Wie's scars define her journey

By Randall MellApril 20, 2014, 5:18 am

Michelle Wie’s scars are something to behold now.

They are a road map marking her journey to redemption and rebirth.

They tell the story of her gritty victory Saturday night at the Lotte Championship better than any scorecard could.

Wie didn’t get to this trophy with the strut of an invincible phenom destined to change the game. She won this trophy with the resolve of a bloodied boxer getting up off the mat after refusing to be counted out. She punched her way to her first win in nearly four years with might mustered from lessons learned in so much disappointment and failure.

“I’m so happy, I can’t think straight,” Wie said after coming from four shots behind in the final round to win in front of hometown friends and fans in Hawaii. “It’s a dream come true.”

At 24, Wie isn’t the same player who stormed onto the women’s stage as a 13-year-old with a game big enough to contend in majors. She isn’t the child prodigy so many despised as entitled because they believed she reaped rewards that weren’t rightly earned. She isn’t the can’t-miss kid resented for taking shortcuts to fame, either. No, she’s the comeback kid now, the veteran who persevered through swoons and slumps to keep a dying dream alive.

LPGA Lotte Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Wie’s earning every accolade she’s receiving now. That’s what her scars tell us. She is the broken player who put herself back together. That’s her story now. It’s a tale so many more folks outside her native Hawaiian home can embrace.

“I think she has come full circle, to the point where I think this is like a second coming for her, a rebirth,” David Leadbetter told GolfChannel.com two weeks ago at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, where Wie’s runner-up finish marked her best performance in a major.

With her brilliant charge Saturday, Wie rekindled the excitement she first brought to golf as a phenom. She reignited hope she can build on this victory because so many within the game believe Wie is still capable of lifting the LPGA’s profile more than any other player.

“I think I definitely will have more confidence now,” Wie said.

Wie’s win is just the third of her LPGA career, her first since she won the Canadian Women's Open late in 2010. She started the final round four shots behind Angela Stanford but erased the deficit before they reached the turn.

For Wie’s peers, the win is hardly a shocker.

“You knew it was going to happen, eventually,” Stanford said. “She’s been playing great.”

The week laid out perfectly for Wie. She was coming home to Hawaii with confidence and momentum after her runner-up finish to Lexi Thompson at the Kraft Nabisco. She was coming home to Ko Olina Golf Club, a course she grew up playing. She was coming home to a state eager to see her win in Hawaii for the first time as a pro.

“The support I felt from everyone was unbelievable,” Wie said. “I really think a lot of times they willed the ball in.”

With Thompson’s breakthrough win at the Kraft, there’s something special brewing in the women’s game. For many, Wie is still the player most capable of lifting the LPGA to another level, if she can build on this victory.

“It’s going to be such a happening, if it’s happening,” Hall of Famer Judy Rankin told Golf Channel viewers after Wie won the Lotte Championship.

Wie was so good, so early. She was No. 3 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings when they were first created. She was just 16 but ranked behind only No. 1 Annika Sorenstam and No. 2 Paula Creamer.

From ages 13 to 16, Wie played in 12 major championships and finished top-five in six of them.

Her fall was hard.

Though she made big news early competing against men on sponsor exemptions in PGA Tour events, the novelty wore off. She struggled against the men while resentments grew in the women’s game.

Through it all, there was escalating pressure, suffocating scrutiny and a failure to build on early promise. There was unrelenting criticism of her parents for their intense involvement in every facet of her game. Then there were injuries – a broken wrist, a severe ankle sprain and a bulging disc in her back.

In 2012, in a not-so triumphant recommitment to golf after graduating from Stanford, Wie missed 10 cuts in 23 starts and finished 64th on the money list.

Going into the Kraft Nabisco Championship a year ago, Sorenstam was bold enough to put words to what so many were thinking about Wie’s failed promise.

“What I see now is that the talent that we all thought would be there is not there,” Sorenstam said in a Golf Magazine interview.

When Wie left last year’s Kraft Nabisco, she was No. 88 in the world.

It’s all the failure that led to her slide, and all the hard work climbing back, that make Wie more appreciative of what so many hope really is her second coming. Her scars will forever define the journey.

Getty Images

Ryder Cup 101: A guide to this week's matches

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 24, 2018, 2:00 pm

Take a look at some answers to frequently asked questions about the Ryder Cup:

I keep reading about excitement building for the "Ryder Cup." I thought the end-of-season prize on the PGA Tour was the FedExCup. So what's the deal with this Ryder Cup? Is it sponsored by Ryder Trucks, like the FedExCup is sponsored by FedEx?

