Where Wie Belong

By Randall MellMay 22, 2009, 4:00 pm
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LPGA Tour _newCORNING, N.Y. ' Michelle Wies golf ball lost its orbit and tumbled back to earth about 295 yards from the tee box at the 16th hole Thursday in the first round of the LPGA Corning Classic.
 
Her drive came to rest three steps short of the green, 70 yards or so beyond the drives of Laura Diaz and Kristy McPherson.
 
When Diaz finally reached Wies mammoth shot, she shook her head.
 
The veteran let the rookie know she wasnt that impressed.
 
Michelle Wie
Michelle Wie has two top-3s in six starts entering this week's event. (Getty Images)
What? You couldnt hit it 10 more yards? Diaz cracked.
 
Though it had been a long, grueling day for this entire threesome, Wie smiled. LPGA veterans are learning Wie can take good-natured jabs, and she can give them out, too.
 
Thats what youre beginning to hear with Wie playing her third consecutive week, the most weeks she has played in a row on the LPGA since she began teeing it up with pros in 2002.
 
With the exempt privileges she won at LPGA Q-School last winter, Wie gained more access to the tour than shes ever had before. When she plays the State Farm Classic in her next outing in two weeks, it will be her eighth LPGA appearance this season, equaling the most she has played in a single season.
 
Slowly, this increased exposure is allowing Wies colleagues to begin to breach the protective wall thats kept outsiders at a distance.
 
Players with that whole iconic thing going on can be a bit of an enigma, said Val Skinner, a six-time LPGA winner and Golf Channel analyst who followed Wies group on Thursday. But theyre still people. They still need friends out here. I think that will be an important part of Michelles growth. The other thing is that the more comfortable she feels out here, the more its going to help her to win.
 
After a sluggish start with a 1-over-par 73, Wie rebounded with a 67 Friday, but it will take a monumental effort if shes going to break through for her first victory at Corning with the leaders running away. Still, there is progress on other fronts. Theres increasing connection with fellow players and more time finding her place in the regular rhythm of tour life.
 
The frost is coming off some relationships.
 
The best example of that is Morgan Pressel, the fourth-year pro who was once so at odds with the way Wie snubbed the junior ranks and then the LPGA to pursue her quest to play against men.
 
Morgan likes Michelle, said Herb Krickstein, Pressels grandfather.
 
Pressel and Wie were paired together in the third round of the J Golf Phoenix LPGA International last month.
 
Ive enjoyed some conversation with Michelle this year, and Ive just gotten to know her better than I did, just because shes out here more, Pressel said. Shes a great girl.
 
Thats not an assessment you would have heard from Pressel when they were emerging on the national scene together on such different paths.
 
Its definitely been different since shes been out here this year, said Pressel, 21. I wouldnt say there was tension when she was out here before, its just that a lot of girls didnt know her. When shes only playing six or seven events, and doesnt spend a lot of time in the locker room or the dining area and stays to herself, its a little different.
 
Thats not to say Wie, 19, is suddenly a social butterfly. She isnt. Theres still often awkward separation in her status and circumstance.
 
In Fortune Magazines list of The Top 10 Endorsement Superstars in professional sports in 2007, Wie ranked fifth with an estimated $19.5 million in endorsements. She ranked ahead of Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant and trailed only Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, LeBron James and Dale Earnhardt. Today, Golf Digest estimates Wies total endorsement worth at about $12.5 million annually.
 
That makes Wies life different.
 
Theres a lot that goes on around her with her entourage, Pressel said.
 
That would mostly be Wies parents, B.J. and Bo, who remain an almost constant presence in their daughters life.
 
The couple watches almost every shot Wie takes, in tournament rounds, pro-ams and even practice. Where sympathetic eyes see loving devotion, suspicious eyes see border-patrol officers regulating movement.
 
I dont think people understand how a certain part of it is very cultural, says IMGs Nickole Raymond, Wies manager.
 
Raymond sees what others dont, Wies evolving as a person and player who will eventually find her own independent path.
 
Michelle is only 19, Raymond said. She is a rookie who can be a little shy and intimidated with other players, but when she opens up, people will see theres a cute, fun and smart girl inside.
 
While Wie speaks often about how close she is to her childhood friends in Hawaii, Raymond sees new friendships forming on tour.
 
Jeehae Lee may be Wies closest friend in the LPGA ranks. Lee is 25, a fellow rookie with big sister credentials. She was born in Korea and moved to Agoura Hills, Calif., when she was 13. Shes a Yale graduate with a degree in economics.
 
Lee lives in ChampionsGate in Orlando, Fla., where she first met Wie, who also has a place there.
 
Coming through Q-School in December, the experience tightened their bond. So have numerous practice rounds together.
 
In the past, Michelle would show up for one tournament and not interact with anyone, thats what I would hear, Lee said. I dont think shes out here to make friends, but I think its important to her to be liked. I think shes beginning to feel more and more comfortable with everyone, and she is finding her place out here. Michelle is a sweet person and really funny. Everyone who has gotten to know her on a personal level realizes how sweet she is. Ask every single person who really knows her, they like her.
 
Wie says having the freedom to play more often helps.
 
All the players have been really nice to me, and getting to play every week has been a lot of fun, Wie said.
 
Count third-year pro Irene Cho as another friend to Wie on tour. Cho joined Lee, Wie, Raymond and Wies caddie, Gary Matthews, for dinner Tuesday night at the Corning Classic with no parents in sight.
 
Most of the time, Michelle is with her parents, but she gets time to herself here and there, Lee said. Michelle and I have things in common. We understand each others family situations, her parents and my parents. I sympathize with her. She doesnt have problems with her parents, but they can get to be overbearing, and I understand that.
 
Lee says people shouldnt overlook the benefit Wies strong relationship with her parents brings, but as there is with all teens growing into adulthood, there are issues of independence.
 
Thats not specific to Korean culture, a lot of parents are over-protective, Lee said. For somebody whos been so protected by her parents, she wants this life for herself, just as badly. She will thrive even without her parents. I think she is going to do great things.
 
Lee said Wie has matured quickly in the limelight.
 
After she went through Q-School, shes like, `I feel like I really belong here now. She really appreciated the fact that she got her card and she really does cherish it as much as anyone else out here, Lee said. Michelles been playing a long time, and shes had her ups and downs and she feels pressure like everyone else and she makes mistakes like everyone else. I feel like she deserves to be cut a little break. Shes obviously a tremendously talented person with a huge amount of potential she hasnt realized yet.
 
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    Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

    By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

    Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

    The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

    Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

    Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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    Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

    Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

    Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

    Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

    4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

    4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

    4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

    4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

    4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

    5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

    5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

    5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

    5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

    5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

    6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

    6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

    6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

    6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

    6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

    6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

    7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

    7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

    7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

    7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

    7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

    7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

    8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

    8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

    8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

    8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

    8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

    8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

    9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

    9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

    9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

    9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

    9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

    10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

    10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

    10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

    10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

    10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

    10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

    11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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    Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

    He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

    “There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

    Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

    “I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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    Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

    Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

    Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

    “I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

    Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

    “It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

    More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

    “I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”