Michelle Wie Answers Her Critics

By Brian HewittMay 31, 2005, 4:00 pm
It has become increasingly fashionable again, especially in the days since 18-year-old Paula Creamer won the LPGAs Sybase Classic, to bash Michelle Wie for regularly accepting sponsors exemptions to play in LPGA and PGA Tour events.
Wie, her critics insist, should be doing what Creamer'and Tiger Woods before Creamer'did. Which is to say she should be playing in more events against players her own age, the better to embed the habit of winning on a regular basis. Hawaiis Wie is 15.
My take on all of this is there is no right or wrong way. There is no model that fits all phenoms. By playing up against older, better players on a regular basis I think Wie is smart enough and tough enough to deal with the defeats while observing and learning the habits of the best players in the world and the conditions under which they perform.
More interesting to me is the fact that Wie herself, according to her father, has taken the time to write a letter to the Associated Press, defending her modus operandi. The Golf Channel has obtained a copy of the letter, written after Wie received a sponsors exemption to the John Deere Classic which will be played in early July. What follows are a few of the highlights of the letter:
This is Michelle Wie. I would like to take this opportunity to clarify myself with regards to playing in professional events and not following the conventional path that many great golfers have gone through
..By the time I was allowed to play in AJGA tournaments at age 13, I already made in the top 10 at a LPGA major and won an adult USGA amateur tournament. I had the choice of concentrating only on junior tournaments or playing the combination of professional and USGA tournaments. I chose the latter. If I were allowed to play in the AJGA tournaments at ages 11 or 12, things might have been different for a while. But I think I would have come back to the same choice.
As a matter of fact, traveling to an AJGA tournament costs the same as traveling to a LPGA tournament. If a Bentley and a Toyota cost the same, wouldnt anyone get a Bentley? I got a Bentley and do not regret my decision.
People always ask why I do what I do and why not just follow the conventional path. My answer is very simple. I always wanted to push myself to the limit. I started walking when I was nine months old and I started reading when I was just over one year old..I always wanted to do things fast..
When I play in a pro event, whether it is a LPGA or PGA event, I feel privileged to play because I get to meet and get to know all the players.I guess another reason I am playing professional events is to gain as much experience as I can before I turn pro. A lot of rookies dont do their best because they experience the same thing as I experienced in the first year, lost and confused. Junior tournaments and pro tournaments are very different. The atmosphere and course set-up are completely different.
..I am not afraid of failure, and I can not be. When I went to the Great Wall of China, I was really excited. I was walking up the stairs and going really high. I got tired and I looked down. At that point I saw how high I was and what would happen if I fell. I collapsed right at that very moment and sat down on the steps. I refused to go another step higher and crawled my way down. I feel that if I get afraid of failure, then I cant go any higher. Now I regret that I did not walk up higher to see what is up there.
..I am not going to do whatever the critics want me to do because they always change their minds anyway. No matter what the critics say about me, I am going to do whatever my heart tells me to do and I thank my parents for always backing me up. Dream big and I will reach the sky; dream small and my feet will never get off the ground.
Michelle Wie will make mistakes along the way. And she has much to learn about many things. All of which she shares in common with all 15-year-olds.
But after reading her impassioned defense, my respect for Wie has grown.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
Getty Images

Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

Getty Images

Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

Getty Images

McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

Getty Images

What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x