Wie drops belly putter, dusts off an oldie


RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. ' Michelle Wie is looking to find the putting touch of her youth in a bid to kick start the next chapter in her career at this week’s Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Yeah, she’s only 22, but when she was 15, she rolled in a lot of birdies in big events. So, this week she is ditching the belly putter she has been using since the middle of last summer and is going back to the putter she used when she was 15, a standard Nike prototype blade putter.

Wie didn’t have any trouble finding the putter.

“I always keep that one around,” Wie said. “It’s my baby.”

Wie’s move to the old putter is as much symbolic as sentimental or physical. Coach David Leadbetter said she putted with more feel back at that age. She also poured in a lot of birdie chances. She had three second-place finishes in LPGA events as a 15-year-old. She was runner-up at the LPGA Championship that year and tied for third at the Women’s British Open.

“It will help her get more natural again with her putting,” Leadbetter said. “She was a very good putter when she was young, but she became more mechanical.'

Leadbetter believes the belly putter leans to even more mechanical putting.

“I think she’s had enough of that beast,” Leadbetter said.

Wie officially completed her senior year at Stanford last week, earning a degree in communications. She says it heightens her desire to see what she can do now focusing fully on golf.

She’s looking to turn around her sluggish start with a lot of distractions to 2012 while getting ready to graduate. She tied for 38th at the LPGA Honda, tied for 59th among 60 players at the HSBC Women’s and missed the cut at the Kia Classic.

“I want to win more,” said Wie, a two-time LPGA winner. “That’s a big thing. I feel like it’s been pretty mediocre so far. I want to be the best player I can be. It’s going to be a fun ride from here on out, entering the real world. I’m really excited.”