We'll answer your second question first. The "Ryder" in Ryder Cup has nothing to do with the trucking company. It's the surname of the man who originally conceived of the competition and donated the trophy, Samuel Ryder. An English businessman, he took up golf at age 50 and was hooked. He began sponsoring various competitions, and in that era (the 1920s), perhaps the biggest natural rivalry was between American and British players. So the Ryder Cup was conceived to pit U.S. vs. British pros. It was first played in 1927, and matches have continued to be held every two years (the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 resulted in the postponing of that year's Ryder Cup for a year and scheduling future matches in even-numbered years). 

And you didn't ask, but we should probably get to this ASAP. This year's Ryder Cup is being played Sept. 28-30 on the Albatros Course at Le Golf National in Guyancourt, a suburb of Paris. This will be the 42nd staging of the Ryder Cup. The U.S. leads the all-time series, 26-13-2.

 Wait, last time I checked, France wasn't part of the British Empire.

You are correct. The Ryder Cup, on the other hand, hasn't been the U.S. vs. Great Britain and Ireland for 39 years. Team GB&I was expanded to Europe in 1979. The idea, promoted chiefly by Jack Nicklaus, was designed to a) make the competition more competitive (at the time, the U.S. led the series, 18-3-1), and b) make one of the most dynamic players of the era, Spain's Seve Ballesteros, eligible.

How'd that work out?

For the Euros, extremely well. Since 1979, their record is 10-8-1. Ballesteros became one of the greatest Ryder Cup players ever, going 20-12-5 in eight Ryder Cup appearances. He later served as captain of the European team in 1997 (they won).

OK, so we've got U.S. vs. Europe. But who plays? How are they picked?

Both sides have similar - but not exact models for assembling their team. For the U.S., eight players automatically qualify from their positions on a points list. For the 2018 Ryder Cup, points are earned in tournaments played in 2017 and 2018. The 2017 tournaments are the four majors plus The Players Championship plus the four World Golf Championships (WGC) events. The 2018 tournaments are all official events from the Tournament of Champions through The Northern Trust (the last official event of the PGA Tour's 2017-18 "regular season"). However, events played opposite major championships and World Golf Championships do not award points. For this Ryder Cup, the eight automatic U.S. qualifiers are Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson.

Team Europe picks its automatic qualifiers through two different points lists. One is the 2018 Race to Dubai rankings (sort of the European version of the PGA Tour's FedExCup points race). The top four players on that list qualify for the European team. The other four automatic qualifiers are the top four European players (not already qualified) from the Official World Golf Ranking.

Both teams filled out their 12-man rosters with four captain's picks. Current U.S. captain Jim Furyk announced three of his choices following the Dell Technologies Championship on Sept. 3: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau. Furyk's final selection, announced after the BMW Championship on Sept. 9, was Tony Finau.

Europe captain Thomas Bjorn picked Paul Casey, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson on Sept. 5 to round out his team.

So we've got two 12-man teams. What's the schedule?

The first two days are dedicated to team play. Each day will have a morning session and an afternoon session, with four matches pitting two-man teams against each other in each session. On Friday and Saturday the morning session will consist of fourballs (better ball) and the afternoon session will consist of foursomes (alternate shot).

How exactly do better-ball and alternate-shot matches work?

The concepts are pretty simple. Better ball: I play my ball and you play yours. Whichever one of us makes the lower score on the hole, that's our team score for that hole. And if we tie, well, that's our score. Alternate shot: You and I are a team. I tee off. You hit the next shot. I hit the next and so on until we're in the hole. We alternate hitting tee shots, with me leading off on odd-numbered holes, and you hitting first on even-numbered holes. In both formats, we're playing match play, so overall scoring is done by holes, not strokes. Matches last until one team does not have enough remaining holes to catch up.

If we defeat our European opponents, it doesn't matter if we did it by winning just one more hole than them (1 up), or shut them out (10 and 8), it's just one point for the U.S. team. Tied matches are worth a half-point for each side.

What does 10 and 8 mean?

It means we won the first 10 holes of the match. Since there are only eight holes left in a standard 18-hole round, the best our opponents could do is win those eight holes. So the match is stopped after the 10th hole and we win, 10 and 8. That almost never happens, by the way.

So there are eight matches on Friday and eight more on Saturday. What about Sunday?

That's when everbody plays singles - 12 singles matches.

Twelve, huh? Well, that brings up a question: In each of the team sessions there are four matches, which means only eight guys can play. What about the other four?

Just as in any other team sport, they sit on the "bench" and cheer their teammates on. Picking which guys to play and which to sit is one of a captain's main responsibilities, along with choosing who plays with who.



It should be "who plays with whom."

Fine. Whatever. You got anymore real questions?

As a matter of fact, I do. How many points do you need to win?

Well, 16 team matches and 12 singles equals 28 total points, so 14 1/2. But there is a caveat.


Whichever team won the previous Ryder Cup and thus holds the cup can retain it with a tie. The U.S. is the current cup-holder, so it needs only 14 points to retain the cup.

