Woods Wie Beat of Two Drums


This week the sagas continue. Two players detailed, discussed and debated more than any other trying to win a golf tournament. But my how different their worlds have become.
Lets start with Tiger Woods, who this week set sail overseas with sights set on a sixth win in six starts. His previous five included two major championships, a WGC event, his Deutche Bank stop in Beantown, and yet another title that included keys to a new Buick. Five wins in completely different fashion ' proving that Woods can do -- and does -- whatever it takes to hold the trophy when its finished.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods has won seven times on the PGA TOUR this season.
If youve been one to find fault with Woods over the last five years or so.. then stop. Forget about the reasons you challenged his thought process. Dismiss the criticism of his swing changes. Laugh at the preposterous belief that hed fallen prey to a slump. Quit thinking that Hank Haney isnt a good match.
Nobodys perfect, including Tiger. But when it comes to winning, to use his lingo: hes close.
In order of wins, this streak of five provides a clinic in the art of How To. Irons off the tee to win the British at Royal Liverpool. More birdies at the Buick than migrate south each year before winter. A Sunday throttling of Luke Donald and everyone else who believed they could put more red on the board, or in their wardrobe, than Woods himself at the PGA Championship. A back-nine blip at Firestone, as if on purpose to light a fire necessary to remind Stewart Cink and us that he can come from behind and outlast any challenger in a playoff. And then a Monday charge in Boston to make Paul Revere proud and Vijay Singh forget all about his awesome display on Sunday.
Whatever it takes, Woods does it. And just when we find reason to believe that Phil Mickelson or someone else might be fit for a challenge, Woods proves hes really no match.
Take it from Lee Trevino. A major champion, Lee watched Jack Nicklaus dominate the game in an era that included Palmer and Watson, Trevino and Floyd, Player and Casper, and made the assessment recently that if Woods were in the mix, only Jack would be able to give him a run with some dose of regularity, and he might not have gotten him very often.
If that isnt saying something, then what is?
This week provided a chance at the six-pack, if you will - Woods joining 15 others (including six other Ryder Cup members) in a tune-up for the Ryder Cup at the World Match Play outside London.
And, though he lost to Shaun Micheel in the first round, five straight is still not too bad.
By the way, 53 victories on the PGA TOUR for Tiger is exactly fifty-three more than Michelle Wie has earned on any professional tour of duty.
And so where is Michelle this week in hopes of getting her first? Shes rubbing shoulders again with the big boys at the 84 Lumber Classic in Pennsylvania. And after her appearance overseas on the European Tour last week, ruffling feathers might be a more proper way to describe the state of her very presence on any tour right now.
Ive said it before. And Ill say it again. I like Michelle Wie a lot. Shes a charming teenager with a phenomenal amount of ability and the potential to be a dominant force for years to come.
But its very good for her that charming comes before ability, because right now the million-dollar smile and the classy way she carries herself isnt outweighing friction from comments last week on the mens European Tour about hopes to give the -- gulp -- Ryder Cup a try someday.
Teenagers are allowed to dream big. We encourage it in our children. We admire it in those who achieve greatness. But the time and the place for a speech like that is in the bedroom mirror during some quiet time after a few victories. Not in front of the media with a Ryder Cup just a few weeks away.
I give Michelle all the credit in the world for her finishes in LPGA majors over the past few years. Her consistency in the big ones rivals so few.
But imagine the conversation in the Ryder Cup team room next week. What might rookies Brett Wetterich and J.J. Henry be thinking? And what would Woods and Mickelson be uttering? And one could only wonder what Annika was saying to herself.
Someday soon, 16 year-old Michelle becomes 17-year-old Michelle and suddenly the age becomes much the same as Paula Creamers was when she jumped aboard the LPGA train. Cristie Kerr was young, too. Look at their resumes.
Talent is one thing. Shes got that and then some. But if things dont calm down a bit, the million-dollar smile and the millions in the bank arent going to keep the millions who love to watch her play from calling her into further question. Twelve with superstar talent hasnt equated to 16 with a stack full of victories.
Tiger did it one way. Michelle is doing it another way. For Wie, the jury is still out. But juries can be awfully tough.
Just ask Tiger.
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann