Oh Deere Wie Misses Cut

By Associated PressJuly 8, 2005, 4:00 pm
SILVIS, Ill. -- One ill-timed three-putt. A stray tee shot. Just like that, Michelle Wie went from historic to just plain history.
 
On the brink of becoming the first woman in 60 years to make a cut on the PGA Tour, the 15-year-old was out after finding big trouble on two of her last four holes in the John Deere Classic. Her even-par 71 Friday left her at 1 under for the tournament, missing the cut by two strokes. She finished tied for 88th.
 
Crowd Following Michelle Wie
Thousands were on hand to watch Michelle Wie Friday.
``It was pretty killer,'' she said. ``Even though I finished below par, it still feels (bad) because I played so well the first nine and then I just totally messed up the back nine.''
 
Wie was trying to become the first woman since Babe Didrikson Zaharias in 1945 to make a PGA Tour cut, and she was on track to do it with room to spare after making the turn at 4 under. But she came apart in stunning fashion, dropping three strokes on Nos. 6 and 7, and then missing a last-chance birdie putt on No. 8.
 
J.L. Lewis, the 1999 winner, followed his opening 64 with a 65 to take the lead at 13-under 129. Shigeki Maruyama (63) and Hunter Mahan (68) were second at 11 under.
 
But all the attention was on Wie, a ponytailed teenager from Honolulu.
 
``She missed two shots,'' tournament director Clair Peterson said. ``That's golf. It's risk-reward. She put herself out there and good for her. As Todd Hamilton said the other day, she's going to make a cut on the PGA Tour. If it wasn't today, someday.''
 
It looked as if it was going to be Friday until those last four holes.
 
Wie's troubles started on No. 6, when she put her first two shots in the bunker. She still had a chance for par, getting within 20 feet of the cup. But her first putt ran alongside the left edge and refused to drop, rolling about 5 feet by. She missed that one by inches, too, and had to take a double bogey, her first of the week.
 
``I guess I was too aggressive with my putt,'' she said. ``I hadn't made a bogey, and I didn't want to. It felt like a straightforward putt. If I'd hit it a little softer, it would have gone in.''
 
The double bogey dropped her to 2 under, with more trouble to come.
 
She pushed her tee shot on No. 7 so far right it bounced on the cart path. She got on the green from 35 yards out, but two-putted for another bogey, all but ending her chances for the weekend.
 
When her 14-foot birdie putt on No. 8 skirted the edge of the cup, the teenager from Hawaii sank to her knees. When she stood up, she looked skyward in disbelief.
 
``After those two holes, I was really just trying to make two birdies,'' she said, ``and my putts just kind of slid by the lip.''
 
No woman had made a PGA Tour cut since Zaharias at the 1945 Tucson Open, and it was another 58 years before another woman even tried. Annika Sorenstam teed it up at the 2003 Colonial, and Suzy Whaley played the Greater Hartford Open later that year. Neither made the cut.
 
Wie had played two other PGA Tour events, missing the cut at the 2004 Sony Open by a stroke. She fell short by seven strokes this year.
 
``On the LPGA Tour, I made the cut on my fourth try,'' she said. ``My fourth try is coming up, so I'm really looking forward to that.''
 
Wie doesn't have any other PGA Tour appearances set right now. She's playing in the men's U.S. Amateur Public Links next week at Shaker Run in Lebanon, Ohio.
 
``It was a great experience,'' said B.J. Wie, Michelle's father. ``I think it'll turn out to be good for Michelle. She'll be able to play practice rounds tomorrow and Sunday.''
 
A 1-under 70 in the first round put her a stroke over the projected cut, and Wie came out Friday looking determined to make up ground. She even wore a belt with a sparkly black ``68'' on the buckle, the number she wanted to shoot.
 
``I got it in France,'' she said. ``I thought it was a really cool number.''
 
She was on pace to get it with a quick start, making birdies on two of her first three holes, including a spectacular chip shot on the par-3 No. 12. Her tee shot sailed off to the left, and it bounced once before smacking spectator Gene Lebo on the right leg above the knee.
 
``It wasn't getting past me,'' joked Lebo, who was wearing, appropriately enough, a Hawaiian shirt. ``I played linebacker so I know how to keep the ball in the field.''
 
The ball dropped into the first row of the gallery about 40 feet from the green, but it would have been a lot farther had Lebo's leg not gotten in the way. Wie still had a tough shot, with her ball in deep grass.
 
But she chipped on, and when the ball rolled slowly into the hole, Wie thrust both of her arms triumphantly in the air before slapping hands with her caddie.
 
``If (Lebo) is reading the newspaper, I want to say, `Thank you,' and sorry for your pain,'' she said. ``It turned out great.''
 
She made the turn at 4 under after coming within 6 inches of the cup from 161 yards out on 18. The crowd of 10,000 greeted her with a standing ovation, and she acknowledged them with a couple of waves.
 
After tapping in for the birdie, a male fan yelled out, ``I love you Michelle!'' Wie turned and looked, laughing as she scanned the crowd.
 
But she wasn't laughing a few hours later, disappointed again.
 
``Definitely I'll care,'' she said. ``But I won't cry.''
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - John Deere Classic
  • Full Coverage - John Deere Classic
     
    Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Getty Images

    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

    Getty Images

    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

    Getty Images

    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

    Getty Images

    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.