Wie determined to regain confidence after 80

By Randall MellJune 11, 2016, 1:35 am

SAMMAMISH, Wash. – Michelle Wie’s troubling slump continued Friday at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

With a 9-over-par 80 in Round 2, Wie has missed the cut or withdrawn in six of her last seven starts.

At 16 over par, she was tied for 140th in a field of 156 players when she left scoring.

“I just didn’t play very well,” Wie said. “I just didn’t have my best ball striking out there. On this type of golf course, you have to hit it good. I just didn’t have it, unfortunately.”

Wie hit just six of 14 fairways in the second round and just four greens in regulation.

“My ball striking just isn’t where I want it to be,” Wie said. “My putting actually feels good. I’m just giving myself too many par putts and not enough birdie putts, and it puts too much pressure on my putting.”

Wie, 26, is coming up on two years since she broke through to win the U.S. Women’s Open. She tied for eighth in her next start after that victory, but she hasn’t recorded a top-10 finish since.

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Wie has plummeted to No. 89 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings after climbing to No. 6 following her first major win.

Wie struggled through a stress fracture in her index finger shortly after winning the U.S. Women’s Open, then battled hip, knee and ankle injuries most of last year, then neck spasms this spring. But Wie says she’s healthy now.

Earlier this year, her long-time swing coach, David Leadbetter, said Wie’s challenges have become more mental than physical.

“She is going through a very tough period of low confidence and belief that we’ve seen other players go through,” Leadbetter told GolfChannel.com on Friday. “It certainly is not as a result of a lack of trying or effort on her part. It is one of those periods where Monday and Tuesday she feels good, is hitting it well and then come Thursday she senses a lot of tension, which is affecting her whole game. It’s tough to watch, and hopefully she can work her way through this.”

At year’s start, Leadbetter had a heart-to-heart conversation with Wie. He encouraged her to quit constantly tinkering with her swing and go back to the more natural, full swing of her youth, with more hip turn to ease pressure on her lower body. While she seems to still be coiling hard with less hip turn than most players, Wie said she’s trying to stick to what she was working on at the beginning of the year.

Leadbetter’s role with Wie is sometimes more advisor and helpful eye than swing coach with Wie making so many of her own changes.

“The mind is a strange thing,” Leadbetter said. “What can be so easy at times is impossible at others. This is something that Michelle has to figure out for herself. She is a smart girl, with an abundance of natural talent and I feel certain she will come through it.”

Wie ranks 132nd in scoring this season (73.54), 131st in hitting greens in regulation, 121st in putts per greens in regulation.

“There are a lot of ups and downs,” Wie said. “I’m determined to get myself out of it and get confident again. It’s definitely a work in progress, but I’m going to get there.”

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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry