Wie Struggles in Practice at Canoe Brook

By Associated PressJune 1, 2006, 4:00 pm
SUMMIT, N.J. -- Michelle Wie has a good chance of becoming the first woman to qualify for the U.S. Open if she can work out the kinks in her swing tempo over the next few days, instructor David Leadbetter said Thursday.
Wie practiced on the range and then played nine holes on the Canoe Brook Country Club's North Course in preparation for Monday's 36-hole U.S. Open sectional qualifier.
All the 16-year-old star has to do to make the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, N.Y., is finish in the top 18 in the field of 153 players.
'She just qualified on the practice tee,' Leadbetter quipped after working on Wie's swing for more than an hour. 'I think she's got a decent shot at it. She is confident. She had a very good outing in Korea a few weeks ago and she is swinging pretty well overall.'
Wie refused to speak either before or after playing.
'She has to focus on her preparation,' said her father, B.J., who walked the course with his daughter, wife Bo, Leadbetter and caddie Greg Johnston.
Leadbetter focused much of his attention on Wie's tempo. It has a tendency to quicken during her swing, and that leads to a tendency to pull the ball left.
Playing in front of less than a dozen spectators, Wie yanked the ball left on the second, third, fourth, fifth and seventh holes. Her frustration seemed to peak at the 212-yard, par-3 seventh, where she took five shots off the tee. Her first finished on the adjacent sixth fairway. Three of the next four landed short and left in a greenside bunker. The other went over the green.
'Give her a day or so,' Leadbetter said. 'She hit a lot of good shots, too.'
Wie actually hit several outstanding shots. She put her second shot on the first hole 10 feet from the pin. She missed the birdie putt.
After taking a mulligan on the downwind, downhill, 572-yard, par-5 second hole, Wie hit her second drive 327 yards, then hit the green from 245 yards.
'I got that in my bag,' quipped Stew Robertson, 71, of North Brunswick. 'Then I wake up from my dream and I don't have it.'
Wie also reached the 501-yard, par-5 eighth hole, which was playing into the wind, in two.
Leadbetter called the North and South courses at Canoe Brook classic old courses that aren't 'tricked up.' Hitting the small greens will yield birdies, he said.
Wie has the game and personality to make golf history, he said.
'It really is incredible,' he said. 'No way a few years ago would you have ever dreamed of a 16-year-old girl having the opportunity of hopefully getting into the men's U.S. Open. She is just special. That's all I can tell you.
'Her mind-set, not only her great athletic ability and great golf swing. She has an unbelievable mind. She really thrives on pressure. She likes the pressure-cooker situation. Her game seems to get better the more the pressure is on.'
The atmosphere Monday is expected to be zoo-like, with many people coming to see if Wie can beat the field of PGA Tour professionals and club pros.
Leadbetter said the commotion won't bother her.
In her recent tournament in South Korea, she played as cell phones rang and police sirens chased fans off a local road.
'Nothing will be worse than that,' Leadbetter said. 'This will be a walk in the park.'
Wie's first day at Canoe Brook was calm. She arrived at 11:45 a.m., had lunch with club pro Greg Lecker, then went to the driving range.
As she loosened up on the far right, teenagers Jake McIntyre of Chatham and Mike Sawyer of Summit hit balls prior to their round.
As Wie was about to start hitting, they walked away.
McIntyre took out a camera and videotaped Wie's swing.
Asked why he didn't stay and hit ball near Wie, Sawyer stated the obvious.
'It would be embarrassing,' he said.
If Wie finds her swing tempo by Monday, a couple of pros also might be embarrassed.
'It's not going to be easy,' Leadbetter said. 'It's a very good group of players, good tour players and some good club professionals. She is going to have to play well. There are only 18 spots. We're confident.'
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

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There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

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“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”