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Leadbetter happy with Wie joining Vision 54 program

Michelle Wie
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Michelle Wie met with swing coach David Leadbetter early last week at ChampionsGate in Orlando in a bid to get her game back in form.

Wie also is now working with Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott and the Vision 54 program.

Leadbetter believes it will be a good complement to work he’s doing with her swing.

Wie, who has missed four consecutive cuts, opens the Sybase Match Play Championship Thursday against Mina Harigae. Wie, who was No. 3 in the debut of the Rolex Women’s World Rankings in 2006, has slipped to No. 29. Harigae is No. 83.

“Michelle has all the talent in the world, and she has the desire,” Leadbetter said. “She striped when we were together last week. She was hitting it nicely. I think it’s just a matter of getting confidence back.”

Leadbetter said Wie’s putting woes appear more a “mental issue” than a physical one. Nilsson’s and Marriott’s methods focus on the “mental, emotional and spiritual” dimensions of the game as well as the technical.

“We’ve just really got started with Michelle, and it’s been a lot of fun,” Nilsson said. “Putting is one of the areas she has not been happy with, and so it’s something we talked about right from the start.”

Wie first approached Vision 54 after missing the cut at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

“We are comfortable working with players who have great swing coaches,” Nilsson said.

Nilsson’s most famous student was Annika Sorenstam, but Ai Miyazato, Na Yeon Choi and Brittany Lincicome are among her students.

“Michelle’s putting stroke isn’t yippy,” Leadbetter said. “I think it’s more a mental issue.”

Wie went to see short-game guru Stan Utley earlier this year to work on her putting. She has also worked with Dave Stockton and Dave Pelz over the last three years.

“Michelle’s a tinkerer,” Leadbetter said. “She changes putters, she changes her grip.”

Leadbetter has advised Wie not to tinker so much, to find a putting stroke and routine and commit to it. She went to the belly putter last summer but ditched it at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in late March. She has been putting with a conventional putter and grip since and is expected to stay with it this week at the Sybase Match Play.