Lewis and Wie: Rivals, opposites, close friends

By Doug FergusonJuly 8, 2014, 11:18 pm

SOUTHPORT, England - The friendly matches in South Florida can involve as many as eight players, with teams decided by drawing names from a hat.

Michelle Wie would seem to be a great pick, except for the timing.

''We usually play in the morning and then go have lunch,'' Stacy Lewis said Tuesday. ''And she usually gets very focused on the lunch and kind of doesn't pay attention to the whole golf side of it. She'll tell you the same thing.''

Wie laughed when told the story Lewis shared. Wie loves her golf and works hard at it. She also loves her food so much that before dinner gets to the table she's already thinking about the next night's menu.

For two personalities that could not be any more different, Wie and Lewis have become close friends.

One is an artist, the other a technician.

''You go to her house, she's painted everything that's on her walls,'' Lewis said. ''I need my sister to help me decorate.''

One is tall and powerful, the other is compact and precise.

''That's what Stacy is. She's consistent,'' Wie said. ''She's deadly consistent. Annoyingly consistent.''

One thing they have in common is a college diploma, rare in women's golf these days. And even that was different. Lewis graduated from Arkansas before she turned pro. Wie graduated from Stanford more than six years after she turned pro.

They are major champions and Nos. 1-2 on the LPGA Tour money list. And more than any two players, they are leading an American revival in women's golf, which resumes this week at Royal Birkdale.

Lewis began this recent surge of American success in the majors by capturing the Ricoh Women's British Open at St. Andrews last summer. Wie won the U.S. Women's Open last month at Pinehurst No. 2, making it around the Donald Ross greens without a three-putt over 72 holes. She won by two shots over Lewis, who rushed over from the practice range to be among the first to congratulate her.

A week later, Lewis rallied to beat Wie in Arkansas and take over the No. 1 spot on the money list, raising curiosity about a budding rivalry.

It's too early for that, and there are too many other players in the mix.

''I feel very honored that people are putting me up against Stacy - No. 1 in the world, obviously,'' Wie said. ''I don't think you'll find a rivalry where we hate each other or anything. But I want her to do well. I think she wants me to do well. But I think it's fun because we definitely want to beat each other. I don't want to lose to her but at the same time, I was really happy that she won in Arkansas and I think she was really happy I won at the U.S. Open, so I think it's very cool.''

Lewis had to overcome more obstacles. Scoliosis forced her to wear a back brace for 18 hours a day from age 11 until she had surgery to insert a metal rod in her back before heading off to college. She has 11 wins, two majors and is the only American to be LPGA player of the year in the last 20 years.

Wie is the bigger star, the player who makes everyone look when she walks into a room.

''I don't know if anybody could be a female Tiger Woods, but Michelle definitely moves the needle,'' Lewis said. ''I think her playing good golf is good for everyone. It's good for the tour and it's good for the other players. I said the U.S. Open couldn't have been scripted any better. We're on our biggest stage there and our biggest star winning there - and she won't even tell you that, but she is our biggest star. Her winning was huge for us.''

Their paths first crossed at another U.S. Women's Open.

Lewis made her pro debut at Interlachen in 2008 and played in the last group before finishing third. Wie didn't break 80 in the first round and had gone two years without finishing in the top 10 on the LPGA Tour. They played together at Q-school later that year. Lewis was medalist. Wie got the headlines for earning her card.

''I knew as much about her as everybody did, just seeing her on TV and stuff like that,'' Lewis said. ''A lot of players, your perception changes once you meet them.''

They met as teammates on the Solheim Cup. They are now neighbors in Florida. They practice together. They have the same trainer and are motivated by how hard each other works. They spent Fourth of July together. It rained all day, so they hung out all day, talked and set off a few fireworks.

''I don't really know what it is, but I enjoy hanging around her,'' Lewis said. ''It's cool how I've learned a lot from her, how she handles the media and how she's handled the pressures and expectations. She doesn't read anything that anybody writes and she doesn't really care what anybody thinks about her. Wish I could be like that, too.''

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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.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


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.


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“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.”