Let's get back to who plays with whom. What about who plays AGAINST whom? Do the captains know the other team's lineup?

No. The "lineups" have to be turned in to Ryder Cup rules officials by a certain deadline before the matches begin. For Friday's morning matches, for instance, the deadline is 4:15 p.m. Thursday. For Friday afternoon matches, it's 1:05 p.m. Friday. For Saturday morning matches, the deadline is one hour after Friday play concludes. For Saturday afternoon matches, it's 1:05 p.m. Saturday.

For Sunday singles, the deadline is one hour after play on Saturday. Each captain is also required, by the same deadline, to put the name of one player in a sealed envelope. That player will not play if a player on the opposing team is injured and cannot play.

Neither side knows what the other side’s pairings or teams are until they are sent out from the rules office about five minutes after the above-stated times.

Last question: When and where is this all on TV?

Good last question. TV coverage will begin Thursday with the Opening Ceremony from 11 a.m. to noon on Golf Channel. (All times listed are Eastern.) On Friday, coverage will run from 2 a.m. - yes, 2 a.m. - to 1 p.m. on Golf Channel. Saturday's coverage is from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. on Golf Channel, then it shifts over to NBC from 3 a.m. to 1 p.m. On Sunday, the coverage is all on NBC, from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Getty Images

How to watch the Ryder Cup on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 24, 2018, 1:00 pm

You want to watch the 42nd Ryder Cup? Here’s how you can do it.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising nearly 30 hours of live action of the biennial matches, as well as "Live From" coverage.

Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Click here for our Ryder Cup 101, which explains everything you need to know about the matches.

(All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports)

Tuesday, Sept. 25

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From the Ryder Cup (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Wednesday, Sept. 26

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From the Ryder Cup (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Thursday, Sept. 27

GC: 6-11AM: Live From the Ryder Cup (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

GC: 11AM-1PM: Ryder Cup opening ceremony (www.golfchannel.com/rydercupstream)

Friday, Sept. 28

GC: Midnight-2AM: Live From the Ryder Cup (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

GC: 2AM-1PM: Ryder Cup, Day 1 (www.golfchannel.com/rydercupstream)

GC: 1-3PM: Live From the Ryder Cup (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Saturday, Sept. 29

GC: Midnight-2AM: Live From the Ryder Cup (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

GC: 2-3AM: Ryder Cup, Day 2 (www.golfchannel.com/tourstream)

NBC: 3AM-1PM: Ryder Cup, Day 2 (www.golfchannel.com/rydercupstream)

GC: 1-3PM: Live From the Ryder Cup (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Sunday, Sept. 30

GC: 4-6AM: Live From the Ryder Cup (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

NBC: 6AM-1PM: Ryder Cup, Day 3 (www.golfchannel.com/rydercupstream)

GC: 1-3PM: Live From the Ryder Cup (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Getty Images

What's in the Bag: Tour Championship winner Woods

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 24, 2018, 12:48 pm

Tiger Woods won his 80th career title on Sunday at the Tour Championship. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: TaylorMade M3 (9.5 degrees)

Fairway Woods: TaylorMade M3 (13 degrees), M1 2017 (19 degrees)

Irons: TaylorMade TW Phase 1 prototype (3-PW)

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (56, 60 degrees)

Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS

Ball: Bridgestone Tour B XS

Getty Images

Chamblee: Europe should be Ryder Cup favorites

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 24, 2018, 12:00 pm

After months of anticipation, the Ryder Cup is finally here. And while the United States is favored to take home the trophy in Europe for the first time in 25 years, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee believes it's not quite that simple.

Appearing on a recent edition of the Golf Channel podcast, Chamblee laid out his reasoning for why Europe, not the U.S., deserves to be favored heading into this week's matches outside Paris. Chief among his arguments is that unlike other recent Ryder Cup venues, Le Golf National will put a premium on driving - an area where the Americans are sorely lacking.

Chamblee also discusses his recent column about how Jim Furyk will need to handle two notable captain's picks in Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Seen as two of the best American players of all time, Woods and Mickelson have gone an eye-popping 1-6 in Ryder Cups when they've both been on the team, winning only in 1999 by the thinnest of margins and enduring an embarrassing defeat in 2004 when paired together early in the week.

Other topics include Chamblee's expectations for how the U.S. pairings might shake out, which European rookie is poised for a breakout performance and why the foursome sessions will be critical to any chances the Americans have to retain the trophy abroad.

Chamblee also takes time to discuss the continued success of Woods, who is coming off a breakthrough victory at the Tour Championship and who, in the eyes of Chamblee, was poised to be the Americans' most valuable player even before the final putt dropped at East Lake.

Listen below to this Ryder Cup edition of the podcast, and click here to subscribe for future episodes.