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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.