Wie Building Her Legend with Small Victories

By Associated PressMay 16, 2006, 4:00 pm
In a span of 12 hours, Michelle Wie made headlines in three parts of the world stretching across 12 time zones.
She accepted an invitation to play the Omega Masters in Switzerland, which will make her the first woman to compete in a continental European PGA Tour event. A few hours later, the 16-year-old received a special exemption to the U.S. Women's Open in Newport, R.I., which is sure to infuriate Morgan Pressel and others who believe she should have had to qualify.
And to complete this manic Monday, Wie made history as the first woman to advance to the final stage of U.S. Open qualifying.
Ever the drama queen, Wie was headed toward a double bogey on the 17th hole at Turtle Bay in Honolulu when she hooked her tee shot so far left into the trees that she hit a provisional. Someone found her ball, she managed to chip out sideways, then fired a 6-iron from 170 yards into 5 feet to escape with par. She wound up with an even-par 72 and was a medalist.
How to celebrate such an eventful Monday?

By cracking open the books, not a bottle of bubbly.
'She missed school today,' said her father, B.J. Wie. 'She started doing a lot of homework right after we came back from qualifying.'
The father turned pages in two books of his own. One was a calendar, the other was a road map.
The next stop on Wie's wild and wonderful ride is June 5 at Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit, N.J., site of the 36-hole sectional qualifier where she will compete against dozens of PGA Tour players for a spot in the U.S. Open at Winged Foot. Then she heads south to Bulle Rock outside Baltimore for the LPGA Championship, which starts June 8.
'I think we're going to leave home on the 28th of May and fly to Baltimore and practice there for three days,' her father said. 'Then Thursday morning, fly to New Jersey and practice Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, nine holes each day to save her energy. It sounds like a lot, but she can handle it. She amazes me.'
Wie has been doing that for some time.
For those who say she needs to win, Wie has redefined winning without hoisting a trophy.
She didn't win the Sony Open, but her 68 in the second round at age 14 was the lowest score ever shot by a female on a men's tour. She didn't win the U.S. Amateur Public Links -- or a trip to the Masters that came with it -- but she reached the quarterfinals last summer and kept everyone watching and wondering.
Along the way, these 'victories' have turned her into the biggest attraction in women's golf, and probably the third-biggest draw in all of golf behind Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Name another player capable of spiking ticket sales or TV ratings.
Against women, winning now seems to be a matter of when, not if.
In her only two LPGA Tour events this year, she missed a playoff by one shot both times, one of those tournaments a major. That's what led to her free pass to the U.S. Women's Open. Had she been an LPGA Tour member -- the tour has a minimum age limit of 18 -- Wie would be No. 16 on the money list after two tournaments. The top 35 are exempt to the Women's Open.
Keep in mind that her two LPGA events were five weeks apart. It will be easier to gauge Wie's progress this summer when she plays eight times in 15 weeks -- make that nine tournaments if she somehow qualifies for Winged Foot.
The U.S. Open, however, remains a dream.
The other development Monday is more of a reality.
Get used to Wie accepting exemptions to tournaments in Europe and elsewhere. By the time 2006 is over, she will have competed on the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, European PGA Tour, Asian Tour and the Japan PGA Tour. About the only other golfer who keeps that kind of itinerary is Ernie Els.
'Me and my dad were kind of joking that we're basically playing on all tours this year,' she said. 'I think it's awesome. It's always what I wanted to do.'
B.J. Wie first shared this vision at the start of the 2005 season. The plan was for her to become a global icon in golf, which she is now. He could see his daughter playing a men's or women's event in Europe, some in Asia. Most of her events would be on the LPGA Tour, but that doesn't mean she has to join. Wie gets a maximum of eight exemptions on the LPGA; given her global travels, that's all she needs.
Take a close look at 2006.
Her 14 tournaments include eight on the LPGA Tour, three on the PGA Tour, one each in Japan, Europe and South Korea. She made the cut for the first time against the men at the SK Telecom Open two weeks ago in South Korea.
'I think we are following that blueprint,' B.J. Wie said. 'She likes it. The trip to Korea was fantastic. It was so much fun. As long as she has good health and good motivation, she wants to travel around the world like a global player, like Ernie Els.'
Wie will be under far greater scrutiny, but she has shown an amazing capacity to handle it.
Some will complain Wie is taking a spot away from someone trying to make a living, and that is sure to come up at the 84 Lumber Classic in September as the PGA Tour season enters its final two months and players are trying to keep their cards. But if a guy can't earn one of the 140 or so spots in a tournament, he has no one to blame but himself. As much as the PGA Tour is charging title sponsors these days, the sponsors have a right to invite someone who will help them sell tickets.
Winning the local qualifier for the U.S. Open will keep Wie in the news for the next three weeks. No one expects her to make it. But no one can be sure what will happen.
These small victories only make her more popular in any time zone.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cut Line: Lyle faces third bout with cancer

By Rex HoggardNovember 24, 2017, 5:40 pm

In this week’s holiday edition, Cut Line is thankful for the PGA Tour’s continued progress on many fronts and the anticipation that only a Tiger Woods return can generate.

