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37 comments

Comment from: One-Putt [Visitor]
Somewhere around 134 starts and zero wins for Natalie's career. She should have played Junior Golf far longer so she would learn how to win.

Maybe Morgan could give her some advice on winning, drawing on her experience from competing in Junior Golf.

I also wonder if Nancy Lopez has any advice or words of wisdom for Natalie and her failure to close the deal one hundred and thirty four straight times. At least we have her 2007 calendar to look forward to, I think?

Natalie should not feel bad, there are many golfers on the LPGA tour who make a decent living and never win tournaments.
07/17/06 @ 15:24
Comment from: Jim COULTHARD [Visitor]
On a day when 5 players were 6 under par, Natalie Gulbis could have won by playing the final 8 holes in just 1 under par--but she could not do it. She also failed to birdie any of the three playoff holes. AND SHE LOST. This is her fifth season on the LPGA and she has never won.

On the other hand, Mi Hyun Kim overcame a two shot lead with 3 holes to go before gutting out a win in the playoff. Why didn't you write this blog about Mi Hyun Kim who not only won this week--but joined Annika, Karrie and Lorena in a tie for the most wins on Tour this year?
















07/17/06 @ 15:37
Comment from: JR [Visitor]
One-Putt... I guess you just have all of that pent up frustration from watching MW never win that you have to take it out on Natalie Gulbis. She shot 66 in the final, played well, just didn't win. and btw... Natalie has never been billed as the best golfer ever so your personal attack against her is coming out of left field.... grow up.
07/17/06 @ 15:43
Comment from: Shanks [Member] Email
So you're ragging on Gulbis for not shooting the lowest round of all 4 rounds of the tournament on Sunday when playing the last twosome, is that right? Just tying the low round of all 4 days of the tournament isn't good enough for you? No shame in that. She played great and just got beat.

And I thought I was very complimentary to Kim for the win. The reason the blog is partly about Gulbis is because it had a tie-in with Clarke - a popular golfer loses. (You did read the headline, right?)
07/17/06 @ 15:56
Comment from: Jim COULTHARD [Visitor]
You gave top billing to Gulbis. You explained why Clarke was a crowd favorite--but you gave no reasons for why Gulbis was a favorite. Is there some tie in between sympathy for a man whose wife is battling cancer and whatever the reason my be that the crowd was rooting for Natalie Gulbis rather than Mi Hyun Kim?

We could go with the pretty reason--Natalie Gulbis is the Anna Kournikova of ladies golf. We could go with the ugly reason--anti-Korean racism on the LPGA. We could go with the not so ugly reason and say the crowd was rooting for an American player. Whatever the reason you choose I can't avoid the thought that it was insulting to Darren Clarke to compare his situation with that of Natalie Gulbis.
07/17/06 @ 16:55
Comment from: Jim COULTHARD [Visitor]
I see no reason to get on anyone's case for not winning. But I will challenge you if you wnat to get on Michelle Wie's case and then give Natalie Gulbis a free pass.

It seems to me if you start the day tied for the lead and finish the round tied for the lead then you need to get in done in the playoff or you do not win the event. Natalie Gulbis did not get it done in the playoff and she did not win.

I do not consider this to be Natalie's finest performance. I believe that was back in March when she tied Michelle Wie at the Kraft. If I agree with you that she has a bright future, it has more to do with her Kraft performance than this one.

Would you say that Michelle Wie appears to also be one of those golfers, who upon getting her firt victory, will start winning with regularity because she is too good not to. And what does regularity mean--at least 50% of the time, at least 5% of the time, at least 2% of the time???

PS

I checked the latest Rolex Rankings. Se Ri Pak has 189.17 total points in 36 events compared to 209.17 for Michelle Wie in just 16. Even if we go with NORMAN's suggestion an award the LPGA points at a rate of 300 points for the win to just 60 for second instead of 100 and 60 Se Pak would have a total of 389.17 and after dividing by 36 she ould have 10.81 to Wie's 13.07.
07/17/06 @ 17:40
Comment from: George [Visitor]
So J. Coulthard:

All of a sudden winning and losing is important by your lights?

**AND SHE LOST.**

Maybe there is hope for you, if not for Wie Warriors such as Norman and 1-Putt.

