Oct 22

Another Crackpot Theory on Michelle Wie


Michelle Wie Extended Up?


Ok, it’s time for another try at Michelle Wie, from all of us who have never broken 78 or even started a psychology degree –  in other words, those of us who don’t know anything about anything, but hey, it’s a free continent, right?

wie 3 I’ve watched the whole odd career of Michelle Wie (Korean name Wie-Sung-Mi), through each weird twist and turn. At first, I just thought it was a case of the brain, talent and body not being on the same page yet, and in time, they’d mesh and become a wrecking ball on tour. That didn’t happen, of course, but the woman’s only 24, and even with Lexi, Lydia and Charley hanging around, that’s not very old, even for golf. The men’s tournament thing, I thought was cool. Now, I think it was meaningless, in career terms, and probably not very good for Michelle’s head.

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So, the new theory – BIORHYTHMS, sort of – or whatever it is that makes us slip in and out of phase, which we all do. What I find with Wie is that the switch between on and off can be thrown very suddenly, but whichever side she’s on, she tends to stay there for a while. Anyway, here goes:

UP – the youngest at everything. Youngest to qualify for USGA Amateur Championship, youngest winner of U.S. Women’s Amateur Links, youngest qualifier for LPGA event, youngest to make cut at U.S. Open (13), youngest to play PGA event, youngest to play Curtis Cup, etc. She should have run for President.
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DOWN – sudden and long sequence of missed cuts, withdrawals, controversy – Samsung, Casio, Sony, missed cuts, and a lot more. Wie didn’t request an age exemption or attend Q school, remaining in No-Women’s Land for a while – ineligible to play at Stanford.

wie 1UP – ’06. 3rd at Fields, 3rd at Kraft Nabisco, Asian Tour SK Telecom (men’s) made cut,  qualifier medalist, Men’s U.S. Open, LPGA Championship, t. 5th at 2 back, 3rd, U.S. Women’s Open, 2nd, Evian.

DOWN – Missed cuts in a bunch of men’s tournaments – end of ’06, 14 rounds in a row not even approaching par, winless in 33 women’s tournaments, missed 11 of 12 cuts in men’s. ’07, wrist injuries – Sony, 25 strokes back, Ginn Tribute, 14 over through 16 holes, withdrawals and contrasting back-to-back days (71/84) – Withdrew, British Open, Canadian, Safeway – Samsung, next to last in field – withdrew, Michelob, Missed cut, U.S. Open, DQd from LPGA State Farm while only 1 back,  then mysteriously qualified for LPGA tour.

Maybe a little foot-shooting here? For a while, it seems as though Wie qualified better than she played, but my amateur psychologist’s brain doesn’t have an answer for that, so we’ll leave it for the moment.

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UP – SBS Open, almost won it (66, 70). It might have been an aberration, since Wie missed the next four or five cuts, but then – UP again, as Captain’s pick for -09 Solheim. Oh no, what were they thinking? Pretty well, as it turns out. Wie went 3-0-1. She stayed UP by winning the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, finishing 2nd in the Ladies Dubai Masters, winning the Canadian Open in 2010, and coming in 2nd at the P&G NW Arkansas.

wie 2DOWN – pretty much everything in the last two years, except….

UP – Have you noticed that after playing well again in Solheim, she’s appearing on leaderboards with some regularity again? In fact, last week at Hana Bank in Korea, she surged to a 66 in the last round, instead of the more frequent ballooning score on Sunday.

So, my professional opinion as a non-psychologist and non-pro golfer is that we’re getting ready to see an extended UP for Michelle Wie as she comes in to the power of her mid-twenties. I don’t think it’s over, and will even argue with Sorenstam on that point. I’m putting the controversies, missed cuts and injuries away (denial, I think they call it), and will be standing there by the 18th green with my little Michelle Wie banner, drinking from my pro shop Michelle Wie mug and wearing my “See, I told you so” on the front and “I love Michelle” on the back sweater when it happens…unless, of course, it rains…or things change and go DOWN (lack mentality, I think they call it).
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