Wie Tries Again to Make Cut at Sony Open

By Associated PressJanuary 11, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 Sony OpenHONOLULU -- David Toms had some advice for Michelle Wie.
 
The defending champion at the Sony Open played a practice round with the 17-year-old Wie, who will be playing her hometown event for the fourth straight year Thursday, trying to end her 0-6 mark in making the cut on the PGA TOUR.
 
Wie played a practice round with defending champion Ernie Els in 2004. A year ago, she practiced with Justin Rose and Sean OHair, two guys who can pound it off the tee. Toms is of moderate length.
 
I felt like at times maybe she was overswinging, trying to hit a draw for extra distance, Toms said. She could probably tell after playing nines with me that she has adequate distance to play out here at a high level. She cant overpower our game like she does on the ladies tour, so she has to play a different game, more of an accuracy game.
 
I think once she learns that, shell do fine.
 
The Michelle Wie Show isnt nearly what it was when she made her Sony Open debut in 2004 and shot 68 in the second round to miss the cut by one shot. It doesnt even have the same energy as last year.
 
No one is taking about her, Paul Azinger said. Its kind of a shame. It looks like the novelty has worn off.
 
Even the senior in high school said she no longer feels out of place on the PGA TOUR, especially at Waialae Country Club. She doesnt spend every hour of daylight, soaking up her moment in the sun, never mind the overcast skies.
 
She couldnt say whether there was less buzz around her.
 
Its hard to think of myself as a novelty, she said. Its not like Im chocolate, or anything.
 
Wie was in the morning group in the first full-field event of the year on the PGA TOUR, playing with Gavin Coles of Australia, whose nickname on tour is the Angry Ant, which could lead to some interesting dynamics. The other player in their threesome is Stephen Marino, who shot the lowest round at Q-school (62) in earning his card.
 
For everyone else, its business as usual.
 
Vijay Singh will try to make it an island sweep, having won the Mercedes-Benz Championship last week. The only other player to start the year 2-0 in Hawaii was Ernie Els in 2003.
 
His confidence is climbing. His work is endless, shutting down the range two straight days leading to the opening round.
 
It really is a very comforting thing to have a win underneath your belt and to go out there and say, Even if I dont win this week, it doesnt matter because Ive got one already, Singh said. Thats probably not the right way to look at it. I need to pick myself up and get myself fired up again.
 
Singh already found plenty of motivation from The Golf Channel.
 
He told about seeing a report that suggested he would never be a top-5 player again, having won only once last year and about to turn 44. Singh hardly looked like he was aging at Kapalua, beating Adam Scott by two shots.
 
Its a shame, he said. Two years ago, I won nine events. Three years ago, I won four. So its not like I went off the map or anything. I did finish high on the money list last year (No. 4). I still won a golf tournament. I had a pretty average season last year, but that didnt mean I was totally off the map.
 
Whether Wie belongs in the same arena as golfs best players remains a hot debate.
 
I pull for her all the time, Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger said.
 
Stuart Appleby says Wie continues to bring exposure to the Sony Open, but hes not sure when it will end, referring to it as a saga.
 
I think she came five years too early to play the mens tour, he said. She should really just let it go for now, come back when shes accomplished at a game thats more comparable to someone like Annika. Shes certainly not proving anything except that she cant play with the men at her level right now. Theres not doubt shes going to improve dramatically as a player and mature as a person.
 
But right now, he added, its just the wrong time.
 
When someone suggested that playing against the men was about marketing, Wie fired back.
 
I guess being the only girl on the baseball team when I was 4-years-old was also a marketing plan'not, she said. Its what I want to do. Some people take it as, Its a marketing plan to make more money, blah, blah. But they dont realize its what I want to do and I enjoy it. You cant trade happiness for anything.
 
Singh said he was rooting for her to make the cut so she can get on with the rest of her goals.
 
Id like to see her win, go out there and make a real name for herself, he said. Shes a great player and will be a great player on the ladies tour. I think she wont do that if she keeps playing here and doing what shes doing now. You have to feel a rhythm about your swing, but how can you? You cannot just jump on one tour, especially if youre a (17-year-old) girl.
 
The guys out there are not scared of anything, they are not even scared of the top guys, Singh said. So they are not really worried about a girl going out there and beating them.
 
And there is nothing to suggest they should be nervous. In her last two PGA TOUR events, Wie was last at the 84 Lumber Classic and withdrew from the John Deere Classic.

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Sony Open in Hawaii
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    Schauffele just fine being the underdog

    By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

    Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

    Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

    Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

    “All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

    Getty Images

    Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

    Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

    So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

    Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

    Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Jordan Spieth: 7/4

    Xander Schauffele: 5/1

    Kevin Kisner: 11/2

    Tiger Woods: 14/1

    Francesco Molinari: 14/1

    Rory McIlroy: 14/1

    Kevin Chappell: 20/1

    Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

    Alex Noren: 25/1

    Zach Johnson: 30/1

    Justin Rose: 30/1

    Matt Kuchar: 40/1

    Webb Simpson: 50/1

    Adam Scott: 80/1

    Tony Finau: 80/1

    Charley Hoffman: 100/1

    Austin Cook: 100/1

    Getty Images

    Spieth stands on brink of Open repeat

    By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 7:49 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jordan Spieth described Monday’s “ceremony” to return the claret jug to the keepers of the game’s oldest championship as anything but enjoyable.

