Wie Finishes Dead Last Again

By Associated PressSeptember 15, 2006, 4:00 pm
84 Lumber ClassicFARMINGTON, Pa. -- She was playing in the 84 Lumber Classic and, for a while Friday, it appeared Michelle Wie might shoot an 84.
 
Wie's drives constantly landed short of the big-hitting pros, forcing her to use long irons on her second shots when the men were pulling out 7-irons. Her putts wouldn't drop, either, during a second-round 81 -- even those routine 4- to 6-footers most on tour can sink by the dozens.
 
Michelle Wie
Michelle Wie again found herself in over her head at the 84 Lumber Classic.
She keeps talking a good game when opposing the guys, but keeps playing a mediocre one. No wonder some of the PGA Tour players, polite and patient with her until now, are questioning what she's doing playing against men when she doesn't have the game for it. At least not yet.
 
'She's certainly not scaring anybody around here,' said Ryder Cup team member Scott Verplank, who also missed the cut. 'To be honest, I didn't even know she was here.'
 
Wie, who turns 17 next month, tried and failed for a sixth time in her short career to make the cut in PGA Tour event, something no woman has done since Babe Didrikson Zaharias in 1945. But while Wie came close a couple of times, she looked badly out of place Friday during her second last-place finish in as many weeks against men.
 
Her rounds of 77 and 81 left her 13 shots away from making the cut and a whopping 23 shots behind co-leaders Ryan Moore and Ben Curtis, who were at 9-under 135. That's a deficit normally associated with a club pro who wrangles an exemption to go against the big names.
 
'I'm not going to give up,' Wie said. 'I feel like I'm progressing, I'm getting better, even though my score didn't show it.'
 
But why keep doing it when she's not even coming close? She also finished last a week ago in the European Masters, with scores of 77 and 78. She had all of one birdie in 72 holes the last two weeks, that coming Friday on the par-4 16th during a round that included a double bogey and eight bogeys.
 
'I just had a bad two weeks, that's it. No more, no less,' she said. 'I feel like I'm getting better and better. my game is progressing, my shots are actually going to the fairway now. My shots are feeling solid.'
 
However, it appears she is judging her game against only her own performances, not those of the men she aspires to emulate. As Verplank pointed out Friday, not even Tiger Woods regularly tried to beat the men when he was 16.
 
'Obviously, she's some sort of phenom being a 16-year-old girl who can play like she can, but honestly there's not a male or female in the world who can compete out here at that age,' Verplank said. 'I'm sure there are some very fine 16-year-old boys who can play, but it would be awful hard for them to come out here and make a scratch.
 
'If I was her adviser, I would tell her to go kick all the ladies' tails around for about four years and if she wants to try again when she's 20, 21 and grown up more, and maybe a better player, come on back.'
 
That kind of talk doesn't discourage Wie, who promises to keep trying to beat the men -- as long, of course, as she gets the three or so sponsor exemptions a year she needs to compete. She got into the 84 Lumber field because of her close friendship with the lumber chain's founder, Joe Hardy, and her image was splashed on virtually every piece of promotional material distributed by the tournament.
 
She won't return to the 84 next year, as the tournament will fold after this weekend.
 
Despite being uncommonly mature for her age, she occasionally flashes the naivete of youth. She talks about making an adjustment here, a tweak there, when it seems evident that almost every part of her game needs upgrading to compete against the world's best male golfers.
 
'I definitely look forward to the next time and just kind of assess what went wrong, what happened,' she said. 'I have a clear idea of what I have to work on and what I have to do to get better. I'm definitely going to hit the gym.'
 
Wie, who returns to being a Hawaiian high school senior next week, insists she's not being pushed to keep playing against men by her father, swing coach David Leadbetter or her advisers.
 
'It's kind of like a teamwork kind of thing,' she said. 'We all put in our ideas, we all put in our opinions. But it all comes down to me. I have the final say on everything.'
 
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  • If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

    Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

    This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

    “I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

    In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

    If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

    “He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

    Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

    By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

    Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

    ''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

    The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

    The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    ''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

    ''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

    First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

    Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

    ''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

    ''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''