Wies Golf Game Impressive

By Associated PressMarch 26, 2004, 5:00 pm
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- Michelle Wie is maturing, and so is her golf game.
The way she handled herself and the golf course Friday was evidence of both.
The long hitting 14-year-old kept herself in contention midway through the Kraft Nabisco Championship with an even-par 72 that put her at 3-under 141, five shots better than she was at the same time a year ago.
It wasn't just the improvement on the scorecard that was impressive. It was the way Wie went about fashioning it.
The driver remained in the bag, for the most part, mostly because Wie has come to understand that just bombing the ball down the fairway doesn't win golf tournaments. The wind was gusting and she played within herself, taking what the course would give her.

Perhaps more importantly, Wie seemed to be having fun, and it showed. She chatted happily with playing partner Stephanie Louden, jumped up and down when a birdie putt didn't go in, and left the 18th green with no regrets.
'I'm very proud of myself,' Wie said.
Her father was, too. B.J. Wie caddied for his daughter last year, but he stood outside the ropes Friday and watched as Wie handled the conditions and the pressure of a major championship with skills far beyond her young age.
'What I'm really happy about is she got better than last year,' B.J. Wie said. 'As long as we see improvement, we're happy.'
There wasn't a lot to be unhappy about in a performance that showed how far Wie has come from last year, when she shot a third-round 66 and ended up with a ninth-place finish.
Wie teed off on a chilly morning with hard winds gusting around the Dinah Shore tournament course at Mission Hills Country Club after an opening 3-under 69. Father and daughter set a goal for the day of even par and, nearly five hours later, that's what Wie shot.
'I was happy I shot even par because it could have been a lot worse,' she said.
Wie wisely kept the driver out of play until a couple of holes on the back nine when the wind was behind her back and the opportunity presented itself. She also showed she had learned something about her game in the year since she made her major championship debut here.
On the 10th hole she had a shot from the right rough to a short right pin - a shot she might have attempted last year with a hard pitching wedge. Instead, she hit a knockdown 9-iron and ran it up to the green, something a more experienced player might do.
She had spent much of the previous afternoon on the driving range trying to correct a swing flaw that led her to hook the ball, leaving only when it got dark.
'Her attitude has changed dramatically since last year,' B.J. Wie said. 'She's getting more mature every year.'
Indeed, Wie seemed shut off from other players and treated much like an outsider last year, especially after a contentious situation at the U.S. Open. But she's beginning to be able to have conversations with many players, and it helped that she played with Louden the first two rounds.
'Michelle has played with Stephanie before and Stephanie went to Stanford, where Michelle wants to go,' her father said. 'She considers her like a big sister.'
Stanford, though, may no longer be Wie's goal after high school. B.J. Wie said for the first time that his daughter might turn pro at the age of 18 instead of playing in college.
B.J. Wie said, though, that he talked with LPGA commissioner Ty Votaw and assured him that his daughter has no interest in asking for an exemption to the LPGA minimum age of 18.
'Michelle will not turn professional before 18,' he said. 'It's a really high priority for her.'
When you're having the kind of fun Wie is having this week, it's easy to see why.
'I think at this young age, if I'm playing for money, I don't think I'd be able to handle it,' she said. 'I like being an amateur, being carefree out there.'
Related links:
  • Leaderboard - Kraft Nabisco Championship

  • Full Coverage - Kraft Nabisco Championship

    Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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    Watch: Tiger highlights from Round 2 at Honda

    By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 23, 2018, 8:12 pm

    Tiger Woods started at even par in Round 2 of the Honda Classic. Friday began with a bogey at the par-4 second, but Woods got that stroke back with a birdie at the par-4 fourth:

    Following four consecutive pars, Woods birdied the par-4 ninth to turn in 1-under 34.

    At 1 under for the tournament, Woods was tied for 10th place, three off the lead, when he began the back nine at PGA National. And the crowd is loving it.

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    Defending champ Fowler misses cut at Honda

    By Ryan LavnerFebruary 23, 2018, 7:14 pm

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The roles might be reversed this weekend for Rickie Fowler.

    Last year, when he won at PGA National, Fowler was greeted behind the 18th green by Justin Thomas, one of his Jupiter neighbors. Thomas had missed the cut in his hometown event but drove back to the tournament to congratulate Fowler on his fourth PGA Tour title.

    It’s Fowler who will be on the sidelines this weekend, after missing the Honda Classic cut following rounds of 71-76.  

    Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

    Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    “I haven’t been swinging it great the last month and a half,” he said afterward. “Obviously playing in the wind, it will pick you apart even more.”

    After a tie for fourth at Kapalua, Fowler has missed two of his last three cuts. In between, at the Phoenix Open, he coughed up the 54-hole lead and tied for 11th.

    Fowler said he’s been struggling with commitment and trust on the course.

    “It’s close,” he said. “Just a little bit off, and the wind is going to make it look like you’re a terrible weekend golfer.”

    Asked if he’d return the favor for Thomas, if he were to go and win, Fowler smiled and said: “Of course.”  

