Moving the Needles

By Brian HewittDecember 5, 2008, 5:00 pm
The Comebackers feedbackers this week are all over Michelle Wies quest for her LPGA card. And not all of that feedback is nice.
Without further ado:

Mike writes:Perhaps if Wie hadn't been so focused on beating the men she could've concentrated on beating the women.
The Comebacker

Doug writes:Please tell me the reason the Golf Channel pays so much attention to this girl. She is not an above average player and she did not perform well in 08, so what is the fascination? I run a golf shop and have gotten sick over the hourly updates on her performance when there are some past winners and up-and-coming players who actually had a fair 08 but just not good enough. The record and performance she has given since playing (as a) pro has not been worth all the attention. She is receiving the type of attention if Annika (Sorenstam)had to go thru Q-(S)chool to play next year and she is not worthy of polishing Annikas shoes.
The Comebacker Doug, with all due respect, you need to get out of the shop once in a while. To say Michelle Wie is not above average is an insult she does not deserve. And shes received plenty of insults the last couple of years.

Tom writes:Well, here we go again, Brian. It seems that the LPGA is ready to fold at any moment, and, somehow, Michelle Wie is the only one who can save it. Michelle Wie suffers from bad judgment and bad management, and the LPGA can do nicely without her. She turned pro too soon, especially if she intended to go to college. She lost more than she gained with that one. Whos guiding her? If its (David) Leadbetter, he should stick to trying to teach her how to play the game. As for Michelle, she needs to decide if its going to be professional golf or Stanford, because those are the only choices she has now. Personally, I would like to see her out on the tour, but only if she is going to be a full-time player. She possesses all of the physical talent to be one of the best to ever play the game, so why isnt she doing that? Last year was such a disaster that I didnt know if she would ever gain enough confidence to compete at the LPGA level again. Anyway, thanks for another amusing column.
The Comebacker Youre welcome. Fact is: Michelle needs the LPGA more than the LPGA needs her (which is not to say the LPGA doesnt need her a lot.) The reason is: she needs a regular schedule. She needs to get a rhythm to her schedule. I agree with Leadbetter when he says all the stopping and starting, particularly with all the commutes to Hawaii, has taken a heavy toll on Wies game.

Jeff writes:What a prima donna. Her parents wont speak to the press? If her game was as good as everybody thought why not skip college? She drops out of tournaments for: sore wrist? Heat exhaustion? Who was the fool from Nike who gave her a $10 million contract with one win: U.S. Publinks? Add up her scores over the past two years. Shes a strong 10 handicap.
The Comebacker Michelle Wie, getting 10 shots from any scratch player you can find, can be my partner in a Saturday best-ball match anywhere you want to tee it up.

Dennis writes:It is without a doubt that the young lady was given too much money and she had little to drive her after that. She has been resting on laurels she has never earned ' potential yes, and desire perhaps, and defeatism from her family emanates from her play. It is obvious that she isnt having fun. When she decides to prove herself it will be without her family smothering her every waking moment on the golf course. I may be wrong. I hope so.
The Comebacker Despite parental love and unquestioned support, her mother and father havent always been the best sounding boards for Wies career decisions.

Gar writes:Im pulling for Michelle to gain an LPGA card and then play on the LPGA Tour. Trying to keep up with the PGA (Tour) players ruined her game.
The Comebacker
I think we found a Michelle Wie fan.

Larry writes:You never give up covering Wie. They say Michael Phelps may earn five million-plus this year and Wie still earns 20 million (hope not). Don't you feel only because the media (you) is so fascinated with this loser that she attracts dollars and Phelps and others who are winners do not receive as much? Everyone I know laughs at what a joke Wie is.
The Comebacker Michelle Wie laughed her way all the way to a 7-under 65 Thursday at LPGA Q-School.

George writes:Too bad the LPGA is at a crossroads because every time they get to one they double bogey. They are losing sponsors, crowds are sparse at best and the yardage they claim the girls hit the ball must be done with smoke and mirrors. Also testing Sorenstam (for drugs) after her last LPGA event was stupid.
The Comebacker
Like, I said, the LPGA needs Michelle Wie, too.

Don writes:Since when is one golfer bigger than the game itself? Arnie, Jack and Lee are not competing anymore, but the game goes on. The LPGA will go on to bigger and better things. There are great players making the ladies game great.
The Comebacker
Wow, a positive e-mail.

M.D. writes:I remember reading an article by Jan Stephenson in which she stated that the 'Asians are killing the LPGA Tour,' or something to that effect. At the time I read it I thought that her statement was a stretch. Now, a few years later, I find myself watching the LPGA less and less often. If (Paula) Creamer, (Morgan) Pressel or someone else I recognize is in contention I'll watch. If, as is common, the leaderboard is full of names I can't pronounce ' I lose interest. So I agree ' the LPGA needs Wie. Can we just lose her parents?
The Comebacker
Double ouch.

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Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.