Wachovia Championship preview: Wie's not playing, but again she's the big story
Never mind the Wachovia. Hold the front page, the back page, hold all the pages in between, especially sports. Heck throw in the personal finance and the lifestyle pages. Gardening? Yup, those too.
Michelle Wie has seen the light. Or perhaps more important, her parents have seen the light. We are assured by her coach David Leadbetter that she has given up her manic quest to bash herself against brick walls in men’s events. “Temporarily,” of course. You have to include words like that in the not quite real world this family appears to inhabit. Suffice to say “she hasn’t got any PGA Tour events planned at the moment". Hallelujah.
Reading Leadbetter’s comments suggests he had a heck of a time persuading her parents that learning her craft on the LPGA circuit was the best course. But he clearly imparted some solid home truths about the folly of continuing to enter the wrong competitions. “Playing the 84 Lumber was just crazy,” he says. Instead she is going to play as many LPGA events as she can this year - provided that terribly injured wrist doesn’t get in the way of course - and become a full member next year.
Sense has at long last (too long) prevailed. Weren’t we trying to impart this advice several months ago, to the derision of a certain vociferous lobby? Leadbetter’s comments are a stinging rebuke of those fools (and that’s being very, very kind) who would have had Wie smash her game to pieces to prove some kind of idiotic feminist agenda. Hey, bring it on in a season or two when she has the eight or nine wins a season Leadbetter predicts she can achieve on the LPGA. I look forward to that day. It will certainly be a lot more enjoyable than watching a 17 year-old beat herself up over the manifestly impossible. As Leadbetter says: “Horses for courses.”
Talking of Tiger Woods, is the Wachovia really the course for him? Not at a price of less than 3-1 it isn’t in my book. I think you’ve got to be a bit loopy-loo to back him at those kind of odds when he’s coming off a longish layoff, to a course he has yet to conquer (his poor accuracy off the tee is a distinct negative) and with greater rewards in his sights.
Unfortunately its position straight in front of the Players championship and on the direct flight path to the US Open has turned this into something of a practise pen. So whichever of the top players you fancy, don’t expect them necessarily to be going all out for a win here.
Phil Mickelson: tells us he’s still on a slow burn to renewed greatness. I’m not the only one getting a bit tired of Lefty’s resurrections. Is this the third coming, fourth, fifth … ? His third place last week has got everyone excited, although a fascinating debate on one forum ended divided on whether his swing was half better or half worse as a result of Butch Harmon’s intervention. It is even more clear after his comments this week that his one goal now is erasing the memory of last year’s US Open horror and anything in between is rather incidental. While we’re on incidental, how come no hacks gave him a grilling about last week’s pro-am controversy? Cat got your tongues or PGA got your purse-strings? Call this a democracy?
Ernie Els: is putting his putter to rights. Forget his second place in his last US outing. He’s since flown half way round the world and back to achieve not very much.
Jim Furyk: the defending champion is working on his irons and that, plus his recent wrist trouble and a lacklustre season, put me off him too.
Vijay Singh: if he’s working on anything particular he’s not saying. His game has gone astray of late yet he puts in top 20 finishes with the consistency of a metronome and he’s already got a first and second here. So maybe he is this week’s chosen one
If Luke Donald can slow down a bit he should be a threat too, coming off last week’s disappointing second place. Given the US Open conditions this is said to replicate - firm and fast - a back in form Retief Goosen has to be considered. And if Adam Scott can shake off a little rustiness he should be a factor - third last year.
Some who stand out from my stats:
Vaughn Taylor: in good form, top ten here twice in the last two competitions and a set of stats well suited to this event.
Stephen Leaney: managed 11th here two years ago, is top ten for greens in regulation and putting and top 20 for accuracy.
Ken Duke: Has been knocking on the door for the last two weeks. Both his irons and putting stand out.
Anthony Kim: I know, look at last week, but if you managed to get out in time he would still have produced a profit on a price of 40. This week he’s 160.
Jerry Kelly: another good result last week so those mind games are clearly working.
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That is the most sensible thing Wie's parents have done in the last three years concerning their daughter's golfing career.
Leadbetter has been much maligned on these boards, but he's right on the money here.
It's almost enough even for guys like me to start pulling for her.
I don't know about her winning eight or nine times a year, though. Winning one would be a worthy goal for starters.
I have to agree with you Alex ( though it pains me greatly that I can't bug you about something) that even one win would good.
Mind you, it wouldn't stop much of the bitching or any of the armchair experts from telling the Wies what they are doing wrong, lol
Jeez, this dumb question about green grass. I so badly want to tell them it's yellow. Shitbrindle brown, atually but it doesn't like those answers (go figure). Nothings turned green here yet.
On the other hand, the court should have taken her away from her parents for 'unparent-like bahavior' in how they raise her.
The pundits now get their wish, let's see what they will move on to.
Now that she's taking a direction that seems more suitable, I hope she finally shows us her best effort.
Let's hope she gets back to fun golf again, then she'll be a winner. She hasn't looked like she was having fun since about the middle of last summer, about the time Lincicome beat her. Not sure if that had anything to do with the way she played after but who knows.
