An Adults Take on a 15-Year-Olds World

By George WhiteJanuary 13, 2005, 5:00 pm
We know Michelle Wie only as that 15-year-old Hawaiian kid who excels at golf. We look at her and her coy manner of dancing around questions regarding when she will turn pro, and we say, Of course she wont go to college. Who does she think she is kidding?
Im not so sure.

Michelle tees it up with the men this week in the Sony Open. Of course, she played last year when she was just 14 and was on the verge of making the cut, missing by a single shot. But dont try to equate that with anything. She certainly isnt doing this for any reason except its what she wants to do, at this time in her life.
I'm not out here to prove anything, she said this week, negating the opinions of a whole lot of people twice or three times her age who think they have her all figured out.
I'm just having so much fun. I'm not here to say, Oh, we belong here. I'm not here to make a statement. You know, I'm just here to do stuff that no one has tried before, and it's fun.
Incidentally, count me as one of those who considered her turning pro as fore-ordained. But now Im not so sure. Why is Michelle taking all those high school courses if she didnt plan on using them someday? And she is such a brainy kid. The last semester she made all As except for a B in English. Shes taking such toughies as Algebra II, Japanese, conceptual physics, foundation art,

Conceptual physics? Foundation art? Sorry, but I dont even know what those are.
She speaks Korean, the language of her ancestors. Shes already studied the Chinese language for a couple of years and plans to take it again next year, as well as continuing her Japanese. No word yet on whether she can speak pig-Latin, but that is the only other language that most of us speak.
And conceptual physics ' for a kid still a long way from finishing high school! And, she is mesmerized by it. She actually enjoys it.
We had a chapter on power and I thought that was pretty cool, said Michelle, discussing her conceptual physics class. There's always an example of golf - the teacher is always making fun of me, but it's fun, I like it. You know, I like it because you can actually see it happen even in real life and that's really exciting.
And yet, the lure of professional golf is indeed powerful. The money that is out there ' easily a million dollars, maybe two or three in endorsements alone is incredible. Her parents are doing OK in the financial department ' he is a professor at the University of Hawaii ' but how do you turn your back on that kind of money?
Michelle concedes the obvious ' that she is weighing a prodigious amount of money in her future, and she is honest enough to say the world might lose an aspiring young physicist to the cha-ching of professional golf. But the outcome is far from certain at this stage of her young life.
I don't know yet, she says with sincerity. I mean, I don't know. There's a lot of possibilities, but I'm not real really sure yet.
Of course, she may turn pro and go to college at the same time. That has never been done before on the LPGA Tour. But everyone is trying to push her in the direction of a pro career, and Michelle insists that she hasnt yet made up her mind.
I always wanted to be known as someone who did crazy stuff, she said. I always wanted to be known as doing stuff that no one ever thought of.
I just want to push myself to the limit. I want to be known as people that changed the world and people that change how people think.
You think that isnt a different kind of young person? Be it as a scientist, a linguistics expert ' or a professional golfer ' Michelle Wie has unbelievably high aspirations. And yes, one of those aspirations is to play full-time against the men on the PGA Tour. It may be totally unachievable, but Wie can dream it. And whats wrong with having great dreams?
You know, just think (of something that never) has happened before, and maybe I'll try it, she said. I don't know, I like to do exciting things. I never wanted to do ordinary things.

Of course, there are still the totally mundane things about everyday life with which she must cope. Like, for example, learning to drive.
I'm going to learn how to drive in May, I think. Yeah, better stay off the road when I drive!
Its all from the mind of - what? ' a 15-year-old? Something tells me there is greatness lurking. And, believe it or not, it may not be in golf.
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Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond

By Randall MellMarch 24, 2018, 2:11 am

Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.

She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.

Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.

After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.

“The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.

Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).

It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.

“I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”

Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

“The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”

Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.

It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.

“I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”

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Big names chasing Kerr into the weekend at Kia Classic

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 1:55 am

CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr shot an 8-under 64 on Friday in the Kia Classic to take a five-stroke lead into the weekend.

The 40-year-old Kerr had eight birdies in her second straight bogey-free round to reach 13-under 131 at rain-softened Aviara.

''I like winning. I like challenging myself,'' Kerr said. ''Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, 'Man, why does my hamstring hurt?' From working around this hilly golf course. The golf ball doesn't know an age. I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.''

She has 20 LPGA victories, winning at Aviara in 2015. She won twice last year and helped the U.S. beat Europe in her ninth Solheim Cup appearance.

