Michelle Wie at the Fields Open
Aloha from the Fields Open on sunny Oahu. Or at least it’s sunny for the time being. I hear tell there’ll be some rain coming our way in the next couple of days.
There’s plenty of goings-on here at the Fields Open–Michelle Wie making her 2006 LPGA debut, Morgan Pressel, Wie, and Paula Creamer meeting head to head, with cash money on the line this time. It all makes for one thing–media–and lots of it. At least, for Wie, Pressel, and Creamer–even with the press boycott, they’re still getting plenty of press.
Lorena Ochoa, who’s currently leading at 8 under, found herself giving a post-round press conference today to an empty room. She played an awesome round–7 birdies and an eagle. But if a tree falls in the forest, etc. etc.
But there’s a big plus to all the Wie hype. And that’s the other thing, besides media, that Wie brings to the table–little girls.
Little girls are everywhere at this tournament. Looking for autographs, following Michelle. I talked to one little girl wearing a “Go Michelle” button today. “We try to see Michelle Wie play every chance we get,” her daddy explained to me. “Do you play?” I asked her. “Oh yeah!” she answered. The Michelle Wie button was on her shirt, and golf shoes were on her feet.
So what will all those girls grow up to be? Golfers. If you think golf’s “youth movement” is a big deal today, take another look in about ten years.
Catch the Fields Open on The Golf Channel, 6:30 to 9 pm Eastern, today through Saturday.
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I hope Florida has some "Go Morgan" buttons, and California has "Creamer Forever" buttons. That a lot of little girls decide to be the best at what they chose to do...and that a lot of little boys get tired of being beaten by the little girls and dig down to find out what they are really capable of too.
Otherwise this is all just ripping holes in an otherwise perfect lawn.
Hopefully, they can work it out.
I'm glad Michelle played well enough to be in the Top 5.
She usually does really bad in the first round then rallies the next day. I'm glad she actually got a great first round.
Creamer had a bad day- no big deal but she probably won't win unless everyone makes mistakes in the Top 10 and she has an ungodly round today. She's in 63rd place.
By the way Jennifer--I've also noticed that a lot of little girls really look up to Michelle. There was a great article about all the young girls following her around when she was at the Women's British Open last year.
This is Michelle Wie's first full field lpga pro debut. That's probably what Jennifer meant to say.
The Samsung is an exclusive event with only 17 players or so.
The important thing here is that Wie is in good contention after the first round.
If she had done what Paula Creamer did, I think Chris Baldwin would have written a blog about it at this stage.
People are wondering why she is at level par.
Well, on this website, before the lpga season begun, I had informed you of how Paula was working on lengthening her driving.
For all those people who were snivelling and mocking, perhaps you would like to know that Paula Creamer averaged 292 yards in her first round.
There was plenty of activity on these blogs when Wie averaged 286 yards at the Sony.
So Paula has lengthened her driving. Of course it will take some time for her game to adjust, but Paula won't be unduly worried, because she knows that when Annika starts playing, that is when she wants to be playing at her best.
This development also should start some of you to recognise that Paula Creamer will probably dominate the pga tour in about 10 years time, just like she can dominate the lpga tour in 2 years or so.
I noticed the 292 yards for Paula Creamer, but I also noticed 322 yards for Brittany Lang--and, of course, the LPGA does not believe in providing the numbers for Michelle Wie.
I was a little surprised that her drives mostly matched those of her playing partners, Yokomine and Blomqvist. There wasn't a huge discrepancy between the three ladies' drives yesterday. I think Michelle is playing somewhat conservatively for now.
When she pulled her driver out on the range, the ball actually flew right past the end line and into the trees. It was an impressive sight.
It looks like on most of her par four holes she pulled out a Pitching Wedge or a 52 degree wedge for her second shots. I guess that she placed her first shot between the 100 and 150 yard markers on most holes for placement. That would confirm your driving estimate Jennifer.
On the par 5 holes it looked like she used a Sand Wedge for a third shot on some of them, so she didn't make all of them in two, yet she had a two birdies and an eagle on three of them.
Now that she has shaken off the rust and had a very rare solid first round, I expect Michelle will let loose today with the driver and hopefully go real low. The is after all the course she has carded the most rounds on in her short life.
Hey it is good to see Tarik (Ronnie) is back to defend Paula's honor and promote her golf skills.
She had 2 birdies, 1 par and 1 bogey. She had no eagles in her round.
That is just -1 for the 4 par 5s and I certainly expect that to improve. Like you I think she should do very well on the par 5s in particular.
Is this tournament only 3 rounds or will they be having Rounds 3 and 4 back to back tomorrow?
Never mind--I just heard on the Golf Channel its a 54 hole tournament..
Sure she plays this course weekly, but not THIS course. 51 weeks out of the year Ko Olina is a resort with the holes all nicely placed to make the Haoles (Hawai'ian for tourist) feel comfortable.
Suddenly this week they have the holes cut everywhere except in the side of the bunkers. The approach angles are all different, the "sweet spots" on the fairways move to compensate and suddenly its like seeing your sweet matronly aunt come out wearing spike heels, leather and brass knuckles. You know its her, but you don't know how to react to what you're seeing.
Michelle seems to be playing tentatively especially on the par 5's. Laying up when she needs to be blasting, or else blasting into exactly the wrong lie.
Any of the pro's out there (of which I am not one) care to comment? Have you experienced the difference in a tournament set up vs. the "regular" layout? Is there anything to this line of reasoning? Or am I all wet?
Some days you have it and some days you don't, that is the game of golf.
It is very much a coincidence, given all the publicity between these two girls.
Both hit 67, then 70.
Who will react better?
Who will get a better score and take a lead in the Jim Coulthard Pressel/Wie head to head competition?
A win looks unlikely, but maybe the company of Pressel will inspire Wie to play some great golf and go low. It should be interesting.
I think Ledbetter messed her swing up, she doesn't look nearly as fluid as last season. It looks like she developed a hitch on her downswing and she is forcing the clubhead back to square at impact.
Before her head would drift slightly back behind the ball with a great shoulder turn ala Tiger. Now her head is still and her shoulder turn is less.
She seems to avoid pulling the driver out much now and uses her three or five wood almost exclusively.
The thing is that she looks different than she did at the Sony Open, and I doubt Leadbetter could screw things up that much in just a month. Could be something physical like a stubbed toe or a blister, but it really looks to me like a confidence factor. She doesn't look like she believes in the swing, as if she just isn't sure where exactly where she wants the ball to go...and that will pretty much hose up a players game everytime.
Today will tell a lot. Bad swing habits won't go away during a tournament. Even minor physical factors probably won't change much overnight, but mental things can disappear (or re-appear) from one hole to the next.
If you want any kind of an analysis of Michelle from me, it is just that I think she lost some confidence in her putting, and especially in reading the speed and I think this loss of confidence just fed through to the rest of her game. I think if anything her swing is a little more compact than last year and should bring more benefit to her in time. She is also alledgedly working quite hard on physical training. I can tell you from experience that, as you work out more, and get stronger in various muscles, it does put your swing out a bit and needs some readjustments.
Morgan Pressel had a similar one. Paula Creamer had a much worse day yesterday. These things happen, and maybe we are all reading too much into Wie's swing.