Wie inspired playing alongside Ko at Kraft

By Randall MellApril 5, 2013, 1:55 am

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Lydia Ko says she idolized Michelle Wie growing up, but she turned this relationship upside down in their pairing Thursday at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

It was the 15-year-old Ko inspiring the 23-year-old Wie in the first round.

Ko’s youthful bliss was in some ways like an astrophysical gift to Wie, a magic ticket to the past and the feelings that came at the start of Wie’s own run as a phenom at Mission Hills’ Dinah Shore Course.

Wie opened with an even-par 72, equaling Ko in the start to the year’s first major. They’re just four shots off the lead.

While Wie did not go as low as she did in some of her youthful blitzes on this course, Thursday was a promising show of improved form. Wie arrived this week having missed the cut in all three full-field events she has played this season. She arrived under a growing cloud of doubt over whether she will ever fulfill the great promise she generated in this event. She also arrived determined to turn her game around.

“Puts me back on memory lane,” Wie said of the Ko pairing. “You kind of have to play like when I was 13, just kind of go out there and really just be in awe of everything.

“When I was 13, I was like, 'Wow, I can’t believe I’m here.' So, I tried to bring that feeling a little bit and just feel lucky that I’m here.”


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Wie was encouraged because her 72 felt as if it could have been so much better.

“Two stupid mistakes on the back nine, but it feels good,” Wie said. “It feels good to show I could have shot 66 out here, and it feels good to know I left a lot of birdie chances out there. I’m just excited for tomorrow. I just can’t wait to get out there and make some birdies.”

Wie tied for ninth in her first appearance at Kraft Nabisco when she was 13. She made news around the world becoming the youngest player to make a cut in an LPGA event, and then she made bigger news tearing up the Dinah Shore Course in the third round. She shrunk the layout with monster drives on her way to a 66 that Saturday. Stunningly, the effort earned her a spot in the final Sunday pairing with Patricia Meunier-Lebouc and Annika Sorenstam, the game’s most dominant player.

While Wie faded that Sunday and Meunier-Lebouc won, Wie’s star was blinding in so many ways. She would finish fourth at Kraft Nabisco as a 14-year-old and tie for third in the championship as a 16-year-old.

This is the event where Wie most fueled speculation she would eventually dominate the women’s game.

Wie, of course, has struggled as skepticism grows that she will never reach the grand heights projected.

That was reinforced with Thursday’s release of a Sorenstam interview in Golf Magazine’s newest edition.

“What I see now is that the talent we all thought was there is not there,” Sorenstam said in the Q&A.

Wie said after Thursday’s round that Sorenstam apologized to her Wednesday night.

“She actually reached out to me last night, said a couple things got misquoted, and I thought it was really nice of her to reach out to me,” Wie said. “She apologized for what she said, and I accept it, and that’s that.”

If Wie is going to find old magic, this venue would seem the fitting place.

“I had such an amazing experience playing here as an amateur,” Wie said. “I think it’s why Kraft is so special, because it gives amateurs these opportunities to play with pros, and it just brought me back to memory lane a little bit.”

Those teen phenom years seem so long ago in Wie’s career. In the first release of the Rolex Women’s World Rankings in 2006, Wie was No. 3. She was 16 years old.

Wie is sinking fast in those rankings. She’s 86th in the world today. Last year, she missed 10 cuts, winning just $158,546 and falling to No. 64 on the LPGA money list.

Injuries, chasing a dream to compete against the world’s best men, devoting herself to gaining a degree from Stanford, too much parental influence – they’ve all been blamed for Wie’s struggles. So has Wie’s unending battle with her putter.

Frustrated on the greens, Wie went to a unusual putting stance late last year where she is dramatically hunched over at the waist. She putts with her upper body parallel to the ground. Her arms are raked in tight to her sides. She said she was inspired by the notion that Ai Miyazato and Jiyai Shin are such good putters, and they’re both so short, so close to the ground. Still, Wie’s crazy contortion has puzzled the most respected observers of the game.

“I'll be as candid as I can be,” Hall of Famer Judy Rankin said. “I see nothing good about it.

“I don't think in that position a person can even clearly or comfortably see their line. I think it completely inhibits any freedom of movement, and it cannot possibly help your touch. And if I were advising her, I would tell her, enough with that experiment, let's do something that might be more productive.”

Wie’s pairing with Ko can’t help but make golf fans contrast and compare. Ko’s rise is even more remarkable than Wie’s. Ko won the U.S. Women’s Amateur last year and two weeks later became the youngest winner in the history of the LPGA claiming the CN Canadian Women’s Open at 15. She was still 15 when she became the youngest winner of a Ladies European Tour event this year.