''It's tough as you get older just being fresh and rested,'' Kerr said. ''I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.''

Lizette Salas, In-Kyung Kim, Hee Young Park and Caroline Hedwall were tied for second. Salas shot 67, Kim 69, and Park and Hedwall 70.

''I really like this golf course. I really like the environment,'' said Salas, the former University of Southern California player from Azusa. ''My family gets to come out. So much confidence at the beginning of the week, and definitely showed the first two days.

Jeong Eun Lee was 7 under after a 69, and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu had a 70 to get to 6 under.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

Ariya Jutanugarn (72), Brooke Henderson (70) and 2016 winner Lydia Ko (71) were 5 under. Shanshan Feng (68) was another stroke back, and Singapore winner Michelle Wie (72) was 1 under.

Lexi Thompson was 2 over after a 74, making the cut on the number in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills.

Kerr opened with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-3 11th, added birdies on the par-4 16th, 18th and second, and ran off three in a row on the par-3 sixth, par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth.

''I don't think you can fall asleep on one shot,'' Kerr said. ''It's a really good golf course. I think I play better on courses that demand the focus, so I think that's why I've played well here in the past. ... I'm trying not to put limits on myself right now. I've got some good things going on with my swing.''

She has long been one best putters and green-readers in the world.

''I can see the subtleties that a lot of people can't,'' Kerr said. ''It's a gift from God being able to do that. I've always had that, so I'm lucky.''

Laura Davies withdrew after an opening 82. The 54-year-old Davies tied for second last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix, playing through painful left Achilles and calf problems.

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DJ hits 489-yard drive, but it doesn't count for history

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 12:22 am

AUSTIN, Texas – Dustin Johnson is no stranger to big drives, but even for DJ this one was impressive.

Trailing in his Day 3 match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Johnson launched a drive at the par-5 12th hole that traveled 489 yards, but that number comes with an asterisk.

“He got lucky it hit the road,” smiled Kevin Kisner, who was leading the world No. 1, 3 up, at the time. “I thought he would make an eagle for sure, he only had 80 yards [to the hole]. He didn’t hit a very good putt.”

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

Johnson’s drive, which was 139 yards past Kisner’s tee shot, is the longest recorded on the PGA Tour in the ShotLink era, surpassing Davis Love III’s drive of 476 yards in 2004 at the Tournament of Champions.

The drive will not go into the record books, however, because the Tour doesn’t count statistics from the Match Play.

It should also be noted, Kisner halved the 12th hole with a birdie and won the match, 4 and 3, to advance to the round of 16.

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Durant leads Champions event in Mississippi

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 12:21 am

BILOXI, Miss. - Joe Durant had three straight birdies in a back-nine burst and a shot 6-under 66 on Friday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' Rapiscan Systems Classic.

Durant birdied the par-4 11th and 12th and par-5 13th in the bogey-free round at breezy and rain-softened Fallen Oak. Because of the wet conditions, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway.

''It just sets up nice to my eye,'' Durant said. ''It's a beautiful golf course and it's very challenging. The tee shots seem to set up well for me, but the greens are maybe as quick as I've ever seen them here. You really have to put the ball in the right spots. I played very nice today. With the wind swirling like it was, I'm really happy.''

He won the Chubb Classic last month in Naples, Florida, for his third victory on the 50-and-over tour.

Full-field scores from the Rapiscan Systems Classic

''Done this long enough, Friday's just one day,'' Durant said. ''Especially in a three-day tournament, you've got to go out and shoot three good numbers. Fortunate to put one on the board, but I know I have to back it up with a couple of good days because you can get passed very quickly out here.''

Mark Calcavecchia was a stroke back. He won last month in Boca Raton, Florida

''It's probably my best round I've ever had here and it was a tough day to play,'' Calcavecchia said. ''The greens are just lightning fast. They're pretty slopey greens, so very difficult to putt.''

Steve Stricker was third at 68. He took the Tucson, Arizona, event three weeks ago for his first senior victory.

''Just getting it around and managing my game I think like I always do,'' Stricker said. ''You get in the wrong position here with the greens being so fast and you're going to be in trouble. I did that a couple times today.''

Billy Mayfair, Billy Andrade and David McKenzie shot 69. Jerry Kelly, the winner of the season-opening event in Hawaii, was at 70 with Wes Short Jr., Glen Day, Gene Sauers and Jesper Parnevik.

Bernhard Langer opened with a 71, and two-time defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez had a 72.

Vijay Singh, coming off his first senior victory two weeks ago in Newport Beach, California, had a 73.