    For the last 12 months the silver chalice has been a ready reminder of what he was able to overcome and accomplish in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, a beacon of hope during a year that’s been infinitely forgettable.

    By comparison, the relative pillow fight this week at Carnoustie has been a welcome distraction, a happy-go-lucky stroll through a wispy field. Unlike last year’s edition, when Spieth traveled from the depths of defeat to the heights of victory within a 30-minute window, the defending champion has made this Open seem stress-free, easy even, by comparison.

    But then those who remain at Carnoustie know it’s little more than a temporary sleight of hand.

    As carefree as things appeared on Saturday when 13 players, including Spieth, posted rounds of 67 or lower, as tame as Carnoustie, which stands alone as The Open’s undisputed bully, has been through 54 holes there was a foreboding tension among the rank and file as they readied for a final trip around Royal Brown & Bouncy.

    “This kind of southeast or east/southeast wind we had is probably the easiest wind this golf course can have, but when it goes off the left side, which I think is forecasted, that's when you start getting more into the wind versus that kind of cross downwind,” said Spieth, who is tied for the lead with Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner at 9 under par after a 6-under 65. “It won't be the case tomorrow. It's going to be a meaty start, not to mention, obviously, the last few holes to finish.”

    Carnoustie only gives so much and with winds predicted to gust to 25 mph there was a distinct feeling that playtime was over.

    As melancholy as Spieth was about giving back the claret jug, and make no mistake, he wasn’t happy, not even his status among the leading contenders with a lap remaining was enough for him to ignore the sleeping giant.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    But then he’s come by his anxiousness honestly. Spieth has spent far too much time answering questions about an inexplicably balky putter the last few weeks and he hasn’t finished better than 21st since his “show” finish in April at the Masters.

    After a refreshingly solid start to his week on Thursday imploded with a double bogey-bogey-par-bogey finish he appeared closer to an early ride home on Friday than he did another victory lap, but he slowly clawed his way back into the conversation as only he can with one clutch putt after the next.

    “I'm playing golf for me now. I've kind of got a cleared mind. I've made a lot of progress over the year that's been kind of an off year, a building year,” said Spieth, who is bogey-free over his last 36 holes. “And I've got an opportunity to make it a very memorable one with a round, but it's not necessary for me to prove anything for any reason.”

    But if an awakened Carnoustie has Spieth’s attention, the collection of would-be champions assembled around and behind him adds another layer of intrigue.

    Kisner, Spieth’s housemate this week on Angus coast, has led or shared the lead after each round this week and hasn’t shown any signs of fading like he did at last year’s PGA Championship, when he started the final round with a one-stroke lead only to close with a 74 to tie for seventh place.

    “I haven't played it in that much wind. So I think it's going to be a true test, and we'll get to see really who's hitting it the best and playing the best tomorrow,” said Kisner, who added a 68 to his total on Day 3.

    There’s no shortage of potential party crashers, from Justin Rose at 4 under after a round-of-the-week 64 to 2015 champion Zach Johnson, who also made himself at home with Spieth and Kisner in the annual Open frat house and is at 5 under.

    Rory McIlroy, who is four years removed from winning his last major championship, looked like a player poised to get off the Grand Slam schneid for much of the day, moving to 7 under with a birdie at the 15th hole, but he played the last three holes in 2 over par and is tied with Johnson at 5 under par. 

    And then there’s Tiger Woods. For three magical hours the three-time Open champion played like he’d never drifted into the dark competitive hole that’s defined his last few years. Like he’d never been sidelined by an endless collection of injuries and eventually sought relief under the surgeon’s knife.

    As quietly as Woods can do anything, he turned in 3 under par for the day and added two more birdies at Nos. 10 and 11. His birdie putt at the 14th hole lifted him temporarily into a share of the lead at 6 under par.

    “We knew there were going to be 10, 12 guys with a chance to win on Sunday, and it's turning out to be that,” said Woods, who is four strokes off the lead. “I didn't want to be too far back if the guys got to 10 [under] today. Five [shots back] is certainly doable, and especially if we get the forecast tomorrow.”

    Woods held his round of 66 together with a gritty par save at the 18th hole after hitting what he said was his only clunker of the day off the final tee.

    Even that episode seemed like foreshadowing.

    The 18th hole has rough, bunkers, out of bounds and a burn named Barry that weaves its way through the hole like a drunken soccer fan. It’s the Grand Slam of hazardous living and appears certain to play a leading role in Sunday’s outcome.

    Perhaps none of the leading men will go full Jean Van de Velde, the star-crossed Frenchman who could still be standing in that burn if not for a rising tide back at the 1999 championship, but if the 499 yards of dusty turf is an uninvited guest, it’s a guest nonetheless.

    It may not create the same joyless feelings that he had when he returned the claret jug, but given the hole’s history and Spieth’s penchant for late-inning histrionics (see Open Championship, 2017), the 18th hole is certain to produce more than a few uncomfortable moments.

    Getty Images

    Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

    One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

    McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

    McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

    “I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”