Wies Quest Sparks Reaction

By Brian HewittDecember 11, 2008, 5:00 pm
The Comebacker is taking heat this week for Golf Channels wall-to-wall coverage of Michelle Wies procurement of her LPGA playing privileges last week.
Memo to critics: We can take the heat and were not planning to leave the kitchen any time soon.
Like it or not, Wies quest was news. So, too, will be her efforts in womens golf in 2009. Annika Sorenstam is gone from the competitive scene for now. Wie is the next big thing. Although in fairness to Stacy Lewis, who beat Wie at Q-School, its not hard to imagine her carving out a Hall of Fame career.
Without further ado:

Paul writes:: Never could stand it when the media types tried to tell me what the latest greatest in any sport is supposed to be. This is true of Michelle Wie and Anthony Kim. WIN. CONSISTENTLY, then I will be impressed. Sure you guys are the brains, but I know a snow job and media hype when I see it. Sorry, neither Wie nor Kim is worth a flip other than PROMISING at this point. Would you like to share the list of all those whom over the years you media guys have tried to tell us lowly fans who the NEXT GREATEST is supposed to be?
The Comebacker
Would like to have been a fly on the wall if Paul had ever gotten the chance to tell Sergio Garcia that Anthony Kim wasnt worth a flip in the moments after Kim roasted Garcia in the Ryder Cup singles.

Bob writes: Im a 60-plus white male who loves the LPGA. I like many of the Asian players. Seon Hwa Lee, Ai Miyazato and Angela Park -- these are the girls of my swing thoughts. The more I swing like them, slowly, with a smooth tempo, the farther I hit it. (Why don't they do a Playing Lessons from the Pros?) My respect for Michelle Wie returned watching her at Q-School. Next year we'll have more than just Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel as photogenic Americans: Wie, Lewis and Hurst are lovely as well as talented. There are a handful of men that make the PGA tour a viable television concern. Ditto the ladies.
The Comebacker
Just a handful? Angela Park, by the way, has a swing that Johnny Miller has called the best in womens golf. Anyway, nice to hear somebody from another demographic and generation is attracted to the LPGA.

Gerry writes: I have followed the Michelle Wie situation and find it rather offensive that everyone has their own opinion rather than looking at things from her perspective. If I was her, would I have done things differently? Maybe. I thought at least having her enter some PGA events made it more interesting. She is and continues to be an inspiration for me and others who have been recovering from tendon injuries -- makes me wish I was 20 years younger so I could get over those injuries more quickly like she did. I will continue to cheer for Michelle, in spite of what others say...and unless you've been in our shoes, it is always a case of ease up or you risk re-injury. Likely she tried to come back too soon...but I can honestly say that I've done the same thing in other ways, too...something we all have done at one time or another.
The Comebacker
Interesting that more support is rolling in for Wie now that she has secured her card for 2009.

Dan writes: At age 19, playing her first full year on tour, Wie may struggle. Who knows how her body, mind, or swing will hold up over the course of what will be her first full season. If she does struggle, I am sure there will be plenty of people very happy to pounce and run her down. But, hey, thats fair. Whether it is an opinion, an ax to grind, or even a hint of sexism (I think a few in the golf world simply wish the LPGA would go away), people have the right to say or print whatever. But what has to be clear to anyone who has watched even a bit of womens golf is that Michelle Wie has major game and will be a factor, at least at times, this season.
The Comebacker
Sez here Wie will win at least twice in 09. Meanwhile, Comebacker hasnt met anybody who wishes the LPGA would go away.

Dennis writes:Kudos to her (Wie), and the great way she recovered from a three-bogey start on Sunday, and just the way she handled herself throughout. Michelle has overcome a lot, and proved she can take undesirable blows, never envisioned. She can now silence her critics by continuing to play good golf, and maturing naturally. I am rooting for her, and see Michelle as able to do a lot for golf, American female golf, and the LPGA. Hope it all comes through.
The Comebacker
For some strange reason, it seems the less Michelle Wie talked last week, the more popular she became.

