Imagine Michelle Wie without the baggage
Now that Michelle Wie has withdrawn from the final event of the 2009 LPGA season due to a worsening ankle injury, it is a good time for evaluation. The problem most people face in doing so, however, is dealing with their own pre-conceived notions of how they think she should have performed. Wie is perhaps the poster child for unrealistic expectations. The blame can be spread around to many sources but let’s not concern ourselves with all of that nonsense.
For an honest look at where Michelle Wie is - and where she is going – I would imagine that the past several years never even happened. At most you should allow that she had a solid amateur background which included a few successful forays into LPGA events. Okay, got your mind right? Good. Let’s look at the facts.
In 2009 Wie started her rookie year on the LPGA Tour as a long-hitting graduate of Q-school. In the first tournament out of the gate in February in font of home crowds, she managed to finish in second place despite a lackluster final round. Wie’s next run of good play came in a 10th-15th-3rd stretch in May where another tournament got away in the final round at Sybase. The end of June saw another 10th place finish at Wegmans, immediately followed in July with another 3rd place at the Jaime Farr Owens Corning resulting from a strong 64 in the final round. Wie’s best finish in a major championship was an 11th coming in the British Women’s Open in August. This was followed by an unprecedented yet deserved role as Captain’s selection to play in the Solheim Cup at age 19. And play she did, going 3-0-1 against Europe’s best.
This performance was followed by a 4th place in the Safeway courtesy of a final round 66. October brought another runner-up finish at the Navistar in Alabama, then WHAM, it happened. Michelle Wie not only won the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico in November, she did it playing with and against the best players in the game. Her emotional reaction to both the bunker shot and the tap-in birdie at the 72nd hole was absolutely priceless.
So what does all this mean? I believe Wie needed a year or so just to learn how to control herself enough to win. Her talent is undeniable but long bombs and pretty swings don’t mean squat on Sundays. Getting the ball in the hole under pressure is where it’s at. Sometimes it’s the par save to keep momentum going. Sometimes it’s a desperately needed birdie to get things started or put pressure on the opponent. Based on the arc of Michelle Wie’s first year as an LPGA touring professional that culminated in a 14th place finish on the earnings list, I’d say she’s on the right track now. It is still way too soon to expect any sort of domination but better things undoubtedly await.
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I fully expect domination, as Wie's last 8 events resulted in 4 top 4 finishes (a 4th, a 3rd, a 2nd and a 1st). And a 9th event in that span, Solheim, was absolutely a dominant performance. If you'll allow the Solheim performance to be considered another "top 4" performance--and perhaps most would consider it more resembling a win--then Wie's last 9 events comprised 5 top 4's. Imagine, 55% of one's starts resulting in top 4 performances.
It seems to me that Shin, Ochoa, Ai Miyazato and Wie are the best female players in the world at the moment, at least over the final 4 months or so. And consider these numbers: 67, 69, 70, 69,64, 70, 69, 66, 73, 66, 69. What are they? Wie's Sunday scores her last 11 events. And add to that Sunday's clutch performance at Solheim. Sunday has become Michelle Wie's best day.
Another year like this past year, especially the latter half, and she will be threatening the lead in the world rankings. Now #1 in the world in birdies per 18 holes, domination is not far away.
-10 while they were at -13. She doubled bogeyed 12 effectively eliminated what slight chance she still had--but that chance was pretty remmote. That is hardly something I would describe as one that got away. Passing Lincicome to move up from T4 to T3 actually made it a decent final round. She would have needed the best round of the day just to tie Oh's winning score.
I think the question for Wie now will be how good she will be, not how good she will be in the clutch. With a win now, she figures to only get better in the clutch--but who knows how good she will be.
Stanford had 3 wins in 7 events and 9 straight top 7s. But then she cooled off, still a top player but not at that level. Has Wie just been in a hot spell, or is her recent good play simply what we can expect in the future, or will she improve. Big hitters tend to have hot and cold spells. In the past one of the things that has been amazing about Wie was her level of consistence. But I am not sure she has that same level of consistnce now.
the only reason She won was that others were doing worse than She did and that may have been on purpose so She would win
To put Wie's above final-round scoring into context, Wie was the 9th best scorer with an average of 70.55, .33 strokes per round behind world best Ochoa's 70.22. But on Sundays, over a 4-5 month stretch. Wie averaged 68.36!
