Wie's faith in Leadbetter rewarded

By Randall MellNovember 21, 2014, 11:34 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Michelle Wie’s long, hard climb to the mountaintop this year wasn’t a solitary journey.

She scaled doubt, criticism and even ridicule to rebuild her game with the help of her long-time swing coach. David Leadbetter has been the strongest influence in her life outside her parents.

Wie’s unfailing trust in Leadbetter is a big part of the story of how she rebuilt her broken game. They’ve hung in there together even with so many folks blaming Leadbetter for her failure and urging her to find a new coach.

From Wie’s spectacular surge to celebrity as a teen phenom, to her dismal plummet through injury and slumps, Leadbetter has been a constant companion. Wie says Leadbetter is a large reason she never quit believing in herself. They’ve been to hell and back since she was 13.

“David is kind of like a second father to me,” Wie said. “He is definitely one person that has always believed in me, no matter what.”


CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, videos and photos


With a 5-under-par 67 Friday, Wie is near the top of a leaderboard in yet another big event this year. She moved into a tie for fourth at the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship, just two shots off the lead. She is giving herself a chance to walk away with $1.5 million on Sunday, the biggest payday in the history of women’s golf. She’s in position to win the $1 million Race to the CME Globe jackpot and the $500,000 Tour Championship winner’s check.

After a frustrating start Thursday, Wie headed straight to the range with Leadbetter.

“We kind of figured out a little something,” Wie said.

For Leadbetter, there’s pride seeing what Wie has overcome winning the Lotte Championship and the U.S. Women’s Open. There’s satisfaction, too.

“She’s proven a lot of people wrong,” Leadbetter said.

Wrong about Leadbetter, too.

“People can be nasty,” Leadbetter said. “I always believed there was so much talent there in Michelle, and at some stage it was all going to come out right.”

Leadbetter doesn’t believe Wie has reached her mountaintop yet. With confidence regained, with newfound physical strength, Wie is poised to fuel her resurgence with runs to even greater heights, Leadbetter says.

“Confidence isn’t something you can buy in a bottle,” Leadbetter said. “You have to feel it, and she’s feeling it.

“Michelle’s heading up the ladder, and there’s no reason she can’t climb all the way to No. 1, if she can stay injury free. Nobody out here has the shot making ability she does. Nobody out here can hit the shots she can hit, and her short game is underrated. She can hit these little flops and spinners and has a variety of shots nobody else has.

“And her putting is steady now. I won’t say it’s brilliant, but she’s much more comfortable with her putting now. I really believe if she stays injury free, her best is still to come.”

Leadbetter says there’s a difference in Wie’s team now. She’s leading the way. He says she may still rely on him, and still very much lean on her parents, but it’s different now. She’s in charge.

“I don’t overcoach her,” Leadbetter said. “There are just a few things we work on, and there is always a lot of give and take. She trusts me, but I may suggest some technical thing, and she may say, `Nah, I don’t think so.’ Or she’ll take something and run with it on her own.”

Leadbetter says it’s the same with B.J. and Bo, Wie’s parents. She loves them and still very much values their guidance and the belief they have in her, but she’s ultimately in charge now.

“It’s been a learning experience for everybody,” Leadbetter said. “Her parents have learned. I’m not saying they’ve taken a back seat, but they let her do things her own way. She is very much a free spirit, like a wild horse sometimes. They may say something, where in the past she would acquiesce, and now she may say, `Forget it.’”

Leadbetter says there are a lot of factors in Wie’s emergence this year. She’s better as a player for reasons stemming from something as simple as stronger legs, which make her feet less active and provide a better foundation for her swing, to all the various interests she has developed, from her art to her friendships. He says learning to practice less and more efficiently, to manage injuries and energy, have helped, too.

At the end of last year, Leadbetter urged Wie to put her clubs away for five weeks. Wie did just that. The fact that she is having her best year ever reinforced the importance of time away from golf.

“Michelle is enjoying her life,” Leadbetter said. “She has a really nice balance in her life. In the final analysis, her passion for golf is back.”

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Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...


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And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

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Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59


Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63


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Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut


Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

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Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

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Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.