“I guess a lot of people put us in comparison, but I don’t like to compare,” Wie said. “I think she’s really good on her own without having to compare her to me.”

Ko said playing with Wie is special.

“She’s my idol,” Ko said. “So, I was very excited.”

Wie seemed equally excited to have Ko’s youthful promise elevating Wie’s search for old magic.

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Woods: Fan who yelled had 'tipped back a few'

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 6:37 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods stood on the 18th tee and thought he needed birdie to have a chance to win The Open. He pulled driver out of his bag, a sign he wanted to boot the ball as far down the fairway as possible.

Woods took a mighty swat and - right in the middle of his downswing - someone yelled. Woods flinched.

Luckily his ball still found a decent spot just off the right of the fairway.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I’ve had things like that happen a lot in my career with people who just tried to time it,” Woods said Sunday at Carnoustie after shooting 71 to tie for sixth place. “They tipped back a few, and it’s late in the day.

“Unfortunately, that’s part of what we have to deal with in today’s game. People are trying to yell out things to try to be on TV or be in social media or whatever it may be. That was too close to the game of play.”

Woods hit his approach to 6 feet and missed the birdie putt. He tapped in for par to shoot even par and finish 5 under for the week, in a tie for sixth.

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Pros melt down on Twitter as they watch Tiger

By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 6:30 pm

Tiger Woods mounted a final-round charge and, for a little while, took the outright lead at Carnoustie on Sunday.

His fellow pros were watching and tweeting like your average fans.

We compiled some of their missives below:

Woods would go on to finish in a tie for sixth at 5 under par for the week.

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Woods shares emotional embrace with his kids

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 6:21 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods missed a birdie putt on the last hole that would’ve vaulted him into a tie for second place at The Open. It was a difficult way to end an otherwise successful week for the 14-time major champion, who is just happy to playing majors again.

Then he walked off the 18th, saw his two children, daughter Sam and son Charlie, and they all took a moment for a long embrace. Turns out, that was the perfect way to end the week.

“I told them I tried and I said, 'Hopefully you’re proud of your pops for trying as hard as I did,'” Woods said Sunday after putting the finishing touches on an even-par 71 to end at 5 under for the week.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“It’s pretty emotional because they gave me some pretty significant hugs there and squeezed. I know that they know how much this championship means to me and how much it feels good to be back playing again.”

In 2008, when Woods won his last major, the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, Sam was a year old and Charlie was not yet born. They don’t know how much their father used to dominate this game, especially majors. The last time Woods won a PGA Tour event was five full years ago. Woods has joked in the past that they only know him as a YouTube sensation.

“So, for them to understand what I was doing early in my career,” he said. “The only thing they’ve seen is my struggles and the pain I was going through. Now they just want to go play soccer with me. Man, it’s just such a great feeling.”

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TT postscript: Not a win, but an amazing week

By Tiger TrackerJuly 22, 2018, 6:04 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods had a chance to win his 15th major Sunday at The Open at Carnousite:

• Tiger shot 71-71-66-71 to finish at 5 under par and tie for sixth place.

• When Jordan Spieth and Xander Schauffele both bogeyed the fifth hole Tiger was in the solo lead. Amazing to think that only last September he said he never knew if he’d ever play golf again. Here he was, nine months later with a chance to win a fourth claret jug. Amazing.

• For 10 holes, Tiger was the calmest, coolest, most composed player on the golf course. Birdies at Nos. 4 and 6 looked easy, while most everyone else was struggling to make par.

• To me, the biggest mistake of the week, and certainly of the final round, was Tiger’s decision to get cute and hit a flop shot up and over a bunker into the 11th hole. It checked up and rolled back down and off the green. He failed to get up and down and made double bogey. If he’d have pitched the ball 12-15 past the hole he’d had have a chance to save par and would’ve made no worse than bogey.

• The double bogey felt worse when Tiger made bogey on the 12th hole. This two-hole stretch cost him three shots and he finished three shots off the lead.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


• Tiger moved to 50th in the Official World Golf Ranking, which qualifies him for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, which he has won eight times.

• One of the best moments of the week came after Tiger’s round when he gave his kids, daughter Sam and son Charlie, long hugs. Tiger said it was especially emotional because both kids knew how much this week meant to their old man. They had only seen Tiger struggle; it was great for them to see his success.

• Tiger: “Today I did everything the way I thought I needed to do it to win the championship. This entire week, I felt like I needed to keep building my way into this championship. It's one of those where, as I said earlier in the week, it's going to be 10, 12 guys with a chance to win it on Sunday because we're all driving the same areas. Kind of turned out that way. There are a bunch of guys packed, a bunch of guys with a chance to win, and I was one of them.”

• Overall, an amazing week. Truly tremendous to watch.