Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Here Wie goes again as Solheim Cup add-on

  • Print
Michelle Wie: few other golfers have received so much attention for winning so little

GEOFF ROBINS / THE CANADIAN PRESS ARCHIVES Enlarge Image

Michelle Wie: few other golfers have received so much attention for winning so little

PARKER, Colo. -- Michelle Wie hasn't won a tournament in three years. She didn't come close to earning a spot on the Solheim Cup. Being a captain's pick for the second time on the last three American teams stood out even more this year because one of the players left out won on the LPGA Tour this year.

This would seem to be a good time to do whatever she can to blend in at Colorado Golf Club.

Except for the socks.

Wie added her own touch to the U.S. uniform of a khaki skirt, red shirt and a blue cap. She showed up on the practice range with knee-high socks of red-and-white stripes capped off by a thick blue stripe with white stars.

"It's a bit patriotic," Wie said Wednesday. "I just kind of accumulate things over the year. I see things and I'm like, 'Oh, that would be great for Solheim Cup.' And I just brought them out."

It's far more important that she bring out her very best game as the Americans try to stay perfect on home soil and win back the Solheim Cup from Europe.

U.S. captain Meg Mallon met with Wie at St. Andrews after the Women's British Open to tell her she was on the team. The next thing she told Wie -- after the 23-year-old from Hawaii stopped crying -- was to not think of herself as a wild-card selection, but one of 12.

"It's tough being a captain's pick," Mallon said. "There's a lot of pressure that players put on themselves being a pick."

Then again, that's a big reason why she took Wie.

Few other golfers have received so much attention for winning so little. Wie first was recognized in golfing circles when she was 12 and blasted 270-yard tee shots during a pro-junior event at the Sony Open alongside PGA Tour players. Scrutiny followed a short time later, and it has been relentless.

Some of it was grounded in jealously. Without having won a tournament, Wie still attracted the largest galleries and the richest endorsement contracts. Some of it was grounded in reality. Wie spent her teen years trying to play against the men -- PGA Tour events, even U.S. Open qualifying -- without ever showing she could beat the women.

If there is additional pressure as a captain's pick, who better to handle it?

"She lives on this stage almost every day that she plays," Mallon said. "So walking into this environment is not going to affect her. I needed another player like that on the team. I had three rookies already. And like I said earlier, do I want five to six birdies a day at home sitting on the couch? So for me, that was a pretty easy decision."

The hard part falls to Wie.

She has a 4-3-1 record in two appearances, including a 3-0-1 mark in her debut in 2009 outside Chicago when she also was a captain's pick. Wie went 1-3 two years ago in Ireland, losing to Suzann Pettersen in singles on the 18th hole in a European victory.

There is reason for skepticism when Mallon says she didn't want to leave "five or six birdies" at home on the couch. Wie has never been a great putter, and it has been several years since she was considered among the longest hitters.

Now, her putting is noticed for the peculiar stance. She struggled so badly late last year that she tried stooping her six-foot frame so that her back is perpendicular to the ground and her eyes are directly above the ball. It looks funny. It looks painful. But it works.

"I always felt a little bit uncomfortable being tall putting," Wie said. "And I was just like, 'OK, I'll go down lower to the ground.' And I made every single putt coming in. And then I went to Dubai and I did the same thing there. I putted a lot better."

As for the stance?

"A lot of people have asked me how my back is, if my back hurts," she said. "But it actually feels a lot better doing that for me. Because I'm flexible, it's easier."

Mallon is more interested in numbers than appearance.

She said Wie has gone from 147th in putting a year ago to 37th this year. Mallon also said Colorado Golf Club is more of a second-shot course. Wie has been wild off the tee, but the fairways here are exceptionally wide.

"Her trouble has nothing to do with approach shots, and her short game is one of the best we have on our tour," Mallon said. "This golf course, players will need lot of creativity. So I knew this was a very good fit for her."

Mallon gave Wie one other piece of advice. Don't bother reading any stories about the captain's picks.

The pick smacked of yet another dose of entitlement for Wie, even suggestions that she was chosen solely for television ratings. Remember, Wie was given an exemption to the U.S. Women's Open when she was 14, and was the first amateur to play in the LPGA Championship as a teen.

Wie, who graduated last year from Stanford with a degree in communications, quit reading long ago. And despite facing criticism at such a young age, she has shown remarkable maturity in not fighting back. The high road comes naturally.

"It's just the way my parents raised me," she said. "My mom always said -- and I know it's a clich© -- 'If you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing.' Everyone has their reasons for saying things and everyone is entitled to it. I always try to think the best of everyone. It does hurt when I hear things. But if I don't have something nice to say, I'm not going to say it. That's how I work."

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 15, 2013 D8

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Peguis Chief Hudson comments on toddler's death upgrade to homicide investigation

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Canada goose flies towards the sun near the Perimeter Highway North and Main St Monday afternoon – See Day 10 for Bryksa’s 30 goose project - May 11, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • STDUP ‚Äì Beautiful West End  begins it's summer of bloom with boulevard s, front yards  and even back lane gardens ,  coming alive with flowers , daisies and poppies  dress up a backyard lane on Camden St near Wolseley Ave  KEN GIGLIOTTI  / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS  /  June 26 2012

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who are the real Bombers?

View Results

Ads by Google