Michelle made a promise to Thomas Hearns she would see him at this years JDC and I believe she will do everything in her power to appear.
David Leadbetter is not an official spokesman for Michelle, but he does like to run his mouth. Let's see how long he lasts after this rant.
I have some experience of Mr. Leadbetter and I couldn't have put it better myself:
"he does like to run his mouth."
He could do with learning a bit of manners.
He made a similar rant before so I don't know how true it is.
As you know, I am not a Wie-wee under any circumstances. I believe the career path chosen either for her or by her was as wrong as can be.
But no one can deny that she has shown the athletic ability and the overall talent to be a force on the LPGA tour. I agree with Ford that Bubbles has a good chance to be a top competitor and eventually win on the WOMEN'S TOUR.
So I think it is premature to write her off completely, just as it is premature to assign her a 2007 season where she has multiple wins.
Accepting sponsors' exemptions on the PGA tour and embarrassing herself is another ballgame.
If she and her advisers countermand the urging of Leadbetter and allow her to subject herself to further thrashings, the psychological damage will probably be irreparable.
Alex, you are well on your way to becoming a Wie Warrior. Resistance is futile, it is your destiny.
Soon, if Michelle misses a putt you will shout "spike mark".
If Michelle pushes a wedge shot you will shout "where did that gust of wind come from".
If Michelle hits a wayward drive, you will shout "damn that photographer".
Ah Alex, indeed you are well on your way.
Don't bet on it.
I always have recognized her natural talent It it was obvious. Any teenage girl that can shoot par golf has God-given talent.
That goes for Paula and Morgan as well. The only difference between those two and Bubbles is that they have victories on the LPGA tour while Bubbles does not. She may eventually get a "W", at which time it will be the Wie-wee's time to crow. Until such time, the gulf in achievement will remain.
What I never expected of Bubbles, and which will never come to fruition are her making a cut on any first-rate men's tour, which makes being in contention in such an event an impossibility. Nor do I foresee her ever playing in the Masters', making the Ryder Cup team, or competing in the US Open.
By some of the posts here, several Wie Warriors still have visions of those things happening. Don't hold your breath.
"That goes for Paula and Morgan as well. The only difference between those two and Bubbles is that they have victories on the LPGA tour while Bubbles does not. "
Alex, you know that's not true. There are other distances such as the distance she drives it, the distance she hits her irons, the amount of spin she can get on the ball, and the range of shots she has.
Sure Paula has victories and Morgan has a victory, but they did get those victories as full lpga members.
While I would call Leadbetter's 8-9 victory prediction as optimistic, particularly if he is talking about straight away, I do think that Michelle winning in a full seasons play on the lpga tour is as near to a certainty as you could get in betting terms.
Alex, you know very well that is not true. There are other differences between Michelle and Paula and Morgan.
Michelle hits her drives further, she hits her iron shots further, she can generate more spin on the ball and she has a great range of shots.
Morgan and Paula both got their first wins as lpga tour members.
While Leadbetter's 8-9 event win prediction could be called optimistic, particularly if he meant straight away, I would say that if Michelle were to play a full season on the lpga tour, the chances of her winning would be as near to a certainty as you would get in betting terms.
I was referring to the comparative victory totals of the three.
You didn't comment on the possibilities of Bubbles making her bones on the men's tours in case she decides to ignore the advice of Leadbetter.
Are you one of those who still believe that someday she will be a regular on the PGA tour?
I believe Wie has the potential to be a regular pga tour player at some stage. As I have said repeatedly though, potential is only part of it.
There are many young boys with the potential to make it on the pga tour. Some of them will and some of them won't, simple as that.
Since you are so reluctant to state you opinion one way or the other as to Bubbles ever becoming a regular on the PGA tour, I'll give you mine.
She will not. Why not? "Q" school, winning enough money in the allowed number of exemptions, and getting a battlefield promotion by winning three events in one year on the Nationwide tour are out of the question. That should be obvious.
What other method could she possibly use to become a touring PGA pro? The key word here is "possibly."
Please remember this post the next time you or one of the other Wie-wee's insist that you guys NEVER have any preposterous expectations of Bubbles.
You misread the situation. I do not have expectations as you call them, of MW qualifying to be a pga tour member. What I have said, is she has the potential to become a member. The length she hits it, her strength from the rough, particularly on tricky shots around the green is sufficient that she could play on the pga tour. That is not common among female players at all. What she does need to do from 17 to 25 to make it on the pga tour is to improve her game.
I don't know of any other 17 year old who also doesn't need to improve his game if he is going to make it on tour.
The key is how much improvement will she have. She already has enough physically to cope with the conditions. The question is can her game get to pga level consistantly.
I know you are looking for people to answer your direct questions about will she or won't she make it.
If you want the answer to that, you will just have to keep following golf tournaments.
And all of those guys have to qualify first for the Nationwide tour.
Do any of you think that she has the game to make the Nationwide tour? Not now, not ever.
Besides, there is no financial incentive for the Wie money machine to pursue having Bubbles try to win a spot on a minor men's tour
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