An Adults Take on a 15-Year-Olds World
Im not so sure.
Michelle tees it up with the men this week in the Sony Open. Of course, she played last year when she was just 14 and was on the verge of making the cut, missing by a single shot. But dont try to equate that with anything. She certainly isnt doing this for any reason except its what she wants to do, at this time in her life.
I'm not out here to prove anything, she said this week, negating the opinions of a whole lot of people twice or three times her age who think they have her all figured out.
I'm just having so much fun. I'm not here to say, Oh, we belong here. I'm not here to make a statement. You know, I'm just here to do stuff that no one has tried before, and it's fun.
Incidentally, count me as one of those who considered her turning pro as fore-ordained. But now Im not so sure. Why is Michelle taking all those high school courses if she didnt plan on using them someday? And she is such a brainy kid. The last semester she made all As except for a B in English. Shes taking such toughies as Algebra II, Japanese, conceptual physics, foundation art,
Conceptual physics? Foundation art? Sorry, but I dont even know what those are.
She speaks Korean, the language of her ancestors. Shes already studied the Chinese language for a couple of years and plans to take it again next year, as well as continuing her Japanese. No word yet on whether she can speak pig-Latin, but that is the only other language that most of us speak.
And conceptual physics ' for a kid still a long way from finishing high school! And, she is mesmerized by it. She actually enjoys it.
We had a chapter on power and I thought that was pretty cool, said Michelle, discussing her conceptual physics class. There's always an example of golf - the teacher is always making fun of me, but it's fun, I like it. You know, I like it because you can actually see it happen even in real life and that's really exciting.
And yet, the lure of professional golf is indeed powerful. The money that is out there ' easily a million dollars, maybe two or three in endorsements alone is incredible. Her parents are doing OK in the financial department ' he is a professor at the University of Hawaii ' but how do you turn your back on that kind of money?
Michelle concedes the obvious ' that she is weighing a prodigious amount of money in her future, and she is honest enough to say the world might lose an aspiring young physicist to the cha-ching of professional golf. But the outcome is far from certain at this stage of her young life.
I don't know yet, she says with sincerity. I mean, I don't know. There's a lot of possibilities, but I'm not real really sure yet.
Of course, she may turn pro and go to college at the same time. That has never been done before on the LPGA Tour. But everyone is trying to push her in the direction of a pro career, and Michelle insists that she hasnt yet made up her mind.
I always wanted to be known as someone who did crazy stuff, she said. I always wanted to be known as doing stuff that no one ever thought of.
I just want to push myself to the limit. I want to be known as people that changed the world and people that change how people think.
You think that isnt a different kind of young person? Be it as a scientist, a linguistics expert ' or a professional golfer ' Michelle Wie has unbelievably high aspirations. And yes, one of those aspirations is to play full-time against the men on the PGA Tour. It may be totally unachievable, but Wie can dream it. And whats wrong with having great dreams?
You know, just think (of something that never) has happened before, and maybe I'll try it, she said. I don't know, I like to do exciting things. I never wanted to do ordinary things.
Of course, there are still the totally mundane things about everyday life with which she must cope. Like, for example, learning to drive.
I'm going to learn how to drive in May, I think. Yeah, better stay off the road when I drive!
Its all from the mind of - what? ' a 15-year-old? Something tells me there is greatness lurking. And, believe it or not, it may not be in golf.
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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm
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
Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff
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.
Watching Andrew Landry and Jon Rahm in playoff. Walking off tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me ? Talking at all. ?— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.
0 words— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The issue is I don’t want to make you a bit relaxed or comfortable. High pressure, good.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you watch the end of the NFL games yesterday ? Enough said.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
I didn’t say you couldn’t be friends and competitive. But in a playoff, 1 tiny mistake and you lose, and that devastated me. Friends before and after, competitors during play.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you win ? It’s all about surviving the competition to test yourself.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.
Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over
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.
Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions
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.