A Night at Home with the Girls


I never thought that I would ever write these words: I spent Saturday night watching LPGA Tour golf.
Not that I had any real plans. But watching golf, at night ' womens or otherwise ' is not at the top of my Oh, Boy! List.
Yet there I was, just as Carolyn Bivens wanted me, sitting in my big chair, watching the ladies play. Actually, it wasnt the ladies I wanted to see play, but a pair of girls.
Morgan Pressel
Morgan Pressel tied for 11th in her second start as an LPGA rookie.
Michelle Wie and Morgan Pressel were paired together in the final round of the Fields Open in Hawaii. It was the first time that I can remember being at home and actually wishing that I was at an LPGA event just to walk around with these two for four hours.
Wie and Pressel arent just the future of womens golf, theyve already established a rivalry, thanks in large part to little Miss Morgans verbal jabs ' the ones that Michelle quietly dodges without offering a counter.
But Morgans mouth is good for the tour. They say that a double eagle is the rarest thing in golf, but its not; its a player who says what he or she really thinks.
Since I wasnt inside the ropes for this one, I had to rely on television and published reports to see how the two would interact. From all accounts the two were quite congenial, shaking hands on the first tee, hugging on the last, and chatting amiably down the fairways.
While competitive rivalries are good for any sport, hopefully this one will be of the friendly variety. Magic Johnson and Larry Bird had a contentious relationship before developing a healthy respect for one another on their way to revitalizing the NBA. It all began with a television commercial in which the two both starred. Perhaps if Nike buys Callaway, as has been rumored, then these two girls can sit on a commercial set and get to know one another better.
Michelle and Morgan are a lot like Magic and Larry. Both are extremely gifted, but in their own dynamically different ways. And while one is more glitz and glamour ' more Hollywood; the other is more grit and guile ' more French Lick, Ind.
Their personalities shine through in their outer-wear.
Saturday, Wie wore a matching pink outfit, with a skirt almost alarmingly short for a 16-year-old. She sported some fancy Nike shades and had earrings dangling down to her jaw line. Had she taken off the hat and switched her spikes for some designer shoes, she would have fit perfect the part of someone sitting outside a caf pretending to be Miss Cool Breeze Coffee Drinker.
If Michelle is modern, then Morgan is traditional.
Pressel also had on a pair of long earrings, but wore no sunglasses. Her clothing consisted of a red-and-white-striped Ralph Lauren Polo shirt and average length navy shorts. Red, white and blue. She was probably eating apple pie and humming the National Anthem, too. She could have been a miniature, female version of Davis Love III.
Then there was the third member of their threesome, Sherri Turner. Turner, who is the combined age of two Wies and one Pressel, dressed the part of LPGA Past. She had on some long, baggy shorts; an un-tucked, frumpy shirt; a visor and some spectacles. To complete the look, she even used a broomstick putter.
We are definitely in the beginning stages of a new, younger, hipper LGPA Tour.
But while style certainly has its place in sports, substance is what matters.
Saturday, Wie showed she has both.
There will still be plenty of Wie critics citing that she didnt win this past week and has never really won much of anything. But what she proved at Ko Olina Golf Club is that she is getting closer and closer to winning. And when it happens once, its going to happen a lot.
When Wie three-putted the par-5 13th to fall two off the lead, it looked like she was finished. She just doesnt know how to win, I thought; she cant handle the situation.
And then she proved me wrong.
Because, then she birdied the par-5 14th to get back within one. And then she birdied the 17th to tie for the lead. And then she bombed a drive on 18 and hit an 8-iron from 157 yards to 8 feet.
Michelle Wie
Michelle Wie gave the homeland crowd plenty to cheer about with her final-round 66.
She missed the putt on the left side. Had she made it, she would have posted a number which likely would have gotten her into a playoff. Instead, she finished at 13 under, one back and in third place.
Television analysts said that she pulled her putt, that nerves made the stroke for her. She said that she just misread it. To her defense, Seon Hwa Lee had the same putt to win the tournament in sudden death and also missed it left.
With thousands of homeland supporters applauding her effort, Wie was visibly disappointed walking off the 18th green. And that was good. It was good to see her upset about not winning. Unlike for most 16-year-olds, theres not much room left on Wies resume for any more victories of the moral variety.
Wies third-place showing didnt exactly justify her third-place position on the newly unveiled Womens World Golf Ranking, but thats another topic for another story.
On this occasion, Wie has little for which to apologize. For the day, she made seven birdies and one bogey for a closing 66. Pressel, meanwhile, had three birdies and two bogeys for a 71 and a tie for 11th.
When Meena Lee, in the group right behind Wie and Pressel, birdied 18 to post 14 under and effectively end Wies week, I reached for the remote.
But before I changed the channel, there was still one thing that I wanted to see. It wasnt to see if Natalie Gulbis could make a late run or which South Korean was going to win. I had to see if Pressel was going to cry in her post-round interview.
To her credit, Pressel did speak to The Golf Channel after signing her scorecard. But she probably should have passed.
Maybe she thought she could control her emotions this time, or maybe she didnt want to be perceived negatively had she denied the interview request.
Either way, she spoke ' and she cried. Again.
I realize that Pressel is a very emotional girl. And that shes just that: a 17-year-old girl. But enough already with the tears.
Every time she loses, she cries. She seems to take joy in defeating others, but she cant handle losing herself. Thats something shes going to have to get used to. This isnt the AJGA. Her days of domination are over, at least for the foreseeable future. Shell get a few knock-outs each year, but shes going to have to learn to take plenty of punches along the way.
She was obviously upset with her pedestrian performance. But it likely stung a little more that she was beaten so soundly by Wie.
Im sure she believed that she could and would beat Wie, regardless of whether or not she would win the tournament. And Im sure she wanted to prove to the media to the fans and to Wie that she is the better player of the two. And it would have been really sweet to do it on Wies home turf.
But it didnt happen this time, and she didnt handle the disappointment very well.
It will, however, happen at some point. At some time, possibly again this year, the two will again go head-to-head. And eventually Morgan will get the better of Michelle. The same way that Larry eventually got the better of Magic.
It may prove to be a rivalry in which Morgan and Michelle constantly 1-up one another. Or maybe one will dominate the other until the tide is turned for a similar period of time, like with Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova.
In the last line of Casablanca, Bogart says, Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Wie and Pressel may never become best of friends, maybe just friendly rivals. And if they do, Saturday could have been the beginning of a beautiful, friendly rivalry.
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Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Fields Open in Hawaii