Hot Seat: Wie feeling the heat in Hawaii

By Randall MellApril 17, 2012, 2:53 pm

Welcome back to the Hot Seat, where the aim is to gauge who is facing the most heat to perform in professional golf.

With the PGA Tour turning this week to the Valero Texas Open and the LPGA to the Lotte Championship in Hawaii, here is our special heat index:

Hawaiian Wasabi – Michelle Wie

The Big Wiesy’s game has gone cold so far this season. She could use a spark to ignite the old fire. A trip home and a spot on the Hot Seat might be just what are required to rev her up for a summer run.

With the LPGA returning to Hawaii for the first time in three years, Wie will be back among friends this week, back near the Honolulu home where she grew up. Ko Olina Golf Club is located just outside Honolulu. Oahu is where Wie built her game, where she built the confidence that made her a teen phenom.

Wie needs her confidence back. She’s coming off back-to-back missed cuts at the Kia Classic and Kraft Nabisco Championship. In 12 rounds this season, she has broken par just once. Her scoring average is 75.41. Yes, her life was a whirlwind with her graduation from Stanford a few weeks ago, but life should be slowing down again now.

“I just think I over-think things,” Wie said as she missed the cut at Kraft Nabisco. “It takes me to places where I try too hard.”

If there’s one element of the game where that is most evident, it’s when Wie is putting. Despite long sessions on practice putting greens, Wie is struggling mightily with the flat stick. She ranks 128th on tour in putting per greens in regulation. After going to the belly putter in the middle of last summer, she returned to a standard putter at the Kraft, but the problem doesn’t seem to be in the chosen tools.

“It’s hard to watch,” said Stacy Lewis, who played behind Wie in the first two rounds of the Kraft and played with her at the Kia Classic. “You can tell she just doesn’t have confidence with it. She takes a lot of time. You almost just want her to just tap it in, just tap it in, and go with it. I know she is frustrated by it. She just needs to putt like a kid and get up there and hit it and if it goes in, it goes in.”

Putt like a kid again? Hawaii’s the place for that with Wie returning to her childhood “playground.”


Hawaiian Heat – I.K. Kim

There’s no hiding from it, no escaping it, no hoping everyone will just forget.

I.K. Kim will be making her first LPGA start this week since she missed the 12-inch putt that cost her the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

So many folks felt for her, so many will be rooting for her to rebound, but you don’t miss a chance like that without getting wounded in some way. We’ll see how the healing is progressing at the Lotte Championship.


Texan Habanero Heath Slocum

It’s a big month for the Blackwater River region in the Florida Panhandle.

A week after Bubba Watson won the Masters, Boo Weekley made a run at winning his third RBC Heritage, ultimately tying for sixth.

Watson, Weekley and Slocum all hail from the same area. All three played golf at Tanglewood Country Club and all three graduated from Milton (Fla.) High School.

When Watson won the Masters, it gave him four PGA Tour titles, equaling Slocum’s total. Weekley has won two PGA Tour titles. Both Slocum and Weekley are in the field at the Valero Texas Open this week. Slocum is coming back from an off year, the first year in his 10 full seasons on the Tour that he didn’t record a top-10 finish. His last victory came at the McGladrey Classic at the end of 2010.

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PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

PGA Tour:

The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.

LPGA:

We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

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Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm

Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:16 pm

Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.

Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.

Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.

The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.