Although you Wie Warriors really need to get your cover stories straight.

For some golfers, winning is not an important benchmark, only some sort of tormented and arcane ranking system.

But for other golfers, winning is the only standard.

So which standard are we supposed to use this week? Coach Vince Lombardi's standard? Or Coach B.J. Wie's standard?

-George
07/17/06 @ 20:42
Comment from: Randy Hebert [Visitor]
I wathched the final 2 rounds of both of these events. What a contrast in finishes. The Scottish Open was almost painful if you were rooting for Clarke or Bjorn. Edfors shot a great round and got in the clubhouse 2 hours before the final group with 13 under. You have to root for a guy like Clarke, and also hope Bjorn could excorsize a few demons but it wasn't to be. Both lost any momentum in the middle of the round.

The LPGA finsh at the Jamie Farr on the other hand was an exhibtion of good golf. Three 65's by the top 3 finishers.Lots of birdies and birdie oppurtunities on a wet course with no roll. Thats what makes what Mi Hyun did all the more impressive. Averaging only 220+ off the tee she was consistently putting for birdie and putting the pressure on Gublis. And also a nice finish by Creamer. Mi Hyun is the Korean version of Rosie Jones, in style and in the career she is putting together. 7 wins now. I think Rosie managed 15.

This week the British Open takes center stage. You know Tiger has to be the favorite as he usually is most majors. Phil doesn't have great history in this event. Ernie was striking the ball well last week but couldn't make a putt. I am going to go with a little bit of a longshot and pick Luke Donald. Whoever wins it, nothing beats watching a major played out.
07/17/06 @ 21:10
Comment from: Jim COULTHARD [Visitor]
GEORGE

I think Natalie Gulbis is improving and I would not be surprised if she wins soon. BUT if someone is going to ask where is the win with Michelle Wie, than I want that same question to be asked about other golfers who have never won.

I believe it is fair to look at things like good putting strokes that result in putts that lip out or burn the edge. But I don't want there to be one standard for Wie and another for other golfers.
07/17/06 @ 23:33
Comment from: One-Putt [Visitor]
I really enjoy chumming the thread to see what kind of hits I get. Anyone who has read my posts knows that I appreciate when a golfer plays their best win or lose. Natalie played her cute little ass off and lost out to some tough competition in a playoff. Her day will come if she keeps placing herself in a position to win.

Michelle does the same thing when she finishes high in the order and plays some fine golf to get there.



07/18/06 @ 02:45
Comment from: Shanks [Member] Email
Jim, it appears you are just looking for a fight, going so far as to drag out the the race card. Why? All the blog says is that Gulbis played very well but did not win. There was no terrible choking down the stretch as she made a great up&in on the missed green at 17. She made all of those ticklish 3-5 footers for par - no bogeys all day. I can find no fault in a player that shoots the low round of the tournament on Sunday when playing in the last group. As far as winning regularly, that could mean once a year. I can see her being able to do that for years to come.

The tie-in of the popularity of Clarke & Gulbis was not based on WHY they are popular with the crowds and fellow pros - only that they are. Don't shoot the messenger.
07/18/06 @ 08:03
Comment from: Dave Marrandette [Visitor]
Shanks, Maybe we'll get a delicious double treat when Clarke and Gulbis win their respective British Opens.
07/18/06 @ 08:40
Comment from: Stacy [Visitor]
Gulbis' defeat merely reinforces the statement, "Drive for show, putt for dough".
07/18/06 @ 10:16
Comment from: Jim COULTHARD [Visitor]
SHANKS

Gulbis couldn't get a birdie on any of her last 11 holes including the playoff holes. She may not have missed 3 to 5 foot putts, but she missed a 9 foot putt on a hole where Kim sank and 18 footer. Gulbis had a two shoot lead with 3 holes to play. Compare this to Michelle Wie at the Kraft when two players each shot eagles on the final hole, and Michelle Wie missed a birdie putt about the same length as the one Gulbis missed. Plenty of people seemed to take that event as evidence that Michelle Wie cannot win.