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    Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

    By Tiger TrackerFebruary 23, 2018, 7:00 pm

    Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

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    Cut Line: Woods still eyeing Ryder Cup dual role

    By Rex HoggardFebruary 23, 2018, 6:57 pm

    In this week’s edition, Jack Nicklaus makes the argument, again, for an equipment rollback, Tiger Woods gets halfway to his Ryder Cup goal and Paul Lawrie laments slow play ... in Europe.

    Made Cut

    Captain’s corner. Last week Tiger Woods coyly figured he could do both, play and be a vice captain for this year’s U.S. Ryder Cup team. On Tuesday, he made it halfway to his goal.

    U.S. captain Jim Furyk named Woods and Steve Stricker vice captains for this year’s matches, joining Davis Love III on the team golf cart.

    Whether Woods will be able to pull off the double-header is now largely up to him and how his most recent comeback from injury progresses, but one way or another Furyk wanted Tiger in his team room.

    “What Tiger really has brought to the table for our vice captains is a great knowledge of X's and O's,” Furyk said. “He's done a really good job of pairing players together in foursomes and fourball. When you look at our team room and you look at a lot of the youth that we have in that team room now with the younger players, a lot of them became golf professionals, fell in love with the game of golf because they wanted to emulate Tiger Woods.”

    Woods is currently 104th on the U.S. points list, but the qualification process is designed for volatility, with this year’s majors worth twice as many points. With Tiger’s improved play it’s not out of the question that he gets both, a golf cart and a golf bag, for this year’s matches.

    #MSDStrong. Every week on Tour players, officials and fans come together to support a charity of some sort, but this week’s Honda Classic has a more personal impact for Nicholas Thompson.

    Thompson graduated from nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and last week’s horrific shooting there inspired the former Tour member to work with tournament organizers and find a way to help the victims.

    Officials handed out 1,600 maroon ribbons to volunteers to honor the victims; and Thompson and his wife, who is also a Stoneman Douglas graduate, donated another 500 with the letters “MSD” on them for players, wives and caddies.

    Thompson also planned to donate 3,100 rubber bracelets in exchange for donations to help the victims and their families.

    “I’m not much of a crier, but it was a very, very sad moment,” Thompson told PGATour.com. “To see on TV, the pictures of the school that I went through for four years and the area where it occurred was terrible.”

    The Tour makes an impact on communities every week, but some tournaments are more emotional than others.

    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    Golden moment. Jack Nicklaus has never been shy about expressing his thoughts on modern equipment and how far today’s professionals are hitting the golf ball, but this week the Golden Bear revealed just how involved he may be in what is increasingly looking like an equipment rollback of some sort.

    During a recent dinner with USGA CEO Mike Davis, Nicklaus discussed the distance debate.

    “Mike said, ‘We’re getting there. We’re going to get there. I need your help when we get there.'” Nicklaus said. “I said, ‘That’s fine. I’m happy to help you. I’ve only been yelling at you for 40 years.’ 1977 is the first time I went to the USGA.”

    The USGA and R&A are scheduled to release their annual distance report before the end of the month, but after the average driving distance jumped nearly 3 yards last year on Tour – and nearly 7 yards on the Web.com Tour – many within the equipment industry are already bracing for what could be the most profound rollback in decades.

    Stay tuned.

    Geographically undesirable. Although this will likely be the final year the Tour’s Florida swing is undercut by the WGC-Mexico Championship, which will be played next week, the event’s impact on this year’s fields is clear.

    The tee sheet for this week’s Honda Classic, which had become one of the circuit’s deepest stops thanks to an influx of Europeans gearing up for the Masters, includes just three players from the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking, and none from top three. By comparison, only the Sony Open and CareerBuilder Challenge had fewer top players in 2018.

    On Monday at a mandatory meeting, players were given a rough outline of the 2018-19 schedule, which features some dramatic changes including the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players shifting back to March, and numerous sources say the Mexico stop will move to the back end of the West Coast swing and be played after the Genesis Open.

    That should help fields in the Sunshine State regain some luster, but it does nothing to change the fact that this year’s Florida swing is, well, flat.

    Missed Cut

    West Coast woes. Of all the highlights from this year’s West Coast swing, a run that included overtime victories for Patton Kizzire (Sony Open), Jon Rahm (CareerBuilder Challenge), Jason Day (Farmers Insurance Open) and Gary Woodland (Waste Management Phoenix Open), it will be what regularly didn’t happen that Cut Line remembers.

    J.B. Holmes endured the wrath of social media for taking an eternity - it was actually 4 minutes, 10 seconds - to hit his second shot on the 72nd hole at Torrey Pines, but in fairness to Holmes he’s only a small part of a larger problem.

    Without any weather delays, Rounds 1 and 2 were not completed on schedule last week in Los Angeles because of pace of play, and the Tour is even considering a reduction in field size at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open to avoid similar schedule issues.

    But all this seems to miss the point. Smaller fields aren’t the answer; rules that recognize and penalize slow play are the only solution.

    Tweet of the week: @PaulLawriegolf (Paul Lawrie) “Getting pretty fed up playing with guys who cheat the system by playing as slow as they want until referee comes then hit it on the run to make sure they don't get penalized. As soon as ref [is] gone it’s back to taking forever again. We need a better system.”

    It turns out slow play isn’t a uniquely Tour/West Coast issue, as evidenced by the Scot’s tweet on Thursday from the Qatar Masters.