Category: Michelle Wie


March 28, 2014

Size Matters! How To Find the Right Length Putter for You

Posted at 1:00 PM by Marius Filmalter

Does the length of your putter really matter? Absolutely! So why then can we only buy putters with a length of around 34 inches at our local pro shops?

The reason is very simple. The average man in United States of America stands at a height of 5 feet 10 inches and the distance between his palms and the floor is 32 inches. The average spine-angle tilt when addressing the ball is around 40 degrees. If this average man takes up a reasonably comfortable and athletic address position, the 34-inch putter will fit him just fine. A good example is Luke Donald, not only is he a great putter with a good stroke but also looks very comfortable with his standard-length putter.

So what is the correct length for you? It depends mostly on 1.) The distance between your palms and the floor; 2.) The angle of your spine when over the ball; and 3.) The bend of your elbows.

Shell_putterIf you want to bend over the ball like Michelle Wie [right], thereby reverting back to the days before Lucy, make sure you have a short putter and a good orthopedic surgeon. You will need both.

But there are other ways to compensate for a short putter. Phil Michelson for instance, stretches his arms or -- in other words -- he putts with long arms. This is maybe not such a bad idea for longer putts but it is certainly not advisable for putts where directional control is at a premium.

The interesting point is that both Michelle and Phil are much taller than average but elect to combat the greens with much shorter weapons. That just does not make any sense and we know they have had more than their fair share of short putts not finding the hole. Could those misses be attributed to the length of their putters forcing them to make unnecessary compensations? A wise man once said that the fewer compensations you have to make, the more consistent your outcomes will be. And those consistent outcomes help you build more confidence in your putting.

Long putters have their complications as well. They are heavy and unresponsive, which limits feel and feedback. Now a lot of golfers might think that unresponsiveness or a high moment of inertia in a putter is a good thing -- and right you are! But as we know, there are limits. You need a balance between responsiveness and stability; feel and reliability.

A longer putter is probably a good option for those golfers suffering from the yips. Try a 39-inch putter and clamp the top of the grip against the inside of your left forearm, provided you play the game right-handed.

If you are substantially shorter or taller than average, it might be a good idea to have your putter fitted by a reputable club-fitter. For all of us average-sized people, may you have the right length to have a blast, at least on the greens.

Part 1: How to Find the Right Style Putter for You

Next Time: How to Find the Correct Loft for Your Putter

[Photo of Michelle Wie at the 2014 HSBC Women's Champions via Getty Images]

November 20, 2012

Stop waiting for Michelle Wie to be a superstar and just let her play golf

Posted at 12:20 AM by Brady Riggs

Wie_bradyMichelle Wie shot 69 on Sunday at the LPGA’s season-ending CME Championship to finish T62 at 10 over. Some would say it was another disappointing result in a disappointing season. Personally, I’m surprised she’s doing so well with all the junk she’s had to deal with throughout her career.

I know it’s not a popular opinion, but I never thought Wie would be the superstar that everyone else did. The expectations have always been way too high. She’s never won a lot and she has never done anything at any level to make me think she would be a world-beater on the LPGA Tour.

The stats bear this out. Wie notched just one top 10 finish in 2012 -- her first full season on the LPGA Tour since graduating from Stanford in June. Her putting stats are poor (128th in putting average) and her greens in regulation are just so-so (65th). She still hits it far -- third in driving distance -- but she’s not getting anything out of it.

The truth is, at 23, Wie is just another young woman trying to make a living at professional golf. She’s won, she’ll win again and she’ll probably have a nice career. But the expectations that she would win lots of majors were totally unfair.

You can point to a lot of factors: her parents’ intense involvement in her career (including the insane idea that she should play against men), and the media’s push to bill her as the Tiger Woods of women’s golf. There’s a lot of blame to go around, but it shouldn’t fall on Wie. I have a 13-year-old daughter, and I couldn’t imagine her having to face the kind of pressure that’s been on Wie since her early teens.

That pressure hasn’t gone away, either. In her first full season, Wie actually played worse than when she was a college student and part-time player. The feeling that she should “turn the corner” now that she’s playing full-time ended up putting more pressure on her. She’ll play a lot better once she doesn’t feel the weight of the world on her shoulders.

From the start, Wie said she couldn’t play golf full-time. I don’t think golf is as important to her as it is to many of the girls out there. A lot of them haven’t finished four-year degrees. They don’t have as many interests. Wie is a well-rounded young woman who enjoys other things. Good for her.

What Wie needs to succeed in golf is to play in more events like the Solheim Cup. She’s played pretty well in her two appearances. These events are great for Wie because the focus is on the team and not on her. It seemed like the other players really opened up to her in that environment.

But what would really be best for Wie is for all of us to judge her game on its merits, and not on what people thought she’d be when she was 13. She has the potential to be a pretty good LPGA pro if we’d all just give her a break.

[Photo: Michelle Wie at the 2012 Lorena Ochoa Invitational in November. Getty Images]

February 16, 2009

Tough loss, but Michelle Wie will win soon

Posted at 12:19 PM by Carol Preisinger

How ironic that Michelle Wie left college life at Stanford to play in her first LPGA event as a rookie, only to find herself tied and paired with Angela Stanford on the final day. But this Stanford had a class for Wie as well, and it was called "How to Close Out a Tournament." Wie is just a couple of credits short of graduation.