You have said that Gulbis played well bur just got beat. Wie supporters have been saying the same thing about Wie. And if we recognize that players can play well but get beaten by someone who happens to play a bit better that week--why the big objection if the world rankings put someone(Wie) with a lot of high finishes and no wins in 16 rated events ahead of someone with few top results and 1 win in 36(Se Ri Pak)?



07/18/06 @ 12:22
Comment from: Ford [Visitor]
Michelle Wie is not Natalie Gulbis. Michelle is held to a higher standard because she has been billed as the transcendent female golfer of our time. Able to hit the ball further then any woman alive(not true), possesing physical gifts most women will never have(true), Having talent that will one day not only enable her to dominate the women with ease, but also compete against tyhe men(not true). Wie fans, listen, especially you Jim, you can't have it both ways. Natalie Gulbis is a nice little player, true she has never won, but she is improving and will will soon. Comparing her to Natalie Gulbis is a result of their similar win totals (0), if Michelle doesn't like the comparison tell her to win something. If the criticism of Michelle is getting too tough, then tell her to scale back her goals, and take the hype machine down a notch, no, didn't think so. Fine then deal with the comparisons to other winless LPGA caliber players. I'll stop treating Michelle differently when you stop touting her as the future of golf.
07/18/06 @ 12:23
Comment from: George [Visitor]
Jim, Ford's got you. You may as well admit it.

That's the dilemma for the Wie Warriors, Jim, not just you.

On one hand, we're told just how extraordinary Michelle is. You are part of that hype. Witness your outlandish preductions that Wie would win two of the four majors in 2006. Michelle has one chance left, in the U.K.

On the other hand, if Michelle doesn't win, then we hear the excuses, whining, rationalization, sex card, race card, jealous old man card, blah, blah, blah. Most of all, we hear that we really shouldn't judge her too harshly, because she's only 16.

Look, Michelle wanted to be the pioneer. Good for her and good fortune to her hunting. To the pioneers go the glory -- and the arrows in their cowboy hats for taking the road less-traveled.

It's risky, and Wie -- and especially her fans -- have to accept the risks that go with attempting to capture great rewards. Michelle has talent, no doubt about it. Is she the greatest female golfer ever? Is she as transcendent as Tiger? Only time will tell.

But by definition, there was only one Jack and one Tiger. Transcendence is rare.

-George
07/18/06 @ 13:17
Comment from: Shanks [Member] Email
Jim, you should really try not to make everything about Michelle Wie. The game is bigger than that. I'll indulge you here this one last time under this blog. On the 18th at the Kraft Wie was on the fringe in 2 shots and made the immature decision to chip the ball, trying for eagle. It went 10 feet past then she missed the comebacker for birdie. Had she putted that ball from the fringe it would've virtually almost guaranteed a birdie. I suspect that next time she is in that situation she will have learned what to do.

Now, back on topic, you have pointed out that Gulbis did not birdie any of her last 11 holes. True. But you have not pointed to anything that would indicate she did wrong or choked on. There were no bogeys. There was one terrific par save and another good long 2-putt par from 5 feet off the green. She did not yip any of her knee-knocking putts. Oh, and you conveniently did not mention that she birdied SIX of her first 10 holes. Nor did you congratulate her for such a fine round when playing under the pressure of being in the final twosome.

All that happened was a relentless 6-time winner (now 7) on the LPGA Tour outshot her. That's all. It was a great performance by both Gulbis & Kim. Kudos all the way around - and we should be impressed.
07/18/06 @ 13:18
Comment from: Jim COULTHARD [Visitor]
SHANKS

How do you accurately judge speed and direction on a putt that is uphill through rhe fringe at an angle to the slope? In a situation like that Michelle Wie's decision to chip the ball was her best choice. If she had putted the ball there would have been virtually no chance that she could have birdied the hole. She gave herself the best shot she could--but it didn't work out. Remember, Michelle Wie was much better at chipping than she was at putting and she went with her strength.
I think MORMAN said that Lorena Ochoa failed to get down in two from a similar spot in the playoff.

But if you insist, fine. Michelle Wie might have won the Kraft, but she screwed up. Natalie Gulbis, by contrast, played her best--but her best wasn't good enough. I congratulate Natalie Gulbis for a great performance. Too bad her best isn't good enough to win on the LPGA.

