If Brittany Lincicome is successful in defending her CN Canadian Women's Open title this week at Vancouver Golf Club, don't be surprised if the cheers aren't as loud.
A year ago in Montreal, Lincicome captured her fifth LPGA Tour title with Canadian A.J. Eathorne as her caddie. Eathorne has since decided to take a break from life on the LPGA road, taking up a job at Predator Ridge Resort in Vernon, B.C.
So, this time around Lincicome has swapped initials, going from A.J. to T.J., as in veteran caddie Todd Jones.
"T.J. is somebody that's been out here for so long, that I felt more comfortable going with somebody that I knew," she said of Jones, who has caddied for the likes of Juli Inkster and Se Ri Pak.
Lincicome admits the addition of Jones is somewhat a departure for her, noting she preferred having female caddies in the past.
"I seem to do really well with them," she said. "I don't know if we can talk girl talk a little big more... I don't know if it I feel more comfortable or what it is."
The relationship with Jones seems to be working well. While she has yet to step back into the winner's circle this year, Lincicome has four top-10 results and comes into this week's event having finished tied for second at the Safeway Classic last weekend.
"It's more of them keeping you calm as a player and not geting ahead of yourself," she said. "Let's talk about fishing and talk about anything else other than you need a birdie this hole to get into a playoff. Just kind of take your mind off what's going on."
Eathorne is back as well, as the caddie for fellow Canadian golfer Alena Sharp.
"So happy to be back on home soil for @cnwomensopen!," tweeted the Hamilton, Ont., golfer. "No clubs yet but no worries! I have @AJEATHORNE on my bag this week. #goingtobeawesome"
Lincicome says she's looking forward to the challenge of defending the title against 48 of the top 50 players in the world in the field this week.
"I think it's going to be a little easier defending not playing the same golf course, not the same pressure," she said. "A four day event with all the top players in the world, to win an event like that, you've beaten the best and that means you are one of the best. If I'm the one tha gets to come out on top it will be an unbelievable feeling."
Even though she's never played the Vancouver layout, the course would seem to be tailored for someone like Lincicome, considered one of the longest hitters on the LPGA Tour. She's currently second in average driving distance, trailing only Canadian rookie Maude-Aimee Leblanc who is not here this week due to a back injury. The Vancouver Golf Club will measure 6,681 yards, the longest in Canadian Women's Open history.
"Some of the holes are really long coming in, but not super long in between," she said, echoing what other players have said about two distinct nine hole layouts.
"The front nine is really hilly, so getting through those holes you're excited because you're not walking up-and-down [on the back nine]."
"It's more going to be whoever can get it close to the green and close to the pin and who can putt it with the fewest strokes is going to win this week for sure."
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