An Important Message for the Junior Athlete

By David BreslowOctober 24, 2007, 4:00 pm
A Wie Bit of a Problem: An Important Message for the Junior Athlete
 
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And now todays article
 
The Michelle Wie situation is a great opportunity for junior athletes and parents to stand up and take notice. It is well chronicled by the television, newspaper and radio media but underneath the headlines are some important messages for all junior parents and players.
 
For every Michelle Wie there are many more junior athletes we might never hear of, because they have succumbed to the mountain of external and internal pressures heaped on them. In addition, they may be the recipient of ineffective advice from those close to them.
 
The pressure to win is rampant in junior competition in many different sports. Unfortunately, some parents, coaches and mentors can make this pressure more difficult; not less. As a former Director of Mental Toughness at the National Tennis Center in New York, Ive witnessed this pressure put upon junior tennis players trying to live the dream and make the pro tour. The pressure can reveal itself in many different ways from parents; a comment, a look, anger, frustration and so on. I would never ask someone to dismiss their dream, of course, but its not the dream that causes the problems; its WHO THEY ARE and HOW they go after the dream that matters most.
 
Do we have to go far to see the proof of the dangers in this? Hollywood provides us ample situations to choose from in this regard. Whether its Brittany, Paris or Lindsay we see the negative effects of a lack of balance, poor decision making and ineffective mentoring that occurs around these people. Michelle Wie happens to be splashed all over the media because of her status in the golf world but there are many who never get to that point because the flame burns out long beforehand. Unfortunately, Michelles status is dipping rapidly but a diminishing status is one thing; demeaning a person is quite another.
 
The Michelle Wie story, once again, highlights a very important story lurking underneath. Behind the razzle-dazzle of big contracts, media exposure, selling tickets and making money is Michelle Wie; the person. We know that the number of people who make it in professional sports is such a small percentage of those who try. If someone has the dream then following that dream is important. However, the choices made while pursuing the dream have everything to do with how one gets there; or doesnt get there. How many phenoms have we seen flare on to the scene only to burn out in a short period of time? The media attention will reflect this as well. It begins with a build up and then a tear down and once the star burns out; forgets about them altogether.
 
Tiger Woods, often referred to as the standard is the exception and not the rule, in my opinion. From all indications, Mr. Woods had the benefit of a strong, tough and loving father as well as a mother who exposed him to key insights about the realities of his internal powers by putting him in position to learn those insights. Obviously, Mr. Woods is blessed with a great reservoir of natural talent as well and when you put this entire package together, you have someone like Tiger Woods.
 
Michelle Wie is also talented and at an early age became a media darling. Now, her star is falling. I hope we can keep in mind the important underlying message in the Michelle Wie saga; too much too soon doesnt work for most people. There is no shortage of opinions as to what happened but for sure, the handling of this situation is in question. Reach for the dream but reach for it by learning how to maintain a proper balance between who you are internally and the external challenges you face. This will impact the choices you make and help in choosing what mentors, advisors and people you surround yourself with; which means someone who is willing to say no when necessary. The Michelle Wie story is not over unless she wants it to be. Great choices can still be made and a more effective plan can still be put into effect.
 
It is my hope that all those in position to help direct a junior athlete will take heed of the important message we can learn from in this situation.
 
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    Minjee Lee co-leads Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

    By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 12:25 am

    ROGERS, Ark. - Minjee Lee wasn't all that concerned when she missed her first cut of the year this month at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

    The ninth-ranked Australian has certainly looked at ease and back in form at Pinnacle Country Club in her first event since then.

    Lee and Japan's Nasa Hataoka each shot 6-under 65 on Saturday to share the second-round lead in the NW Arkansas Championship 13-under 129. Lee is chasing her fifth victory since turning pro three years ago. It's also an opportunity to put any lingering frustration over that missed cut two weeks ago behind her for good.

    ''I didn't particularly hit it bad, even though I missed the cut at ShopRite, I just didn't really hole any putts,'' Lee said. ''I'd been hitting it pretty solid going into that tournament and even into this tournament, too. Just to see a couple putts roll in has been nice.''

    The 22-year-old Lee needed only 24 putts during her opening 64 on Friday, helping her to match the low round of her career. Despite needing 28 putts Saturday, she still briefly took the outright lead after reaching as low as 14 under after a birdie on the par-5 seventh.


    Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship


    Lee missed the green on the par-4 ninth soon thereafter to lead to her only bogey of the day and a tie with the 19-year-old Hataoka, who is in pursuit of her first career win.

    Hataoka birdied six of eight holes midway through her bogey-free round on Saturday. It was yet another stellar performance from the Japanese teenager, who has finished in the top 10 in four of her last five tournaments and will be a part of Sunday's final pairing.

