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Mallon shows trust in Wie with pick

Michelle Wie
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ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – It was an act of faith.

U.S. Solheim Cup captain Meg Mallon’s decision to make Michelle Wie one of her two captain’s picks Sunday was an act of Mallon’s faith in Wie.

“It’s really corny, but I kept thinking that this was my Greg Norman-Adam Scott moment,” Mallon said.

Four years ago, Norman made Scott a captain’s pick for the President Cup’s International squad, back when Scott was struggling as a player.

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Wie, 23, has shown flashes of returning to form this year, but she also has struggled to find consistency, missing cuts and making untimely big numbers. Through it all, though, she has impressed Mallon with her work ethic and determination.

“I’ve said all along you have to be able to handle the pick,” Mallon said. “Michelle Wie can handle being on a big stage, being a big pick.

“She is under a microscope every single day she plays, and, frankly, the way she handles herself is incredible. I know being home in the States, having these big crowds, that she can handle that better than anyone, and she has no fear.”

Wie said she didn’t know until about an hour before the team announcement was made that Mallon was going to make her a captain’s pick. Wie was called into the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews clubhouse wondering if bad news awaited her.

Mallon, though, asked her if she wanted to play for the American squad.

“As soon as I heard those words, I just started bawling,” Wie said. “I started crying and nodding my head yes. I’m just so happy.”

Wie was selected over Jennifer Johnson, 23, who won the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic in May. Johnson held the final automatic qualifying spot off the world rankings until Morgan Pressel bumped her by finishing fourth Sunday at the Ricoh Women’s British Open. Johnson hurt herself missing the cut.

“I guess winning wasn’t good enough to make @Solheim_Cup,” Johnson tweeted Sunday.

Mallon also made Gerina Piller, 23, a captain's pick over Johnson. Piller hasn't won an LPGA event or played on a Solheim Cup team but has become a regular hitting leaderboards the past two seasons. Piller is a power player, one of the longest hitters on tour, something Mallon sees fitting well at Colorado Golf Club.

Johnson is No. 50 in the world, Piller No. 55 and Wie No. 80.

Mallon said she likes how Wie’s firepower suits match play and also how her game suits Colorado Golf Club.

“I kept thinking, `Do I want to leave five or six birdies a round at home on the couch?'” Mallon said. “I just couldn’t do that.

“She’s someone who has played in Solheim Cups, has the experience, so I don’t have to worry about that part. I’ve got, what? Four rookies? Michelle will be a leader for me, and I needed that extra leadership.”

Mallon believes Wie could get the same bounce with this pick that Scott got after Norman picked him.

“I just feel like I believe in her so much, and believe in the player she is, and the person she is,” Mallon said. “And that, hopefully, this will be the stepping stone for her.'