FORD

Michelle Wie is a 16 year old high school student. You do not acknowledge that she is particularly good. And yet you wish to hold her to a higher standard than a 5th year professional who was a member of the 2005 American Solheim Cup Team.

Last year I believed that with a good caddy, another year, and the truly first class resources of a pro, Michelle Wie would be as good this year as Annika was last year. As far as wins are concerned, I was wrong. But as far as her scoring is concerned she is quite close.

In four stoke play events on the LPGA Wie has finished 1 back twice and 2 back another 2 times. That is 6 strokes back in 15 rounds or 0.4 strokes per round behind the best the rest of the field could offer.

Least year Annika won 10 stroke play events and lost 9. She won 1 in a playoff(call that 1 up). In her others she was up 1,2,3,3,3,4,8,8, and 10. This is up 43. In her 9 losses she was down 1,2,7,8,9,9,10,10,12. This is down 68

Combining both we get a net down 25 in 70 rounds for an average of 0.357 strokes behind the best the rest of the field could offer. This compares to Wie's 2006 pace which would put her down 28 in 70 rounds.



07/18/06 @ 15:41
Comment from: JR [Visitor]
sure is getting deep around here.... Coulthard... are you sure Gulbis played her best or just a good round? You should know the way it is on the golf tours, one week you're not quite there, the next you are. You just love statitics don't you? Apparently you know that just about any data can be queried to return the answer you're looking for.... this is getting old...
07/18/06 @ 21:34
Comment from: George [Visitor]
JIM COULTHARD:

*****
Michelle Wie is a 16 year old high school student.
*****

thanks for proving my point, Jim.

You HAVE to be putting us on, right? Otherwise, we're talking about self-parody by the Wie Warriors.

If Michelle had $1,000 for every time the Wie Warriors or one of her other lackeys on the Internet posted Michelle's age, hell, she wouldn't need that $20 million endorsement.

-George
07/19/06 @ 01:05
Comment from: Jim COULTHARD [Visitor]
OK George

Michelle Wie palys twice in Europe. I pick Michelle. You name any other player ahead of time. Your player wins you win. Michelle wins I win. Neither player wins. You choose whether we break ties with the better finish or leave it as a tie.
07/19/06 @ 23:47
Comment from: Norman [Visitor]
Comment from: Shanks [Member] ·
So you're ragging on Gulbis for not shooting the lowest round of all 4 rounds of the tournament on Sunday when playing the last twosome, is that right? Just tying the low round of all 4 days of the tournament isn't good enough for you? No shame in that. She played great and just got beat.
********************************

Shanks, I’m not sure if Jim was ragging on Gulbis or not, but a 66 is a very good score in a last round of a tournament. That’s also the score Michelle got at the Fields Open, when she lost out by 1 stroke.
By the way Michelle also took the clubhouse lead, and for all she knew her score could have won it.
As regards Gulbis score, it was a very good score, and it was a very good final round from her. I think the issue Wie supporters take, is that when Wie does the same thing, alot of people critisise it (wrongly). Yet when Gulbis did it, alot of people praise it (rightly).
07/20/06 @ 18:40
Comment from: Norman [Visitor]
Comment from: Shanks [Member] · http://www.travelgolf.com/blogs/shanks
Jim, you should really try not to make everything about Michelle Wie. The game is bigger than that. I'll indulge you here this one last time under this blog. On the 18th at the Kraft Wie was on the fringe in 2 shots and made the immature decision to chip the ball, trying for eagle. It went 10 feet past then she missed the comebacker for birdie. Had she putted that ball from the fringe it would've virtually almost guaranteed a birdie. I suspect that next time she is in that situation she will have learned what to do.
***************************

Shanks, why are you so sure that she would have put a putt in a position any better?
Lorena Ochoa was in practically the same position in the playoff hole. She elected to putt, but her putt ran just as far away from the hole, as Wie’s chip did.
07/20/06 @ 18:44
Comment from: Norman [Visitor]
Comment from: Shanks [Member] ·
Now, back on topic, you have pointed out that Gulbis did not birdie any of her last 11 holes. True. But you have not pointed to anything that would indicate she did wrong or choked on. There were no bogeys. There was one terrific par save and another good long 2-putt par from 5 feet off the green. She did not yip any of her knee-knocking putts. Oh, and you conveniently did not mention that she birdied SIX of her first 10 holes. Nor did you congratulate her for such a fine round when playing under the pressure of being in the final twosome.
*****************************

