s Open champion, put it best: “I think everybody (is) just trying to avoid political questions because I don’t think they will get any advantage from saying whether they agree or disagree.”
For players, commenting is a lose-lose proposition.
Lincicome has more than 81,000 Twitter followers and is among the most active on tour. She does all her own social media and loves it.
When the vitriol started to pour in, she was hurt. Even John Daly turned down Lincicome’s Twitter invitation to her charity event over the Trump comments.
“People were like, I’m deleting you and not following you anymore,” said Lincicome, who noted that one fan said he planned to trash the hat she had signed for him.
At first, Lincicome responded individually to her fans, explaining that she was trying to take politics out of the U.S. Women’s Open rather than make it the focus. She managed to sway the guy with the hat, but after a while felt the need to take herself off Twitter entirely during championship week so that she could focus.
“It’s all just a misunderstanding,” said Lincicome.
One she’d like to move past.