Michelle Wie makes move with new short-game coach

By Randall MellAugust 20, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 Solheim CupSUGAR GROVE, Ill. ' Michelle Wies newest move reveals how serious she is about breaking through and winning as an LPGA rookie.
GolfChannel.com has learned that Wie has added two-time major championship winner Dave Stockton and his son, Ronnie, as her short-game coaches. Wies full swing remains under the guidance of her long-time coach, David Leadbetter.
As a 10-time PGA Tour winner, Dave Stockton made a name for himself as one of the games best putters. He has become something of a putting guru as his Champions Tour career has wound down.
Wie met with the Stocktons for two days last week at Oak Valley Golf Club, Stocktons home course in Beaumont, Calif.
It was no small fix as they prepared Wie for this weeks Solheim Cup matches.
Its a complete makeover of her short game, Stockton said.
The Stocktons have been working with Morgan Pressel for the last year. Wie and Pressel, rivals as teen phenoms, have forged a friendship since Wie joined the tour as a rookie this season. They were assigned to the same Rich Harvest Farms lodge this week at the Solheim Cup and were paired together in the morning fourballs for the start of the event.
I think Morgan may have had something to do with Michelle reaching out to us, Stockton said.
So did Patrick Tarrant, Wies caddie, who is on loan from PGA Tour pro Brett Wetterich and recommended the Stocktons.
Wie has come close to winning this year, finishing second at the SBS Open at Turtle Bay in February in the years first LPGA event and twice tying for third, at the Sybase Classic in May and the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic in July. Erratic putting has plagued her since her junior days. Short-range misses have especially cost her.
Dave Stockton said his work has focused on transforming Wie from a mechanical putter to a putter with more feel. He said a slightly open stance should help her feel a more free and easy putting stroke.
Putting is not mechanical, its a state of mind, Stockton said. Michelles putting has been mechanical, yes.
Stockton said he opened Wies stance slightly and moved her ball position back. He said they also worked extensively on visualizing putts, reading greens and on changing her putting routine. Mostly, he tried to get her to think differently about putting.
The key thing for someone who doesnt putt well is get them to see the ball going into the hole, Stockton said. The mental side is 80 or 90 percent of putting. We are trying to get her to think about seeing the putt, feeling it and letting it go.
Stockton and Wie formulated a new putting routine.
Shes going to be working on seeing the line more with less circling [around her putts], a quicker routine, Stockton said.
Stockton said theres no substitute for putting under pressure, and part of his work with Wie will include reassessing how her stroke and routine held up this week.
There will be adjustments, he said.
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