Hot Seat: Wie bit spicy

By Randall MellFebruary 14, 2012, 3:14 pm

You might want to loosen your collars, folks, it gets steamy in this space.

It’s time again to see who is taking their places on golf’s Hot Seat.

Here’s our special heat index with the PGA Tour moving to the Northern Trust Open at Riviera and the LPGA heading to the Honda LPGA Thailand at Siam Country Club:

Spicy Thai curry delight – Michelle Wie

Wie makes her 2012 debut this week at the Honda LPGA Thailand in Chonburri.

A year ago, Wie finished second in this event to Yani Tseng, equaling her best finish of the year in her first winless LPGA season since her rookie campaign.

No matter what happens on the golf course, this is a big year for Wie. She will get her degree with a major in communications, graduating from Stanford this spring. Getting the college education was an important goal for the 22-year-old star.

Wie fans are hoping the freedom to focus solely on golf later this season will inspire a big year on the course.

A two-time LPGA winner, Wie has slipped to No. 17 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings, making her the sixth highest-ranked American behind Cristie Kerr (No. 4), Paula Creamer (No. 5), Brittany Lincicome (No. 8), Stacy Lewis (No. 9) and Morgan Pressel (No. 16). Wie will be looking to become a factor in the majors again this year. She recorded seven top-10 finishes in her first 11 major championship appearances. She has logged just one in her last 16. A key factor in that is how she’s getting along with her putter. Wie went to a belly putter last summer, experimenting with a variety of grips.


Spencer Levin

China Syndrome – Whoever holds the 54-hole lead for the Northern Trust Open’s final round.

So whose turn is it to melt down next?

Who will be sentenced to sleeping on the third-round lead come Saturday night at Riviera?

If a recent trend of collapses continues, the PGA Tour might want to consider assigning a priest or rabbi to the locker room to meet with the condemned . . . ah, sorry, the 54-hole leader. The Tour also might want to consider showing some mercy on the poor fellow and drape a hood over his head when he steps to the first tee.

The leaders going off last on Sundays at PGA Tour events have the look of the doomed lately.

Brandt Snedeker came from seven shots back to beat Kyle Stanley in the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open three weeks ago.

Stanley came from eight shots back to win two weekends ago at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Phil Mickelson came from six back to win the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am this past weekend.


Luke Donald

Baja fever – Luke Donald

The world No. 1 makes his 2012 PGA Tour debut at the Northern Trust Open looking to get off to a better start than he did in Europe.

Donald, who last year became the first player to win the money titles in the same season as a member of both the PGA Tour and European Tour, made a lackluster start on the European Tour two weeks ago. He tied for 48th at Abu Dhabi, finishing 12 shots behind the winner, Robert Rock.

While Donald has some good showings at Riviera, he missed the cut there last year. Before that, though, he finished second, T-6 and T-3.


Aaron Baddeley

Santa Ana wind – Aaron Baddeley

The defending champ always faces some pressure trying to make sure he shakes all the right hands and appears in all the right places in his return.

Baddeley will be looking to become the eighth back-to-back winner in Northern Trust Open history. The others? Phil Mickelson (2008-09), Mike Weir (2003-04), Corey Pavin (1994-95), Arnold Palmer (1966-67), Paul Harney (1964-65), Ben Hogan (1947-48) and MacDonald Smith (1928-29).

Baddeley arrives in good form this week. He was solo fourth last week at Pebble Beach.


Jason Gore

Twitter fever – Jason Gore

With so many folks rooting on the big guy, there’s likely some pressure on Gore in wanting to perform well for all the fans who got him into the Northern Trust Open.

Gore is playing on a sponsor’s exemption, an honor he won with the help of Twitter followers, who mounted a Tweet campaign to get him to Riviera this week.

Back on Jan. 8, Gore tweeted this: “Just signed up for the @ntrustopen qualifier, but you have NO IDEA how stoked I'd be to get a sponsors invitation! #myhometown #mymajor.”

Four days later, the Northern Trust Open offered Gore a spot in the field. Tournament officials then tweeted that news.

Getty Images

Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Getty Images

Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

Getty Images

Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.