You expect domination from Wie next year? We shall see, but remember that she only has one win. What impresses me more is her top 10s and scoring, but I think "domination" may be a stretch. I think she has been playing well, but will soon cool down. Look forward to blogging in 2010.
She averaged 70 for first rounds, 69.41 for final rounds and an overall 69.72 for the two combined.
She averaged 71.58 for middle rounds--which would still be 70.93 if you drop her two terrible 81s from the Kraft.
If we project reduced pressure to win means her middle rounds match her first and last rounds, she would average 69.72 next year which is close to the 68.69 and 69.70 that Ochoa averaged in 2007 and 2008. Knock the average down a bit since she figures to play in the uS Womens Open, and maybe Wie averages 69.8
Not quite a dominant level, but close.
Wie shall see......
Many have predicted this (dominance) in the past and have been massively disappointed. The main difference between your arguments and ones from the past is that now she actually does have a win. Regardless of how talented she is, you still have the primary problem with her game, which is what is going on between her ears.
If she starts winning, she will be expected to win, thus the pressure resumes, and.....
Wie shall see in 2010.
How can you say Kerr has better talent than Wie? Wie already has a win and Kerr didn't win until her sixth year on tour. We're supposed to write Wie off after next year if sh is 7th on the money list, when Kerr never made the top 40 until her 4th year, or the top 10 until her 8th year. Have a little patience.
After round two she trailed Shin by 3, and she said she said she felt like she needed to shoot a lot lower and play a lot better over the weekend. She didn't but she won anyway, thanks to Shin's unexpected collapse.
Next time she is in such a situation she might realize she could win by simply keeping up her good play. Also next time she should feel less pressure to win so a top 3 finish would also be a welcome result even if it isn't a win. With less pressure she should be able to play better.
I was at the LPGA Tour Championship and walked the 18 holes with Michelle. She only missed two drives during her round which resulted in a bogey and a double bogey. When I saw her hit her three wood 30 yards passed Kerr's drive into a 25 mph wind, that was impressive. She was consistently out driving Kerr and KIm 50 to 80 yards during the round. What bothers me are her stupid accidents she seems to have all of the time. How long does it take for a twenty year old sprained ankle to heal? I think she needs to get a new doctor. I look for her to be at Dubai next month because her parents are already salivating over her appearance fee.
Christina Kim is NOT a friend of her fans...she acted like a real prima donna and wasn't friendly to the people that pay her salary. The old timers were much better.
I see your point about the three wood. Ironically, in past tournaments both the PGA and the LPGA, when she elected to "play safe" and hit her three wood, the results were disastrous. Yes, when she makes contact with the ball, there definitely is a "different sound" from the other LPGA Pros. I think her parents will decide for her to play in Dubai simply because of the appearance money. Show us the money first, then, we will worry about ankle injuries second!
Here is one of my favorite BJ Wie statements:
“I’m well aware there that some say, since Michelle Wie is an American why is she making such a fuss. But you know what, the only thing about her that’s American is her passport, she is “definitely” Korean.” The golfer’s favorite dish is “rice with pork Kimchi soup with extra tofu and toasted seaweed on the side.” Her mouth waters when she hears about Bossam (boiled pork) or steamed codfish, and Soondae (Korean sausage) and Deokbokki (broiled rice pasta with Korean chilli paste sauce). She may have been born in America but her first words were Korean, and she did not start learning English until after she was attending school."
She should have stayed within her own level and learned how to win under pressure.
Her young mind was too fragile to take losses and disappointment at such a young age. Part of it is genetics. Her father could not perform under pressure either,
When She suffered heat stroke at that one tournament in the desert playing the men did not anyone see the look n her eyes. She looked totally defeated as they put her in that ambulance. That will forever haunt her no matter how much therapy she has or how many affirmations she tells herself. Positive thinking is sometimes not enough.
She's the best physically but her "baggage is killing her" She may have to quit
She 14 or 15 strokes behind Kristie Kerr after 3 rounds at LPGA Championship right now and she out drives Christie by a lot.
One of problems is she is built too long. Her arms give her distance, but they make her accuracy fail, that along with her baggage. They should give her a 42 inch driver or less then she could be a little more accurate. That would not help her putt under pressure though.
She has to get rid of most of the baggage first.
Possible but not probable because She's in denial and delusion.
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