She Gives Opinions - Forcefully

By George WhiteJune 7, 2006, 4:00 pm
Morgan Pressel, it seems, has become the go-to girl when you want to get a little dirt on Michelle Wie. And it sure didnt take long for the questions to come bubbling out ' the first five or six queries at the McDonalds LPGA Classic Tuesday were Pressels perceptions of Wie and her exploits.
Pressel, for the record, is only 18, Wie 16. Pressel hasnt yet learned to filter her remarks through the professional athletes do-nothing, say-nothing web. At this tender age, when she is asked for an opinion, she delivers it. And, I might add, she has quite a few opinions, learned opinions, much more than the average teenager who has just graduated from high school in the past month.
She has been asked several times about her opinions of Wie, Wies accomplishments, and Wies penchant for playing events regardless of gender. And each time she is asked, she responds forthrightly ' she feels Wie should not be given an exemption into various womens majors. For all we know, its possible Wie feels the same. However, the various organizations have done so ' each time with a convincing reason why, by the way.
Her remarks have been spindled, folded and mutilated to make it appear as a personal grudge against Wie. A reporter reads where Pressel said so-and-so about Wie and he has to ask Morgan for him/herself. Then another reporter reads the remarks, and at times the writers negative opinions, and he asks the same question. Before long, it becomes a self-fulfilling exercise.
I have only sat in on two or three of Morgans press conference, but in each one, the questions were almost always first and foremost about Wie. And the answer is nearly always the same ' Pressel is awed, as is everyone, by Wies ability. She personally thinks Wie is nice, sweet ' whatever the word of the day is. But no, she isnt overwhelmed by Wies ability, nor is she cowed by the fact that she ' Pressel - will be going into competition with her.
I didnt attend Tuesdays media session with Pressel, but the transcript shows that the questions were along the same lines as the few I have personally attended. And undoubtedly, today you will see several stories written about Pressels dislike of Wie. I will let you decide.
Pressel, it develops, was quite impressed with Wies play in the mens U.S. Open qualifier Monday. She played great! said Pressel. You cant take anything away from the way that she played. Her putting cost her a little bit down the stretch probably all day, but I think that obviously when she plays on the LPGA Tour in events like this (the McDonalds), it helps these events.
But she also said that Wies appearance in the Open qualifier negatively affects the LPGA events that Wie doesnt play.
People say, Oh, well, if Michelle's not playing, it's a second class event, said Pressel.
Its just - she can only play seven events or however many she can play, and those events aren't really going to benefit from it.
Pressel understands one reason why Wie plays mens events ' Wie can make much more money just by showing up. And Wies sponsors certainly can benefit greatly from the exposure.
She can go over to Japan and play for a guaranteed, you know - for just as much money as some of our purses, said Pressel. So why would she want to come play in LPGA events when - I mean, she's making lots of money?
Morgan took a little backhand swipe at the media. And rightly or wrongly, the media has helped fuel this tremendous surge in public opinion over whether a female should compete alongside males in traditionally male events.
The media, Pressel says, has created this huge persona that the public is absolutely fascinated with, with this idea of a woman competing in a men's event. And she's a great player; you can't take that away from her. And I'm sure when she comes on the LPGA Tour, you know, she brings all that hype with her.
I wish that she would play more obviously on the LPGA Tour, but she's got it made.
The public fascination of Wie, Pressel says, is derived totally because she wants to play against men. Obviously, I'm sure she wants to win on the (PGA) Tour and on the LPGA Tour, but she wants to compete with the men, and that's her main focus, said Morgan.

Pressel readily agrees that Wie has not taken the easy way out. Her path will be extremely difficult, considering that she is breaking all sorts of ground in approaching her golf career in a totally different way.
She has a lot of pressure on her, Pressel says. And for Paula (Creamer) and myself, the other young players, there's always pressure, but it's not the tremendous media circus. That doesn't follow us around every day. And that does allow us to really concentrate on our game more and focus.
It's really made her this huge icon, really, but it's not always the best to come out center stage, I guess. I remember when I was 12 and when I was playing in the U.S. Open and for awhile thereafter I wasn't really focused on my game because there was so much going on around me. And it took awhile for me to really settle down and once the media hype settled down, then I was able to focus.
Sounds to me like a young woman forcefully stating her opinions. Some people have decided its personal, that one girl is jumping on another girls dreams of playing against the men. I dont think so. But, you be the judge.
Email your thoughts to George White
Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.