Fixing The Wie Problem

By Brian HewittAugust 25, 2007, 4:00 pm
Exactly when, where, why or how is hard to pinpoint. But now that Michelle Wie has played in six LPGA events this year without finishing better than 60th, its clear her train is officially off the tracks.
 
This became apparent to everybody last week at the CN Canadian Womens Open in Alberta where Wie missed the cut by four shots.
 
Her failure there barely caused a ripple. And that was the problem. The buzz is gone.
 
The next LPGA round she plays in less than 70 strokes will be her first in 2007. Of course there have been injuries. But there have also been contradictory explanations; lots of no comments from her spin doctors; and one very suspicious WD at the Ginn Tribute.
 
Where once there was a made-for-TV phenom, now there is just a mute button stuck in the silent mode.
 
Wie is still just a teenager. But her image desperately needs damage control. She is about to enroll at Stanford University for her freshman year yet already she must discover a second act to a nascent professional career that is badly stalled.
 
Rather than focus on the negative, Jim Fannin has a few positive professional thoughts on how to fix the problems.
 
Fannin is a self-described Change Your Life coach. And before you roll your eyes at that nomenclature, consider the fact that Fannin has worked extensively, one-on-one, with the mind of David Leadbetter, the man who works exclusively with the swing of Michelle Wie.
 
I have never met Michelle Wie in person, says Fannin, who also has worked with Yankee uberstar Alex Rodriguez and golfers Charles Howell, Luke Donald, Joe Durant and Julieta Granada, just to name a few. But Fannin has watched Wie with interest.
 
Michelle Wie needs to bury the past, Fannin says. She has to introduce herself to herself. And she needs, going forward, to deal with strength.
 
For the next 30 to 60 days she should focus on the positives of her golf game. Most people focus on the negatives. Self-esteem is what you think other people think of you. If you are concerned about that, you are in trouble.
 
Once upon a cautionary tale, Fannin worked with Ty Tryon, who got his PGA TOUR card at the tender age of 17 and quickly flamed out. What Fannin found in Tryons camp was a coterie of advisors who were concerned about all the wrong things. There were special sessions on signing autographs. And debates about whether he should use his full signature or just use a double T.
 
I was appalled, Fannin said.
 
Wie has a father who once courted the media and now shuns reporters. She has an agent on the west coast and a PR firm on the east coast. The signals from her camp are, at times, impossibly mixed.
 
I would look at my routines if I were Michelle, Fannin says. You will probably find that she doesnt have consistent mental routines. Im talking about sleep routines, eating routines and routines on the range. You need routines that fit you and are designed to get you into the zone state.
 
Fannin has made CDs titled: Life in the Zone, Business in the Zone, Tennis in the Zone, Sports in the Zone, Golf in the Zone, and Baseball in the Zone. He knows the territory.
 
Meanwhile this week, Wies state will be Oregon.
 
She is competing in the Safeway Classic Presented by Pepsi. The Portland venue is not all that far from the headquarters of Nike, a sponsor that has, admirably, stood by its investment in Wie through thick and thin. Lately it has been mostly thin. Friday Wie opened with a 7-over 79.
 
Michelle needs to be aware of what she thinks about, Fanning says. You need to know what keeps you engaged. The champion thinks less. Not more.
 
Clearly, Wie is heading in the other direction. After missing the cut last week she was asked how she plans to balance college with professional golf. I havent really figured that out yet, she said.
 
One national magazine advanced the theory that Wies poor play has been a way of rebelling against the childhood her golfing precocity has cost her. One national radio station floated the notion that Wie is exploring ways to retain her amateur status so she can play on the womens team at Stanford.
 
At some point Michelle has to be her own thinker, Fannin says. Golf is a game of decisions. When you believe youre a world class decision maker, youve arrived as a world class player. I still feel real positive about this girl.
 
Going deeper, Fannin talks about trusting intuition. Intuition is real-time information that your conscious mind does not possess, he says. Right now, shes probably not listening to her intuition.
 
Wies parents have come under increasing fire for mismanaging their daughters career to date. My advice to all parents is let your child be a decision-maker, Fannin says. From where Fannin sits, he doesnt think Wie has had the opportunity to make her own decisions.
 
Tiger Woods, we all know, is first rate decision-maker. Hes at the top of all athletes in the world in that department, Fannin says. Tiger listens to his intuition. Thats Michelles next great challenge.
 
She has a dominant advisory staff. And theyre very good. But usually when you have too many thoughts, you do nothing.
 

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    Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

    By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

    Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

    The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

    Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

    The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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    Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

    By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

    It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

    Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

    The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

    The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

    For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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    Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

    By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

    After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

    But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

    Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

    Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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    Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

    By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

    Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

    The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

    “There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.


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    In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

    “To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

    Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

    “To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.