Fixing The Wie Problem

By Brian HewittAugust 25, 2007, 4:00 pm
Exactly when, where, why or how is hard to pinpoint. But now that Michelle Wie has played in six LPGA events this year without finishing better than 60th, its clear her train is officially off the tracks.
 
This became apparent to everybody last week at the CN Canadian Womens Open in Alberta where Wie missed the cut by four shots.
 
Her failure there barely caused a ripple. And that was the problem. The buzz is gone.
 
The next LPGA round she plays in less than 70 strokes will be her first in 2007. Of course there have been injuries. But there have also been contradictory explanations; lots of no comments from her spin doctors; and one very suspicious WD at the Ginn Tribute.
 
Where once there was a made-for-TV phenom, now there is just a mute button stuck in the silent mode.
 
Wie is still just a teenager. But her image desperately needs damage control. She is about to enroll at Stanford University for her freshman year yet already she must discover a second act to a nascent professional career that is badly stalled.
 
Rather than focus on the negative, Jim Fannin has a few positive professional thoughts on how to fix the problems.
 
Fannin is a self-described Change Your Life coach. And before you roll your eyes at that nomenclature, consider the fact that Fannin has worked extensively, one-on-one, with the mind of David Leadbetter, the man who works exclusively with the swing of Michelle Wie.
 
I have never met Michelle Wie in person, says Fannin, who also has worked with Yankee uberstar Alex Rodriguez and golfers Charles Howell, Luke Donald, Joe Durant and Julieta Granada, just to name a few. But Fannin has watched Wie with interest.
 
Michelle Wie needs to bury the past, Fannin says. She has to introduce herself to herself. And she needs, going forward, to deal with strength.
 
For the next 30 to 60 days she should focus on the positives of her golf game. Most people focus on the negatives. Self-esteem is what you think other people think of you. If you are concerned about that, you are in trouble.
 
Once upon a cautionary tale, Fannin worked with Ty Tryon, who got his PGA TOUR card at the tender age of 17 and quickly flamed out. What Fannin found in Tryons camp was a coterie of advisors who were concerned about all the wrong things. There were special sessions on signing autographs. And debates about whether he should use his full signature or just use a double T.
 
I was appalled, Fannin said.
 
Wie has a father who once courted the media and now shuns reporters. She has an agent on the west coast and a PR firm on the east coast. The signals from her camp are, at times, impossibly mixed.
 
I would look at my routines if I were Michelle, Fannin says. You will probably find that she doesnt have consistent mental routines. Im talking about sleep routines, eating routines and routines on the range. You need routines that fit you and are designed to get you into the zone state.
 
Fannin has made CDs titled: Life in the Zone, Business in the Zone, Tennis in the Zone, Sports in the Zone, Golf in the Zone, and Baseball in the Zone. He knows the territory.
 
Meanwhile this week, Wies state will be Oregon.
 
She is competing in the Safeway Classic Presented by Pepsi. The Portland venue is not all that far from the headquarters of Nike, a sponsor that has, admirably, stood by its investment in Wie through thick and thin. Lately it has been mostly thin. Friday Wie opened with a 7-over 79.
 
Michelle needs to be aware of what she thinks about, Fanning says. You need to know what keeps you engaged. The champion thinks less. Not more.
 
Clearly, Wie is heading in the other direction. After missing the cut last week she was asked how she plans to balance college with professional golf. I havent really figured that out yet, she said.
 
One national magazine advanced the theory that Wies poor play has been a way of rebelling against the childhood her golfing precocity has cost her. One national radio station floated the notion that Wie is exploring ways to retain her amateur status so she can play on the womens team at Stanford.
 
At some point Michelle has to be her own thinker, Fannin says. Golf is a game of decisions. When you believe youre a world class decision maker, youve arrived as a world class player. I still feel real positive about this girl.
 
Going deeper, Fannin talks about trusting intuition. Intuition is real-time information that your conscious mind does not possess, he says. Right now, shes probably not listening to her intuition.
 
Wies parents have come under increasing fire for mismanaging their daughters career to date. My advice to all parents is let your child be a decision-maker, Fannin says. From where Fannin sits, he doesnt think Wie has had the opportunity to make her own decisions.
 
Tiger Woods, we all know, is first rate decision-maker. Hes at the top of all athletes in the world in that department, Fannin says. Tiger listens to his intuition. Thats Michelles next great challenge.
 
She has a dominant advisory staff. And theyre very good. But usually when you have too many thoughts, you do nothing.
 

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    Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

    New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

    The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

    "Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

    It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

    Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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    Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

    SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

    Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

    He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

    Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

    Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.



    The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

    ''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

    Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

    Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

    ''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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    13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

    Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

    Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

    “An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”



    Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

    Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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    McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

    It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

    Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

    Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    “I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

    Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

    “Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

    This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.