Final Thoughts On Wie's Quest
1. Great for the game of golf. Lots of hits to lots of websites that were tracking her progess, shot by shot. Raise your hand if you didn’t check out something else on the USGA, SI, PGA Tour, or Golf Channel sites. I know that I did.
2. Wie simply cannot putt really fast greens. This is the area where I agree that her avoidance of a ladder-style tournament evolution has hurt her. Had she learned to make pressure putts on slow, junior golf greens, she would then have transitioned to faster, women’s am greens, then to LPGA greens, then to PGA Tour greens. As it is now, she is putting a greater variety of speeds than any other golfer on planet Earth.
3. Rick Hartmann and David Gossett must be pissed! You know they would have made it if they were paired with anyone else.
4. I’m disappointed with our readership. No one has commented on anyone’s non-Wie blogs, valid as they are. Didn’t you see the St. Andrews Salvation one? No? How about the No-Name Open Qualifiers chapter? No? Kohler installment, anyone? Fine. Take a look and say ANYTHING!
5. Unless lightning strikes, she will not win at Bulle Rock. I don’t see her putting up to the task. I do, however, think she will make the cut at the John Deere classic this summer.
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Also, this course is suited to long hitters so I think that gives her an advantage.
She has also played very well down the stretch in the first 2 lpga tournaments of the year. So I expect her to do well and she could very well win it.
I agree though--putting is her achilles' heel and is something she has got to fix to win. But hey, she's still in high school--I think you have to wait until she plays regularly on the tour before making a determination on her future.
Knapp is a female, which fits part of your template. But, Herr Mon, Ms. Knapp is also a Caucasian. Still, Herr Mon, you will perhaps find wisdom in what Knapp, a full-time sports writer, has to say, about Michelle Wie's inability to win.
This is essentially what the Wie skeptics have been saying for some time: For whatever reason, Wie does not know how to close out a tournament. What's more, the best way for her to do it is to focus as much as possible on the LPGA.
By doing so, Wie could figure out a way to win on the LPGA consistently.
Hell, how about just win once?
When Wie goes awry, why is it a surprise?
By Gwen Knapp
During a streak of three bogeys late in the day, Michelle Wie missed two ridiculously short putts, and commentators missed the point by a mile.
"Shocking,'' one of them said, watching the replay of a 2-foot putt skimming over the hole.
"This wouldn't happen in a tournament,'' another said. "It's the pressure of being in a qualifier.''
They don't know her at all.
Wie tried to make history at Canoe Brook Country Club in New Jersey on Monday. Instead, she repeated a pattern. She played superbly for most of the event, making big shots and big statements, and then she faltered badly, as if a switch went off in her head just as her goal started looking attainable.
The same thing happened to Wie in the final round of the U.S. Women's Open last year.
The same thing happened as she tried to make the cut at the John Deere Classic last summer.
Something similar happened at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, where she led by a stroke with five holes to play and ended up in a tie for third.
Overall, she played a great final round at the Nabisco, but Wie plays a lot of spectacular golf. Did you see that 60-foot chip shot for birdie on the 18th hole of her first round Monday? Amazing.
At that point, she was 2-under, tied for 11th in a field of 152 men and one 16-year-old girl in dangly earrings. The top 18 finishers at the sectional qualifying tournament would advance to the men's U.S. Open.
Wie looked like a sure thing to become the first female to reach the Open event -- maybe not this year, but certainly someday. Even as she bogeyed away the 2006 Open berth on her back nine, she made believers out of more people than ever.
But Wie hasn't made herself into a champion. She doesn't know how to finish unflappably, to summon all her skill in a final round. Wie could be the next Tiger Woods, but for now, she is the Sasha Cohen of golf.
It seems impossible that Cohen, the greatest combination of style and athleticism that women's figure skating has ever seen, has never won a world championship, much less an Olympic gold medal. But her mind always gets in the way, tripping up her feet, usually in the long program, the final part of a competition. She, too, couldn't finish.
It's not fashionable to point out this flaw in Wie's game, or to suggest that she should play exclusively among the women for a while so she can toughen up by competing for victories, not PGA cuts or berths in a men's major. When women players say it, they are called petty and jealous. When men say it, they risk being seen as sexist and chicken.
Whatever their motives, the point remains valid. Wie hasn't won a tournament in three years. Yes, she is only 16, and yes, many people believe that she can compete with men better than Woods could at the same age. But Woods spent his youth winning six junior world titles and three U.S. Junior Amateur Opens. He learned how to take a lead and hold it, which is how he made the transition from prodigy to great champion.
Wie already has more mental strength than one should expect from a teenager. She handles celebrity with aplomb and accepts disappointment with grace, an important asset for an athlete who aims so high. She has said many, many times that she doesn't care what other people think, and she says it blithely, not stubbornly. That fearlessness will serve her well.
But in golf, more than almost any other sport, the mind has to be trained and shaped for victory through experience. In baseball or basketball, a player who gets into a groove can pretty much count on staying there for a while. On a golf course, there is no such thing as cruise control. Three straight birdies raise the question: When will this end? A 2-stroke lead sits like mayonnaise in the sun, just waiting to go rancid.
Wie hasn't developed the toughness that embraces the haunting quality of leading a tournament on Sunday afternoon. If she never does, the sport will be poorer for her failure to progress. That may seem inconceivable, but who could have imagined that David Duval would fall off the PGA map? This is a cruel sport, and it could swallow Wie's potential just as easily.
Would it hurt her to bypass men's events until she turns 20? Or to play just one a year until then?
Wie has already made one men's cut, albeit in South Korea, and she has proven that she belongs on the same course with men. Competing on the PGA isn't her big battle now. She has a much bigger fight with late-round jitters and short-putt bogeys and, above all, with herself.
Not enough though, to spend 20 minutes or so reading it.
I've got another theory to Michelle's putting woes. Her family has two homes; Hawaii and Palm Desert. Both of these areas have basically a single type of grass on their greens; bermuda. Most golf tournaments that she plays will be either on bent or poa annua.
I play almost exclusively on bent and poa annua. I struggle quite a bit on fast bermuda greens. Just about anyone can putt slow bermuda greens.
One other thing. Quick name 4 female amateur tournaments. I bet you couldn't. Next, name one of the top 5 ranked female amateur golfers (that aren't juniors) in the country. There is no female amateur circuit, it is the reason that all of the top-ranked juniors turn pro when they are 18.
There is junior golf and pro golf if you are really good. If you can compete as a pro, there's really no reason to be a junior. Especially if you live in Hawaii.
Comment from: Johnny N. [Visitor]
Wow, I wonder what George wrote about.
Not enough though, to spend 20 minutes or so reading it.
sometimes, this job is just too easy. ;)
But I'll go for the hanging slider:
Next time, Johnny, I'll attach a PDF of a coloring book for you. One without words.
Gwen Knapp tends to ramble, but it's a balanced essay, actually more positive than negative, citing Wie's obvious flaws that she needs to get past.
She wrote a better column about Wie, Danica, and people like George called "The Yahoos Seem to be Waning":
I like the Danica comparison. I also like the grass-ionado theory. I think that Gwen Stefani (or whatever her name is) is wrong to suggest that Wie wait until she is 20. Part of Annika's reason for not playing more guys' events is precisely that she did not grow up doing it; much like second language acquisition, the earlier, the better, in terms of growing accustomed.
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