Shanks, maybe Jim isn’t giving Natalie enough credit.
I do give Natalie alot of credit for that round. However, just because she suffered no bogeys doesn’t make her great down the stretch. The reality is that it was an easy course, and paring home on an easy course doesn’t often bring wins.
Natalie should get credit for getting up and down on 17. However the question should be asked as to why she got in trouble in the first place. Although she saved par, it was like a dropped shot, because it was a birdie hole. Kim birdied it, Creamer birdied it, and Pak birdied it. So Gulbis did drop a shot there to her competition.

The main point though, is that credit should be given to Natalie for competing well all the way in the tournament. Credit should also be given to Wie for the way she competed right to the end at the Fields, Nabisco, and US Womens Open.
07/20/06 @ 19:22
Comment from: Norman [Visitor]
Comment from: Shanks [Member] ·
All that happened was a relentless 6-time winner (now 7) on the LPGA Tour outshot her. That's all. It was a great performance by both Gulbis & Kim. Kudos all the way around - and we should be impressed.
**************************

Once again Shanks, you are correct in that assessment.
The same is true of the US Women’s Open where Wie met 2 better players over the tournament. She played very well all the way, and just got bet by the better players.

Some people like to claim any time Wie gets close that she loses it on mental grounds. Believe it or not, there was a story where a guy claimed that Wie should win every lpga tournament by at least 7 shots, because she is far better than everyone else.

That is far from reality at this stage. The fact is that at the US Open, Wie probably played a better mental game than Annika. Unfortunately Annika is still a superior golfer, and was able to afford lapses and mistakes and still win it.
07/20/06 @ 19:35
Comment from: Shanks [Member] Email
Norman, no more Wie discussion for me under this blog. However, I do take issue with the slap at Gulbis because she didn't birdie the 17th. On her 3rd shot to the par 5 she was in between clubs. Under pressure, one normally takes the shorter and hits it hard, which she did. It came up a little short and settled into a nasty greenside lie, from which she made a terrific up & in. I absolutely will not fault her for tying the low round of the tournament on Sunday - and that while in the final group. Her 6 birdies happened to all come early in the round and she played very, very solid golf until the end. There were yips. Just couldn't get one more putt to drop.
07/21/06 @ 08:09
Comment from: Norman [Visitor]
Shanks said:
On her 3rd shot to the par 5 she was in between clubs. Under pressure, one normally takes the shorter and hits it hard, which she did.
**************************

Did she learn nothing watching Monty at the US Open?

As regards her terrific round, I actually agree with you, but I'd just like some consistancy on what is a good last round.

I'd bet you've been around golf for a while. How many times have you heard about doing it on the back 9 on Sunday. Quite a bit, I'd guess. Like you, I think the round should be judged as a whole. It's just consistancy that I would like on the issue.
07/21/06 @ 15:26
Comment from: Shanks [Member] Email
The problem with taking the longer club under pressure is that it is extremely hard for the player to hit a soft shot with a less than full swing because of adrenaline and nerves. That pin was tucked on the right hand side of the green and had she hit it too hard - a distinct possibility with the longer of the clubs - the results could have been disastrous.

As far as Monty and the 7 iron, he just didn't hit it solid. As soon as he hit it, the microphone picked up him saying "What kind of shot was that?" (Great tv coverage on that, by the way.)

You're right, I have been around golf for a long time - over 30 years. And I have never heard of any player being criticized for tying the low round of the tournament when playing in the final group on Sunday. 99.9% of the time that's good enough for a win.
07/21/06 @ 15:49
Comment from: Jim COULTHARD [Visitor]
Wie critics say even though Wie is just 16 and still a high school student, she is a professional and should be judged like any other professional.

So what happens? Annika blows up to a final round 75 to lose the Florida Natural, and three weeks later misses the cut at the Micelob. But Annika isn't criticized the way Michelle is.

