Wies Quest Sparks Reaction

By Brian HewittDecember 11, 2008, 5:00 pm
The Comebacker is taking heat this week for Golf Channels wall-to-wall coverage of Michelle Wies procurement of her LPGA playing privileges last week.
Memo to critics: We can take the heat and were not planning to leave the kitchen any time soon.
Like it or not, Wies quest was news. So, too, will be her efforts in womens golf in 2009. Annika Sorenstam is gone from the competitive scene for now. Wie is the next big thing. Although in fairness to Stacy Lewis, who beat Wie at Q-School, its not hard to imagine her carving out a Hall of Fame career.
Without further ado:

Paul writes:: Never could stand it when the media types tried to tell me what the latest greatest in any sport is supposed to be. This is true of Michelle Wie and Anthony Kim. WIN. CONSISTENTLY, then I will be impressed. Sure you guys are the brains, but I know a snow job and media hype when I see it. Sorry, neither Wie nor Kim is worth a flip other than PROMISING at this point. Would you like to share the list of all those whom over the years you media guys have tried to tell us lowly fans who the NEXT GREATEST is supposed to be?
The Comebacker
Would like to have been a fly on the wall if Paul had ever gotten the chance to tell Sergio Garcia that Anthony Kim wasnt worth a flip in the moments after Kim roasted Garcia in the Ryder Cup singles.

Bob writes: Im a 60-plus white male who loves the LPGA. I like many of the Asian players. Seon Hwa Lee, Ai Miyazato and Angela Park -- these are the girls of my swing thoughts. The more I swing like them, slowly, with a smooth tempo, the farther I hit it. (Why don't they do a Playing Lessons from the Pros?) My respect for Michelle Wie returned watching her at Q-School. Next year we'll have more than just Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel as photogenic Americans: Wie, Lewis and Hurst are lovely as well as talented. There are a handful of men that make the PGA tour a viable television concern. Ditto the ladies.
The Comebacker
Just a handful? Angela Park, by the way, has a swing that Johnny Miller has called the best in womens golf. Anyway, nice to hear somebody from another demographic and generation is attracted to the LPGA.

Gerry writes: I have followed the Michelle Wie situation and find it rather offensive that everyone has their own opinion rather than looking at things from her perspective. If I was her, would I have done things differently? Maybe. I thought at least having her enter some PGA events made it more interesting. She is and continues to be an inspiration for me and others who have been recovering from tendon injuries -- makes me wish I was 20 years younger so I could get over those injuries more quickly like she did. I will continue to cheer for Michelle, in spite of what others say...and unless you've been in our shoes, it is always a case of ease up or you risk re-injury. Likely she tried to come back too soon...but I can honestly say that I've done the same thing in other ways, too...something we all have done at one time or another.
The Comebacker
Interesting that more support is rolling in for Wie now that she has secured her card for 2009.

Dan writes: At age 19, playing her first full year on tour, Wie may struggle. Who knows how her body, mind, or swing will hold up over the course of what will be her first full season. If she does struggle, I am sure there will be plenty of people very happy to pounce and run her down. But, hey, thats fair. Whether it is an opinion, an ax to grind, or even a hint of sexism (I think a few in the golf world simply wish the LPGA would go away), people have the right to say or print whatever. But what has to be clear to anyone who has watched even a bit of womens golf is that Michelle Wie has major game and will be a factor, at least at times, this season.
The Comebacker
Sez here Wie will win at least twice in 09. Meanwhile, Comebacker hasnt met anybody who wishes the LPGA would go away.

Dennis writes:Kudos to her (Wie), and the great way she recovered from a three-bogey start on Sunday, and just the way she handled herself throughout. Michelle has overcome a lot, and proved she can take undesirable blows, never envisioned. She can now silence her critics by continuing to play good golf, and maturing naturally. I am rooting for her, and see Michelle as able to do a lot for golf, American female golf, and the LPGA. Hope it all comes through.
The Comebacker
For some strange reason, it seems the less Michelle Wie talked last week, the more popular she became.