Jim writes:It's been a while since I last wrote but I'd like to chime in on the Wie qualifying story. For sometime I was agitated by the fact that she was given everything, really earned nothing and was placed on a pedestal she didn't deserve. I got over it. Her celebrity is the result of an American sports public always looking for the athlete to love or hate. They have that in Michelle Wie. It doesn't help that situation when sports reporting entities, such as Golf Channel and ESPN, hype Ms. Wie, as long as they think her story will sell newspapers, TV advertising and increase viewer ratings. A case in point is the LPGA qualifying school results. In case you didn't hear Stacy Lewis not only beat Ms. Wie, she won the damn tournament. Yet, Golf Channel coverage of the results primarily focused on Ms. Wie. In reporting the results of the tournament, ESPN showcased Wie, segmented an interview with Wie and then presented a recap of the important? Milestones in the golf life of Ms. Wie. Folks, she finished 7th! Duh!!!!! And, ESPN had not one word about the winner. Ms. Lewis has a few note worthy milestones also; Collegiate All American, great Curtis Cup performance and finished third in the Womens Open. Deserved or not, that is one of the things that creates the negative attitude toward Ms. Wie. Then to show her immaturity and unprofessional (remember she is a pro) conduct, she did not have the courtesy to compliment or congratulate Ms. Lewis in her interview. Her personality and her youth make it appear that she has empowered herself, been selected by her father and/or anointed by the press as the next Queen of Golf. In my opinion, most golf fans and sports fans in general, do not appreciate such an image of superiority. As far as being the next Queen of Golf, I personally believe Ms. Lewis and others will prove that not to be the case.I wish her well but it may not be as smooth a ride as many people think. Time will tell.
The Comebacker
Jim, you said a mouthful there. Couple of things in response: Tiger Woods is a terrific sportsman but you dont normally hear him going too far out of his way to praise the winner on the rare occasions when that winner isnt Tiger. By the way, Stacy Lewis didnt exactly fawn all over Wie when it was over either. Last point: Michelle Wie still hasnt won anything since she was 13 years old. Stacy Lewis was still adjusting to life with scoliosis when she was 13. And finally a note to all The Comebackers readers: Unless you have just composed the second coming of Lincolns Gettysburg Address, you would do well to keep your E-mails to 200 words or less. Brevity is, after all, the soul of wit and shorter e-mails give more readers a shot at making it into this space.

Jon writes:
I have no idea why you even care about Michelle Wie. What a waste of time and energy. There are dozens of superior players on the LPGA tour.
The ComebackerSee. Short and bittersweet. Comebacker doesnt agree with Jon but lauds his concision.

Hugh writes:Do you even have the courage to report that she (Wie) played rather poorly on Sunday, on the course that Golf Channel had stated the evening before was the easier of the two, and with MWs performance during the week on this course (-10 or so) that she should be gunning for the win? .. The only thing that is obvious to golf fans is that Golf Channel appears to need Michelle Wie more than the LPGA. Why dont you tell us why that is? .. Not only has she been mismanaged by her parents, but GC contributes to her notoriety with all of the one-way coverage of somebody who hasnt accomplished much of anything in amateur or professional golf. Wake up and start reporting on golf in the same way that it is played, with honesty and professionalism. Call a reporting 'penalty stroke' on yourself and GC.
The Comebacker
So, Hugh, any truth to the rumor that you work for the Tennis Channel?

Susan writes:Wow, I have never seen so much venom from so many jealous people in my life. I can honestly say I know of no other player currently I would drive to see play other than Michelle Wie or maybe Ji Yai Shin. I hope Miss Wie beats them all this year. They all just seem intimidated by her and cant get by the fact she is very rich and most of them are not. On another point, since when is it a bad thing to get a degree from Stanford prior to playing pro golf. Some people just dont get it, period.
The Comebacker
Venom, indeed. Never thought Id mention Michelle Wie and Howard Cosell in the same sentence. But so many people either loved or hated the late Cosell. And that seems to be the same thing with Wie.

Dave writes: The day will come, barring some freak injury, when Michelles game will shut up the chauvinistic reviewers. If I had a dollar for all the men friends Ive heard complain about Michelle that have never watched her play a single shot I could afford a membership at Oahu Country Club. And frankly the complaining is all about the fact she is a woman playing a man game and nothing else. Most men are just too chicken to admit how intimidated they were that at one point in their life all those 300 yard drives that were closer to 250 they told their friends theyd hit were being topped by a 14-year-old girl from Hawaii who didnt appear to be swinging very hard. Add in the fact the girl is of Asian ancestry and the xenophobes come out to play..But you know what, I remember how difficult it was for people in Tigers early days to deal with a person of Afro-Asian ancestry being so incredibly good. Now it is never discussed nor noticed so much anymore. And this is as it should be. One day she (Wie) will make the cut on a mens tour event, one day she will win an LPGA event, and the noise will stop. Hopefully in 10 years her harshest critics will look back and realize the real Michelle Wie problem they had was a problem of theirs and that Michelle really had nothing to do with it at all. And perhaps the world will be that better place wed all like to live in.
The Comebacker
Take that, guysAnd imagine Michelle Wie making the world a better place wed all like to live in.

Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
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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.