Wie at Stanford Not a Celebrity

By Brian HewittOctober 3, 2007, 4:00 pm
Things might - emphasis on the word might - be starting to turn around in the cautionary tale that has become Michelle Wies life. The early reports from Stanford, where Wie has just begun her first year, paint a picture of Wie as a normal freshman leading a normal life.
 
Asked if any feature stories were planned on Wie, Jack Salisbury, the sports editor of the Stanford Daily, said, Maybe. And maybe not.
 
Asked if Wie was viewed as a celebrity on Stanfords campus, Salisbury said matter-of-factly, Not really. Were all pretty busy here.
 
This anonymity, if you will, could be one of the best things to happen to the beleaguered Wie since her golf game began deteriorating earlier this year. But there are still questions.
 
More than one observer close to the situation has insisted Wie needs to be away from the protective shield of her parents. But, at least for now, thats not happening. Sources say B.J. and BO Wie have obtained a house Menlo Park, Ca., which is adjacent to the Stanford campus. They have been spotted regularly accompanying their daughter to daily two-hour practice sessions at the Stanford driving range.
 
The Stanford Golf Course, apart from the schools intercollegiate golf programs, allows Wie to practice in the varsity area of the range but only when team members are not present. If Wie wants to play the golf course, she must pay $25, same as any other undergraduate.
 
NCAA rules are strict when it comes to Wie mixing with members of the mens or womens teams. Womens coach Caroline OConnor said Wie, neither an amateur nor a team member, is not allowed to have any contact with Stanford players during formal practice sessions on the range or on the golf course.
 
Perhaps the best news for Wie is that, for now, she is living in a dormitory and mixing with the general student population. We are all happy to have her on campus, OConnor said. And I hope she is able to grow here as a student.
 
Next up on Wies golf schedule is the Samsung World Championship in Palm Desert, Calif., Oct. 11-14.
 

AUSTINS POWERS
The people paid to manage Woody Austins career are becoming increasingly swamped. Pun intended.
 
When last seen at the Presidents Cup the colorful Austin was rattling off three straight birdies Friday at Royal Montreal after tumbling face first into a water hazard on the 14th hole. Phil Mickelson, Austins playing partner, quickly dubbed Austin Aquaman. Austin responded by donning a pair of scuba goggles, at the suggestion of Barbara Nicklaus, when he arrived at the 15th holes the next day.
 
Hes hot right now, said Kevin Canning, who handles of Goal Marketing, the New York-based that handles requests for Austins time.
 
And the phone is starting to ring. Canning said the Presidents Cup aqua hijinks could lead to more than one endorsement deal with water-related companies.
 
One thing Austin wont do, Canning said, is take the money and run to every corporate outing willing to write him a fat check for a one-day hit-and-giggle. He enjoys being with his family too much, Canning said.
 
But Austin will be in the field for the Merrill Lynch Shootout in early December near Naples, Fl., not far from where he grew up in Tampa. Austin also asked Canning to find out if there was any room left in the field the following week for Tiger Woods Target World Challenge presented by Countrywide.
 
Turns out the 16-man field for Target is already set. But a discreet inquiry from Canning to Target officials revealed that Austin is on a short list of alternates.
 
How short?
 
Yes, his name is on the list, Canning was told. And, no, we are not saying exactly where on that list he is.
 
Austins powers, after all, arent as great as Tigers
 
Actually Austins rapid rise to prominence this season began in early June when he fashioned a final round 62 that was good enough to win the Stanford St. Jude Championship in Memphis.
 
Austin then forced the hand of eventual winner Woods at the PGA Championship in August. Woods responded by pulling away but Austin picked up a solo second place check worth $756,000.
 

ASPIRING MINDS
Tim Moraghan, who left his post as the USGAs director of championships agronomy earlier this year, has announced the formation of Aspire Golf Consulting.
 
Moraghans experience includes 30 years in the golf business as, among other things, a course superintendent. He is highly-regarded inside the industry and is, in his rare spare time, a diehard NHL fan.
 
Aspire will aspire to provide its services to public, private and resort courses in the areas of tournament preparation, golf course master planning, staff evaluation and conditioning and turf grass management.

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.