Questions About Michelle Wie

By Brian HewittOctober 3, 2005, 4:00 pm
In the coming days and weeks you will be hearing opinions on Michelle Wie. Everybody, in golf, will have one.
 
Here are mine in the form of 11 questions and 11 answers regarding the best 15-year-old female golfer on the planet who, unless something very strange happens between now and Wednesday, will announce Oct. 5 in Hawaii that she is turning professional.
 
1: IS MICHELLE WIE DOING THE RIGHT THING?
 
A: Yes. The white heat from the bonfire of questions that were only going to increase in volume was going to get hotter still. By turning professional, Wie and her family can get back to focusing on what brought her to our attention in the first place: Her golf game. Plus, the estimated $10 million she will sign for in endorsement monies, many experts believe, will never be higher than it is right now.
 
2: HOW GOOD IS MICHELLE WIE?
 
A: Not as good right now as she will be in five years. But good enough, right now, to win majors on the LPGA and good enough, right now, to make occasional cuts on the PGA Tour.
 
3: HOW GOOD CAN SHE BE?
 
A: Before all is said, and done I believe Michelle Wie will win at least 10 LPGA majors and probably closer to 20 (a lot depends on how much womens golf she plays.) I also think she can become good enough to earn her card on the PGA Tour.
 
4. WILL MICHELLE WIE EVER PLAY IN THE MASTERS?
 
A: Not, it is now obvious, as an amateur. Nothing she does in womens golf will get her an invite to Augustas rite of spring, either. That leaves the PGA Tour. It will be exceedingly difficult. But she is exceedingly extraordinary. Right now I will leave it at never-say-never. But its a long shot.
 
5. WILL MICHELLE WIE EVER WIN A PGA TOUR EVENT?
 
A: I believe she will finish in the top 10 more than once in a PGA Tour event before she is finished playing. If, on any of those occasions, she makes every putt she looks at on the back nine Sunday, yes, she can win a PGA Tour event.
 
6. BUT WILL SHE?
 
A: I cant bring myself to say yes. But that doesnt mean I wont be rooting for the story. And a Wie win on the PGA Tour would be a cover-of-Newsweek-and-Time Magazine type story.
 
7. WILL MICHELLE WIE ATTEND STANFORD?
 
A: We will find out more about this at the Wednesday press conference. But I believe the answer is, yes. My hope is, the answer is yes. This is something she says she wants and she ought to be able have the chance.
 
8. WILL SIGNING WITH THE WILLIAM MORRIS AGENCY TURN OUT TO BE A GOOD MOVE?
 
A: Much will depend on how good the sports marketing people recently hired by Morris turn out to be. It would have been less risky for Wie to sign up with powerful and experienced golf uber agency, IMG. But the Wie family has been thinking outside the norm for years now.
 
9. WILL MICHELLE WIE BURN OUT?
 
A: You hope she doesnt. And you find it easy to say you wont be surprised if she does. But I think Wie, even at the tender age of 15, is intelligent, assertive, perceptive and grounded enough to take a few years off if the competitive thing makes her toasty. She may marry. She may bear children one day. But I dont think she will ever divorce golf and I dont think golf will ever turn out to be a chore for her.
 
10. WHAT WILL MICHELLE WIES SCHEDULE LOOK LIKE IN 2006?
 
A: It will be a boutique schedule of LPGA and PGA Tour events into which she will gain entry through sponsors exemptions. She can play in up to eight LPGA events without being a member and seven PGA Tour events without having her card in that association. Not being a member, by the way, means she doesnt have to get releases to play internationally whenever the offer or opportunity is too good to refuse.
 
11. WHAT KIND OF APPEARANCE FEE MONEY CAN MICHELLE WIE COMMAND IN ASIA RIGHT NOW?
 
A: I am told by a veteran LPGA player who knows, that Wie is worth a million dollars per tournament at the moment in Asia. Thats a staggering amount of money. But the fact is, Wie, with her Asian extraction, is more of curiosity right now in places like Seoul and Tokyo than she is in New York or Chicago.
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
Getty Images

Crocker among quartet of Open qualifiers in Singapore

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 2:20 pm

Former amateur standout Sean Crocker was among four players who qualified for the 147th Open via top-12 finishes this week at the Asian Tour's SMBC Singapore Open as part of the Open Qualifying Series.

Crocker had a strong college career at USC before turning pro late last year. The 21-year-old received an invitation into this event shortly thereafter, and he made the most of his appearance with a T-6 finish to net his first career major championship berth.

There were four spots available to those not otherwise exempt among the top 12 in Singapore, but winner Sergio Garcia and runners-up Shaun Norris and Satoshi Kodaira had already booked their tickets for Carnoustie. That meant that Thailand's Danthai Boonma and Jazz Janewattanond both qualified thanks to T-4 finishes.


Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


Crocker nabbed the third available qualifying spot, while the final berth went to Australia's Lucas Herbert. Herbert entered the week ranked No. 274 in the world and was the highest-ranked of the three otherwise unqualified players who ended the week in a tie for eighth.

The next event in the Open Qualifying Series will be in Japan at the Mizuno Open in May, when four more spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs. The 147th Open will be held July 19-22 in Carnoustie, Scotland.

Getty Images

Got a second? Fisher a bridesmaid again

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:40 pm

Ross Fisher is in the midst of a career resurgence - he just doesn't have the hardware to prove it.

Fisher entered the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a share of the lead, and as he made the turn he appeared in position to claim his first European Tour victory since March 2014. But he slowed just as Tommy Fleetwood caught fire, and when the final putt fell Fisher ended up alone in second place, two shots behind his fellow Englishman.

It continues a promising trend for Fisher, who at age 37 now has 14 career runner-up finishes and three in his last six starts dating back to October. He was edged by Tyrrell Hatton both at the Italian Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the fall, and now has amassed nine worldwide top-10 finishes since March.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Fisher took a big step toward ending his winless drought with an eagle on the par-5 second followed by a pair of birdies, and he stood five shots clear of Fleetwood with only nine holes to go. But while Fleetwood played Nos. 10-15 in 4 under, Fisher played the same stretch in 2 over and was unable to eagle the closing hole to force a playoff.

While Fisher remains in search of an elusive trophy, his world ranking has benefited from his recent play. The veteran was ranked outside the top 100 in the world as recently as September 2016, but his Abu Dhabi runner-up result is expected to move him inside the top 30 when the new rankings are published.

Getty Images

McIlroy (T-3) notches another Abu Dhabi close call

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:08 pm

Rory McIlroy's trend of doing everything but hoist the trophy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship is alive and well.

Making his first start since early October, McIlroy showed few signs of rust en route to a tie for third. Amid gusty winds, he closed with a 2-under 70 to finish the week at 18 under, four shots behind Tommy Fleetwood who rallied to win this event for the second consecutive year.

The result continues a remarkable trend for the Ulsterman, who has now finished third or better seven of the last eight years in Abu Dhabi - all while never winning the tournament. That stretch includes four runner-up finishes and now two straight T-3 results.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


McIlroy is entering off a disappointing 2017 in which he was injured in his first start and missed two chunks of time while trying to regain his health. He has laid out an ambitious early-season schedule, one that will include a trip to Dubai next week and eight worldwide tournament starts before he heads to the Masters.

McIlroy started the final round one shot off the lead, and he remained in contention after two birdies over his first four holes. But a bogey on No. 6 slowed his momentum, and McIlroy wasn't able to make a back-nine birdie until the closing hole, at which point the title was out of reach.

Getty Images

Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.