Jim writes:It's been a while since I last wrote but I'd like to chime in on the Wie qualifying story. For sometime I was agitated by the fact that she was given everything, really earned nothing and was placed on a pedestal she didn't deserve. I got over it. Her celebrity is the result of an American sports public always looking for the athlete to love or hate. They have that in Michelle Wie. It doesn't help that situation when sports reporting entities, such as Golf Channel and ESPN, hype Ms. Wie, as long as they think her story will sell newspapers, TV advertising and increase viewer ratings. A case in point is the LPGA qualifying school results. In case you didn't hear Stacy Lewis not only beat Ms. Wie, she won the damn tournament. Yet, Golf Channel coverage of the results primarily focused on Ms. Wie. In reporting the results of the tournament, ESPN showcased Wie, segmented an interview with Wie and then presented a recap of the important? Milestones in the golf life of Ms. Wie. Folks, she finished 7th! Duh!!!!! And, ESPN had not one word about the winner. Ms. Lewis has a few note worthy milestones also; Collegiate All American, great Curtis Cup performance and finished third in the Womens Open. Deserved or not, that is one of the things that creates the negative attitude toward Ms. Wie. Then to show her immaturity and unprofessional (remember she is a pro) conduct, she did not have the courtesy to compliment or congratulate Ms. Lewis in her interview. Her personality and her youth make it appear that she has empowered herself, been selected by her father and/or anointed by the press as the next Queen of Golf. In my opinion, most golf fans and sports fans in general, do not appreciate such an image of superiority. As far as being the next Queen of Golf, I personally believe Ms. Lewis and others will prove that not to be the case.I wish her well but it may not be as smooth a ride as many people think. Time will tell.
The Comebacker
Jim, you said a mouthful there. Couple of things in response: Tiger Woods is a terrific sportsman but you dont normally hear him going too far out of his way to praise the winner on the rare occasions when that winner isnt Tiger. By the way, Stacy Lewis didnt exactly fawn all over Wie when it was over either. Last point: Michelle Wie still hasnt won anything since she was 13 years old. Stacy Lewis was still adjusting to life with scoliosis when she was 13. And finally a note to all The Comebackers readers: Unless you have just composed the second coming of Lincolns Gettysburg Address, you would do well to keep your E-mails to 200 words or less. Brevity is, after all, the soul of wit and shorter e-mails give more readers a shot at making it into this space.

Jon writes:
I have no idea why you even care about Michelle Wie. What a waste of time and energy. There are dozens of superior players on the LPGA tour.
The ComebackerSee. Short and bittersweet. Comebacker doesnt agree with Jon but lauds his concision.

Hugh writes:Do you even have the courage to report that she (Wie) played rather poorly on Sunday, on the course that Golf Channel had stated the evening before was the easier of the two, and with MWs performance during the week on this course (-10 or so) that she should be gunning for the win? .. The only thing that is obvious to golf fans is that Golf Channel appears to need Michelle Wie more than the LPGA. Why dont you tell us why that is? .. Not only has she been mismanaged by her parents, but GC contributes to her notoriety with all of the one-way coverage of somebody who hasnt accomplished much of anything in amateur or professional golf. Wake up and start reporting on golf in the same way that it is played, with honesty and professionalism. Call a reporting 'penalty stroke' on yourself and GC.
The Comebacker
So, Hugh, any truth to the rumor that you work for the Tennis Channel?

Susan writes:Wow, I have never seen so much venom from so many jealous people in my life. I can honestly say I know of no other player currently I would drive to see play other than Michelle Wie or maybe Ji Yai Shin. I hope Miss Wie beats them all this year. They all just seem intimidated by her and cant get by the fact she is very rich and most of them are not. On another point, since when is it a bad thing to get a degree from Stanford prior to playing pro golf. Some people just dont get it, period.
The Comebacker
Venom, indeed. Never thought Id mention Michelle Wie and Howard Cosell in the same sentence. But so many people either loved or hated the late Cosell. And that seems to be the same thing with Wie.

Dave writes: The day will come, barring some freak injury, when Michelles game will shut up the chauvinistic reviewers. If I had a dollar for all the men friends Ive heard complain about Michelle that have never watched her play a single shot I could afford a membership at Oahu Country Club. And frankly the complaining is all about the fact she is a woman playing a man game and nothing else. Most men are just too chicken to admit how intimidated they were that at one point in their life all those 300 yard drives that were closer to 250 they told their friends theyd hit were being topped by a 14-year-old girl from Hawaii who didnt appear to be swinging very hard. Add in the fact the girl is of Asian ancestry and the xenophobes come out to play..But you know what, I remember how difficult it was for people in Tigers early days to deal with a person of Afro-Asian ancestry being so incredibly good. Now it is never discussed nor noticed so much anymore. And this is as it should be. One day she (Wie) will make the cut on a mens tour event, one day she will win an LPGA event, and the noise will stop. Hopefully in 10 years her harshest critics will look back and realize the real Michelle Wie problem they had was a problem of theirs and that Michelle really had nothing to do with it at all. And perhaps the world will be that better place wed all like to live in.
The Comebacker
Take that, guysAnd imagine Michelle Wie making the world a better place wed all like to live in.

Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
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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.”

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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

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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.

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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.”