OK Annika has proven she can win on the LPGA, and that is something Michelle has yet to do. So if we are only concerned about whether a player can win on the LPGA, we are limiting our comparisons to other players who have also yet to win.

Gulbis is one of the highest ranked nonwinners on the LPGA--the only high ranking veteran nonwinner in the top 20. After you criticizied the World Rankings for ranking nonwinner Michelle Wie too high, it is reasonable to aks whether you apply the same standards in judging the highest ranking nonwinner among LPGA veterans.

Your comments about Natalie sounded so much like what Michelle has said after some of her narrow losses. Good putts that just miss going in the hole--that sort of thing. But in your previous blog you wanted to reduce the value given in the rankings to the type of performance that Natlie just put in.

07/21/06 @ 16:21
Comment from: Jim COULTHARD [Visitor]
What if Phil Mickleson had started the last day at the US Open tied for the lead in the final group? Suppose he tied the low round of the day with 4 other players, but lost a 2 stroke lead in the last three holes--and then lost in a playoff, missing a 9 foot putt after his opponent sank an 18 footer.

Do you really think there would be no criticism directed Phil's way?

07/21/06 @ 16:35
Comment from: Shanks [Member] Email
If you go back and look at my blogs, you'll see that I noted Annika's slip in performance.

The no-bogey final round that Gulbis shot tied the low score for the entire 4 rounds. That means that nobody in the field played a better round. And she did it under the most pressure possible. If anybody does that on Sunday, I'm sorry, but it just can't be criticized, not by me.
07/24/06 @ 07:44
Comment from: Ronnie [Visitor]
Paula Creamers round was the best because she had the best finish to the round.

Also, Shanks is on about Natalie tieing the best round of the tournamnet, but didn't Mi Hyun Kim and Paula Creamer both do the exact same thing.

They all shot 65s. The difference is that Mi and Paula finished strong.

Paula was -4 in the last 5 holes, whereas Natalie was level par.

Paula was doing the job, and Natalie was just trying to hang on.
Credit to Natalie for building the lead, but she didn't cope with the lead very well.
07/24/06 @ 11:54
Comment from: Shanks [Member] Email
Creamer played very well as did Kim. I disagree whole-heartedly that Gulbis didn't cope with the lead very well. She played very solid golf on the back nine but just couldn't make one extra birdie putt. Her birdie misses were all edge-burners or lip-outs. She made all of her testy 3-5 footers for pars right in the middle.
07/24/06 @ 12:06
Comment from: Ronnie [Visitor]
Shanks,
That same excuse is used for Michelle Wie. Burning the edges.
In a couple of recent events Michelle did miss some close putts, but she didn't miss any at the US Open, and there were other events where she didn't miss any short putts, but she just burned the edges with some of her mid length putts.

Those putts have to be made to win. Neither Natalie or Michelle has made those putts.

Paula's form hasn't been great lately but she has proved that she can handle the pressure and make those putts when they count. Paula can close the deal.

Natalie and Michelle don't get any extra points for lipping out, they just get an extra stroke added to their scores.

Also, if they hit it in the middle of the hole, it wouldn't be lipping out, would it.
07/25/06 @ 09:59
Comment from: Shanks [Member] Email
As I have said previously, I cannot find ANY fault in a player who starts the final round tied for the lead, plays in the final pairing and shoots the lowest round of the tournament. That means no one in the entire field bettered her Sunday 18 hole score on any of the 4 days. Also, there was no evidence of choking where it woulkd show up the most - no weak putts, no putts hit way too hard, no 3-putts. It's one thing to make ugly bogeys, it's quite another to play very solid golf and just not be able to make one more birdie.

If anybody has a problem with that, I think their criteria for success is ridiculous.
07/25/06 @ 10:15
Comment from: Ronnie [Visitor]
What you are saying is fine, but suppose she had 2 more birdies on the front 9 and had bogeyed the last 2 holes, she still would have tied the best score of the tournament.

07/25/06 @ 19:35
Comment from: Shanks [Member] Email
In your hypothetical case, there would be a little cause for concern about the finish, depending on how the hypothetical bogies were made. But I would still have to give a lot of credit for the good overall play.
07/26/06 @ 07:32

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