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Mar 17

Michelle Wie Under the Weather

Wie Struggling to Get Well and Injury-Free 

There are a lot of things you can do in this world when you feel sick. You can even swing a golf club, but if you’ve got what Michelle Wie’s got, “flu-like” symptoms, you probably don’t feel like swinging anything. Going back to bed might sound more appealing than going to the first tee.

Last year was Michelle Wie’s year. Two wins, one of them being the Women’s U.S. Open, and the former prodigy was right where she ought to be. Lately, though, she’s been missing – literally missing, and when she does come out and play, nothing’s really happening on the golf end of things.

wie Wie has been either ill with some malady over the past several weeks, which unfortunately coincided with this year’s LPGA tour, or nursing a finger injury incurred last summer. It’s a “stress reaction” in an index finger, just demonstrating that for a golfer, it doesn’t take much to be put you out of action. The latest report is that she’s loading up on anti-biotics.
Golf Simplified logoI have often wondered what sort of regimen players put together to handle the physical ups and downs of international competition. I can remember being sternly admonished by my Ukrainian and Russian friends to boil the water, because their bugs spoke Russian, and mine didn’t. I remember living in Italy after being healthy as a horse in the states. I couldn’t resist any bug that came along, no matter how insignificant – and recovery was a nightmare. I even had to put up a good fight in Britain, the land of my ancestors. So how did Michelle Wie do with a strep throat infection in the Pure Silk Bahamas that turned into a sinus infection in Asia, much of which is high humidity for much of the year?

A lot of things go into good health when you have to arrive halfway around the world ready to roll. First, there is travel, and the hideous things time zones do to a body with all that coming and going. The sleep cycle is upset. The diet changes, the cultural habits and pressures change, the ongoing anxiety of being in elite international competition always hangs over the trip. Humidity changes, air pollution, and the specific type of it, is a factor. So, what’s a player like Wie, who’s already struggling to feel well enough for competition, to do with long distances and such vast changes?
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Fortunately, the tour seems to be coming Wie’s way this week, with the JTBC Founders Cup Championship. As a Hawaiian with a lot of time spent in California, this is a little more up her alley, even though her coach says she’s going to be a little less than glowing for the next week or two. Wie’s friend, Christina Kim, observes that her start this year, dealing with illness, is “irrelevant,” and that she’s bound for another good year. I suspect that Kim may be right. Wie got her game together magnificently last year, within a new sense of liberation and calm. If she can get back to that and get well at the same time, why wouldn’t she return to top form?

Meanwhile, I can just imagine what it’s like to go out on the golf course feeling 5 or 10 percent under to play against a field that feels just fine. There’s so much about golf that can go out on you, feeling bad couldn’t help, either in the mechanics, or in terms of concentration. Still, Wie’s not too late, and the year is young. I’m looking for her to be her same old hale self when the majors start rolling around. Meanwhile, get well, Michelle.
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About the author

G.F. Skipworth

has spent every available moment playing golf or studying the greats since the 60s, in between world tours as a classical musician, Harvard studies in Government or as the author of a dozen novels. Nicklaus and Snead may be the statistical greats, but Skipworth is a life-long devotee of Gary Player, and considers meeting the South African at the Jeld-Wen to be an unforgettable milestone. His driving passion in golf these days is to raise viewer interest in the LPGA.