Michelles Plate is Too Full

By Brian HewittJune 27, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 U.S. WomenSOUTHERN PINES, N.C. -- For the longest time it was the feel good story in all of golf. Then the feeling, for a whole shag bag full of reasons, wasnt so good. Now the Michelle Wie fairy tale is poised on the precipice of morphing into a cautionary tale.
 
On Thursday the 17-year-old Wie will play in her fifth (yes, her FIFTH) U.S. Womens Open. Last year she finished tied for third; the year before that she tied for 23rd and the year before that she wound up tied for 13th.
 
But she has shown up at Pine Needles this week with a wrist that isnt full strength; a recent golf resume that is weaker yet and enough bad press to make a typesetter blush.
 
At the Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika in late May she withdrew after 16 holes on the verge of shooting an 88, a number that would have precluded her playing in LPGA events the rest of the year. She cited the wrist but was seen practicing at the site of the next event, the McDonalds LPGA Championship, just days later.
 
At McDonalds she made the cut but finished dead last, by 10 shots, among the players who advanced to the weekend. Meanwhile, Annika Sorenstam criticized her for not apologizing for the controversial circumstances that surrounded her decision to stop playing at the Ginn tournament. Sorenstam said Wie should have shown more respect.
 
The overwhelming consensus was that Sorenstam was well within her rights to take Wie to task. Asked about Sorenstams comments, Wie refused to apologize.
 
A growing army of critics, who have clobbered Wie on everything from playing in too many mens events to being spacy in interviews, howled like banshees.
 
Fast forward to Tuesday at Pine Needles where Wie isnt even the teenager considered most likely to win anymore. That player is 19-year-old Morgan Pressel, who already has a major championship victory (Kraft Nabisco) on her record this year.
 
Nor is Wie the young media darling. That honor goes to Alexis Thompson who, at 12 years old, will be the youngest player ever in a U.S. Womens Open.
 
Sorenstam, when asked Tuesday, said she wasnt looking, or expecting, an apology from Wie at this late date. She said she would welcome talking about the situation (that still festers) if Wie wants to do so.
 
I said what I wanted to say and I stand for what I said, Sorenstam said. And I still feel that way.
 
Will she approach Wie on the matter any time soon?
 
I dont have a need to seek her out, said Sorenstam, who won her second Womens Open here in 1996. Im here to play this week.
 
Which brings us to Wies long and rambling Tuesday press conference, that took place two and a half hours ahead of Sorenstams. For starters, Wie didnt apologize for anything. But she did appear to take some blame.
 
I think my parents and managers; they help me to make my decisions, Wie said. They all have their advice, and they all advise me. But in the end its me that makes the decision because everyone realizes that its my life and Im the only person that is capable of making decisions. Im the only person that knows how my wrist is feeling every day.
 
As for the expectations that have been heaped on her from every direction: Im just so grateful that everyone has expectations of me, she said. It makes me work even harder.
 
Then Wie talked about being a teenage girl. I like to call back home and talk to my girl friends and my guy friends and just listen to their troubles for once and just talk about silly stuff, be stupid and just be goofy and just not to think about anything; just not to have a care in the world, she said. And to just lie in my bed and just lay sprawled out and just do nothing is what I like to do; just be lazy and just talk on the phone for hours.
 
Wie said she still plans on enrolling at Stanford University in the fall as a freshman. And, she said, she hasnt given up on playing more mens events in the future.
 
The more you listen to Michelle Wie the more you begin to get the idea that maybe a lot of these problems really are her fault. Her parents and handlers have taken most of the heat. But, as the late Earl Woods once told me, once Tiger got to a certain point in his life, if he didnt want to do something, nobody was going to make him do it.
 
The huge difference here is that Tiger never put too many things on his plate. He realized at an early age that things like being lazy and just talking on the phone for hours werent the best complement to his golf. He also attended Stanford but left after two years to play professional golf full time. Soon he was the best player in the world.
 
Maybe this part of the problem is Wies fault and nobody elses. Maybe she wants to do too many things. No law against wanting to grow up at the same pace as your friends. But maybe that isnt realistic when you also want to be the best player in womens golf and compete against men. And play in the Masters. And go to college. And ... well, the list goes on and on.
 
Maybe Michelle Wie has too much on her plate.
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
 
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.