Made Cut

The Fighter. That was the headline of a story Cut Line wrote about Jarrod Lyle following his second bout with cancer a few years ago, so it’s both sad and surreal to see the affable Australian now bracing for a third fight with leukemia.

Lyle is working as an analyst for Channel 7’s coverage of this week’s Emirates Australian Open prior to undergoing another stem cell transplant in December.

“I’ve got a big month coming,” Lyle said. “I’m back into hospital for some really heavy-duty treatment that’s really going to determine how things pan out for me.”

Twice before things have panned out for Lyle. Let’s hope karma has one more fight remaining.

Changing times. Last season the PGA Tour introduced a policy to add to the strength of fields, a measure that had long eluded officials and by most accounts was a success.

This season the circuit has chosen to tackle another long-standing thorn, ridiculously long pro-am rounds. While there seems little the Tour can do to speed up play during pro-am rounds, a new plan called a 9&9 format will at least liven things up for everyone involved.

Essentially, a tournament hosting a pro-am with four amateurs can request the new format, where one professional plays the first nine holes and is replaced by another pro for the second nine.

Professionals will have the option to request 18-hole pro-am rounds, giving players who limit practice rounds to just pro-am days a chance to prepare, but otherwise it allows Tour types to shorten what is an admittedly long day while the amateurs get a chance to meet and play with two pros.

The new measure does nothing about pace of play, but it does freshen up a format that at times can seem tired, and that’s progress.

Tweet of the week: @Love3d (Davis Love III‏) “Thanks to Dr. Flanagan (Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center) for the new hip and great care! Can’t wait to get back to (the PGA Tour).”

Love offered the particularly graphic tweet following hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, a procedure that he admitted he’d delayed because he was “chicken.”

The surgery went well and Love is on pace to return to the Tour sometime next spring. As for the possibility of over-sharing on social media, we’ll leave that to the crowd.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Distance control. The Wall Street Journal provided the octagon for the opening blows of a clash that has been looming for a long time.

First, USGA executive director Mike Davis told The Journal that the answer to continued distance gains may be a restricted-flight golf ball with an a la carte rule that would allow different organizations, from the Tour all the way down to private clubs, deciding which ball to use.

“You can’t say you don’t care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand,” Davis said. “The impact it has had has been horrible.”

A day later, Wally Uihlein, CEO of Acushnet, which includes the Titleist brand, fired back in a letter to The Journal, questioning among other things how distance gains are putting a financial burden on courses.

“The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate,” Uihlein wrote.

For anyone paying attention the last few years, this day was inevitable and the likely start of what will be a drawn out and heated process, but Cut Line’s just not sure anyone wins when it’s over.

Tiger, take II. Tiger Woods’ return to competition next week at the Hero World Challenge was always going to generate plenty of speculation, but that hyperbole reached entirely new levels this week as players began giving personal accounts of the new and improved 14-time major champion.

“I did talk to him, and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years,’” Day said as he prepared for the Australian Open. “If he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.”

Rickie Fowler added to the frenzy when he was asked this month if the rumors that Woods is driving the ball by him, by 20 to 30 yards by some reports, are true?

“Oh, yeah,” he told Golf.com. “Way by.”

Add to all this a recent line that surfaced in Las Vegas that Woods is now listed at 20-1 to win a major in 2018, and it seems now may be a good time for a restraint.

Golf is better with Woods, always has been and always will be, but it may be best to allow Tiger time to find out where his body and game are before we declare him back.

Missed Cut

Searching for answers. Twelve months ago, Hideki Matsuyama was virtually unstoppable and, regardless of what the Official World Golf Ranking said, arguably the best player on the planet.

Now a year removed from that lofty position, which featured the Japanese star finishing either first or second in six of his seven starts as the New Year came and went, Matsuyama has faded back to fifth in the world and on Sunday finished fifth, some 10 strokes behind winner Brooks Koepka, at the Dunlop Phoenix.

“That hurt,” Matsuyama told the Japan Times. “I don’t know whether it’s a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well. It seems there are many issues to address.”

Since his last victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Matsuyama has just two top-10 finishes on Tour and he ended his 2016-17 season with a particularly poor performance at the Presidents Cup.

While Matsuyama’s take seems extreme considering his season, there are certainly answers that need answering.

Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

Updated at 11:14 a.m. ET

An Instagram user known as hwalks posted photos to her account that included images of Tiger Woods, President Trump and Dustin Johnson Friday at Trump National, as well as video of Woods' swing.

Original story:

Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''

Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open

Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.