Defending Steve Williams
Without further ado, more e-mails about Michelle Wie and some dish on Steve Williams, Tigers embattled caddie:
Jane writes: Steve Williams comments were totally inappropriate and he should be reprimanded. As Tiger's caddie, he is well known and has a responsibility to behave in a manner that is appropriate, recognizing that his actions and words may have a direct or indirect impact on his employer. When said employer has a high public profile it is even more important to conduct oneself appropriately. This applies to anyone in any profession where the association, be it with an individual or a corporation, is public knowledge.
Jane, even though you write like a lawyer, I agree with what youre saying.
Joe writes: I never write into blogs like this but here goes: I think Michelle Wie is a terrific golfer with a combination of great genetics and the support needed to succeed as a great athlete. However, the problem I see with her game is that she has not developed a killer or winning instinct. I have played basketball and football in college and one thing I know about winning is that it has little to do with just talent. Winners believe winning is their right and they do not hope or wish for it. This is also the reason why no one currently on the PGA (Tour), except for perhaps Vijay Singh and Padraig Harrington, will challenge Tiger for his top spot.
Methinks Joe has forgotten the name of one Anthony Kim. And, yes, even if Michelle Wie had won at Q-School, despite a small first prize, I think it would have done wonders for her psychologically.
Brian writes: Tiger works hard to have an impeccable image on and off the course. He accepts the role of role model with precision. We are talking about a man who makes New Year's resolutions to be a better person. With this in mind, if these comments by Stevie (Williams) are true, seems to reason that some discipline is in order. Tiger's response and how he deals with it will be interesting. This is a modern day Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan relationship and one that should be handled with much more class and respect ' for the good of the game. Comments like these lower our gentleman's game to that of street hoops or a hockey match.
Judging from Tigers response to Williams indiscreet use of the language toward Phil Mickelson, Williams better have learned some kind of lesson from this or he will be looking for work on another bag. Speaking of which, in the unlikely event that Woods does sack Williams ' you heard it here first ' I couldnt think of a better replacement than Terry McNamara, the man on Annika Sorenstams bag through her glory years. McNamara is a class act and would never campaign for a job that isnt open yet. But Annika and Tiger share the same agent, Mark Steinberg. Steinberg and everybody else in the golf division he runs at IMG know who McNamara is. McNamara is personable and tough when he needs to be. He is stable. He is hard-working and he is everything Tiger or anybody else could want in a caddie.
Scott writes: There is a ton of talent on the LPGA, and LOTS of great stories. Shame on you for picking the lowest hanging fruit of all ' the Wie (I hate typing that word) story. Stacy Lewis won the event, yet all she gets is a mention in passing. Anna Rawson provided everyone with a nice surprise by qualifying. Meanwhile, you focused your story on someone, who once again proved unable to even close strong, let alone win. Let's highlight the winners, and not recycle the leftovers.
Wow, Wie is still only 19 years old and already she has been consigned to the status of low hanging fruit and leftovers. Harsh.
Bill writes: The Golf Channel is a business. The reality is, I checked the LPGA Q-School at least twice a day, and I wouldn't have done that if it wasn't for Wie. Show me the money. When Wie and Tiger are in contention, the viewership goes up. Actually, I'm sick of hearing about both of them, but I understand why they are in the headlines. This isn't NPR; golf is a business.
Bill speaks the truth.
Kendall writes: After reading all the negative comments about Michelle Wie, I felt compelled to chime in with one fact: The game of golf needs stars ... superstars if possible. Michelle Wie is likeable, cute, and a real talent. She's just more fun to watch than most other golfers. And now she's proving her self the old fashioned way in Q-School. So hopefully everyone can stop treating her like somehow she's bad for the game, because we all know better. She's news. I'm shocked to hear people in the golf community be so negative ' she's a nice young lady, and an exciting story to follow.
Support for Wie. We dont get a lot of that in this forum either. Still waiting, by the way, for someone to defend Steve Williams.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm
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
Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff
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.
Watching Andrew Landry and Jon Rahm in playoff. Walking off tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me ? Talking at all. ?— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.
0 words— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The issue is I don’t want to make you a bit relaxed or comfortable. High pressure, good.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you watch the end of the NFL games yesterday ? Enough said.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
I didn’t say you couldn’t be friends and competitive. But in a playoff, 1 tiny mistake and you lose, and that devastated me. Friends before and after, competitors during play.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you win ? It’s all about surviving the competition to test yourself.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.
Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over
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.
Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions
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.