    ''I try to make birdies and try to be under par, that's really the key for me to get a top ten,'' Hataoka said. ''Golf is just trying to be in the top 10 every single week, so that's the key.''

    Third-ranked Lexi Thompson matched the low round of the day with a 64 to get to 11 under. She hit 17 of 18 fairways and shot a 5-under 30 on her opening nine, The American is in search of her first win since September in the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

    Ariya Jutanugarn and Celine Boutier were 10 under.

    First-round leader Gaby Lopez followed her opening 63 with a 75 to drop to 4 under. Fellow former Arkansas star Stacy Lewis also was 4 under after a 72.

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    Henley will try to put heat on Casey in final round

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:55 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – While it will be a tall task for anyone to catch Paul Casey at the Travelers Championship, the man who will start the round most within reach of the Englishman is Russell Henley.

    Henley was in the penultimate group at TPC River Highlands on Saturday, but he’ll now anchor things during the final round as he looks to overcome a four-shot deficit behind Casey. After a 3-under 67, Henley sits at 12 under through 54 holes and one shot clear of the three players tied for third.

    Henley closed his third round with a run of five straight pars, then became the beneficiary of a pair of late bogeys from Brian Harman that left Henley alone in second place.


    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    “Could have made a couple more putts, but to end with two up-and-downs like that was nice,” Henley said. “I felt a little bit weird over the shots coming in, put me in some bad spots. But it was nice to have the short game to back me up.”

    Henley has won three times on Tour, most recently at the 2017 Houston Open, and he cracked the top 25 at both the Masters and U.S. Open. But with Casey riding a wave of confidence and coming off an 8-under 62 that marked the best round of the week, he knows he’ll have his work cut out for him in order to nab trophy No. 4.

    “I think I can shoot a low number on this course. You’ve got to make the putts,” Henley said. “I’m definitely hitting it well enough, and if I can get a couple putts to fall, that would be good. But I can’t control what he’s doing. I can just try to keep playing solid.”

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    Back from back injury, Casey eyeing another win

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:36 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Given his four-shot cushion at the Travelers Championship and his recent victory at the Valspar Championship, it’s easy to forget that Paul Casey hit the disabled list in between.

    Casey had to withdraw from The Players Championship because of a bad back, becoming the only player in the top 50 in the world rankings to miss the PGA Tour’s flagship event. He flew back to England to get treatment, and Casey admitted that his T-20 finish at last month’s BMW PGA Championship came while he was still on the mend.

    “I wasn’t 100 percent fit with the back injury, which was L-4, L-5, S-1 (vertebrae) all out of place,” Casey said. “Big inflammation, nerve pain down the leg and up the back. I didn’t know what was going on.”


    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    Thanks in large part to a combination of MRIs, back adjustments and anti-inflammatories, Casey finally turned the corner. His T-16 finish at last week’s U.S. Open was the first event for which he felt fully healthy since before the Players, and he’s on the cusp of a second title since March after successfully battling through the injury.

    “We thought we were fixing it, but we weren’t. We were kind of hitting the effects rather than the cause,” Casey said. “Eventually we figured out the cause, which was structural.”

    Casey started the third round at TPC River Highlands two shots off the lead, but he’s now four clear of Russell Henley after firing an 8-under 62 that marked the low round of the week.

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    Bubba thinks he'll need a Sunday 60 to scare Casey

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:15 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Perhaps moreso than at most PGA Tour venues, a low score is never really out of reach at TPC River Highlands. Positioned as a welcome change of pace after the U.S. Open, the Travelers Championship offers a lush layout that often pushes the balance much closer to reward than risk.

    This is where Jim Furyk shot a 58 on the par-70 layout two years ago – and he didn’t even win that week. So even though Paul Casey enters the final round with a commanding four-shot lead, there’s still plenty of hope for the chase pack that something special could be in store.

    Count Bubba Watson among the group who still believe the title is up for grabs – even if it might require a Herculean effort, even by his standards.


    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    Watson has won the Travelers twice, including in a 2015 playoff over Casey. But starting the final round in a large tie for sixth at 10 under, six shots behind Casey, he estimates that he’ll need to flirt with golf’s magic number to give the Englishman something to worry about.

    “My 7 under yesterday, I need to do better than that. I’m going to have to get to like 10 [under],” Watson said. “The only beauty is, getting out in front, you have a chance to put a number up and maybe scare them. But to scare them, you’re going to have to shoot 10 under at worst, where I’m at anyway.”

    Watson started the third round three shots off the lead, and he made an early move with birdies on Nos. 1 and 2 en route to an outward 32. The southpaw couldn’t sustain that momentum, as bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 turned a potential 65 into a relatively disappointing 67.

    “Bad decision on the par-3, and then a very tough tee shot for me on 17, and it just creeped into the bunker,” Watson said. “Just, that’s golf. You have mistakes every once in a while.”