Wie Chooses Teacher and Driver


Michelle Wies Excellent Adventure is over for now and its time to get back to the business of amateur golf. Monday ushers in qualifying for the U.S. Womens Amateur at the Kahkwa Club in Erie, Pa.
Wie will be favored to win this championship. And to that end David Leadbetter will spend time with Wie at Kahkwa this weekend to make sure shes comfortable with the kinds of shots she will need to play the course.
The news here is that Wie will no longer be working with Gary Gilchrist. B.J. Wie, Michelles father, confirmed this switch to The Golf Channel on Tuesday.
Actually it wasnt a switch so much as it was an adjustment. Gilchrist and Leadbetter both have been working with Michelle Wie for some time now in what B.J. Wie called a two-tiered system.
But when Gilchrist recently left Leadbetters Academy in Orlando to work for the International Junior Golf Academy in Hilton Head, S.C., B.J. Wie realized the current system would no longer work.
David, B.J. Wie said, is now one hundred percent in charge.
Gary Gilchrist, he added, remains a friend of the family.
There had been public speculation that Gilchrists defection was going to spark a bidding war for Wies attention between Nike, which has strong ties to the IJGA, and Titleist, which is more closely affiliated with Leadbetters Academy.
B.J. Wie dismissed this speculation as grist for a tabloid story mill. But, he added, Nike has assigned Greg Nared to spend time with the Wie family and develop a relationship.
We get along very well, B.J. Wie said. But we dont talk about business. If Michelle needs a club, Greg can provide the product.
Late last month in France, Wie used a Nike Ignite driver with a 7.5 degree loft. She still uses Titleist irons and wedges.
Nike, it appears, is simply trying to position itself for that moment in the future when Michelle Wie turns professional. This sort of thing happens all the time. Its interesting to note that Nike assigned Nared to accompany Tiger Woods in Woods early days with Nike.
Meanwhile back to Michelles Excellent Adventure. The Wie Family just returned from having spent a week in Paris away from golf. Michelle and her parents shopped. They sampled the French food (escargot, fresh oysters and goose liver) and they toured the museums.
When they got to the Louvre, they paid requisite homage to the Mona Lisa. Michelle, B.J. Wie said, couldnt figure out why that painting is so famous.
Somewhere, Leonardo Da Vinci is spinning wildly in his grave.
But its nice to see Michelle Wie having fun with something other than golf. And its nice to see her parents understand that. She is still, after all, only 14 years old.
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