Wie_300 Going into the final round at the SBS Open at Turtle Bay, Wie carried herself like a winner, leading by 3 strokes at the turn. But, oh my, how things can turn around faster than a 50-mile-per-hour gust of wind. For 45 holes of the 54-hole event, the typical Hawaiian trade winds were blowing in Wie's favor. Then her tee shot found the hazard on No. 11, beginning a chain of events between Wie and Stanford that all the winds in Hawaii couldn't change.

Stanford and Wie simply changed places on the last nine after a two-shot swing on 11 in Stanford's favor. After taking a drop from the lateral hazard, Wie hit her third shot just over the 11th green. Her next shot, a short chip, ended up short and nowhere near the hole. A fabulous two-putt saved double bogey. It's easy to say "what if," but Wie lost the possibility of an up-and-down to save a shot after what looked like a rushed effort to hit that chip shot.

Hole 13 is where Stanford taught Wie a lesson in experience. Taking deliberate time with each shot, managing the wind and hitting irons with precision, Stanford birdied three holes in a row, propelling her lead to two shots. Then, Wie struck back on 16, sticking her second shot within 3 1/2 feet of the hole, only to miss the birdie putt. Another shot gone with the wind that would have put Wie only one back. After a drive into a fairway bunker on 17, Michelle made her last bogey of the day, and finished with a par on 18.

Before hitting her second shot on 18, the camera zoomed in on Wie and her caddie having a laugh about something. It was nice to see her giggle. It was good to see her comfortable and happy. It was great to see her in contention to win. After she signed her card and posted the second-place finish, Wie admitted her disappointment but said she will take a lot of positives from this experience.

And there were many positives, with only a couple of hiccups. Wie will win, sooner rather than later. After all, she really didn't lose this one; Stanford just came on strong and blew right by Wie.

(Robert Beck/SI)

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Carol Preisinger is director of instruction at the Kiawah Island Golf Club. To learn more about Carol, visit carolpreisinger.com .

December 08, 2008

Michelle Wie proves something to peers and herself

Posted at 10:52 AM by Brian Mogg

Wie_300 I have received three sponsor’s exemptions over the years when competing on the PGA Tour and it is an odd feeling. You feel a sense of gratitude toward the sponsor, but among your peers you can’t escape the feeling that you haven't qualified to play as virtually everyone else has.

When Michelle Wie plays LPGA events in 2009, she will feel more comfortable and should receive warmer treatment from her peers because after Q-School they’ll now see her as an equal and not a novelty act with a sponsor's exemption. We can all remember our first year in junior high or high school and how awkward it was to initially fit in. Michelle has had to deal with being the newcomer as well as some jealous feelings from her peers at the financial perks she has received--in addition to the exemptions--just to play in some events.

For her to go through Q-School and actually "earn" something on her own will carry much weight with her peers and more importantly with her own psyche. Michelle’s family didn’t take the route Earl Woods chose for Tiger, where Tiger learned to win and dominate the junior and amateur ranks before becoming a professional. By turning pro so early, Michelle missed the lessons that winning teaches: one of the most important is how to parlay your early wins into even more success. Q-School is probably the most grueling experience of any sport. For Michelle to go through the first stage several weeks ago and now to go through the final five rounds and play well is a real accomplishment.

The pressure from Q-School is unparalleled within the game. It is either “Yes, I got my card" or "No, I missed it.” As I look back at my own experiences from successfully making it through two Q-Schools, and missing about eight times, my strongest memory is the raw emotion of it all. I remember coming off the 108th and final hole one year realizing I had made it. I got into a cart with my wife to ride back to the clubhouse and I was overcome by an ecstatic feeling of accomplishment. However, we shared the cart with a player who had missed by one shot. Tears were streaming down his face at the effort he had put into accomplishing his dream and the realization that it wouldn't happen. Controlling my happiness and also coming up with words of encouragement and empathy for my fellow competitor is something that still stirs strong emotions.

Q-School stories of horror and disaster are countless and I am sure that Michelle was thinking some of these thoughts Saturday night as she approached her final round. She had a large cushion and could afford a poor round, but the mind is powerful and some of the negatives that can creep in are almost enough to make you freeze up. We all probably remember the scorecard mistake by Jaxon Brigman several years back. Brigman made it on the number the last day but had an extra stroke on his card that he didn't catch and had to accept the higher results.

As a coach it is difficult to follow your students at Q-School as you want so badly for them to have the success they are striving for. All you can do is prepare them and do your best to share from your experiences what you believe they will need to do to pass the test. As I watched Michelle to see if she was going to make it, I was also watching two of my students and their progress. I have helped Molly Fankhauser with her short game over the last four months. After almost keeping her card as a rookie this year, Molly decided to go back to Q-School and finished comfortably in the top 10. Lisa Ferrero is a very talented girl who had a solid year on the Futures Tour. She was 3-under par through two rounds of Q-School and in good shape but had a tough third round and ended up missing by a few shots. She will need to go back to the Futures Tour and see if she can improve and get one of the top five spots from the money list that will give her direct access to the LPGA and not have to go through Q School next year.

I hope Michelle and Molly use their Q-School experiences to achieve even more success on the LPGA Tour next year. They sure earned it.

(Photo: David Walberg/SI)

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brian Mogg is director of instruction at Golden Bear Club at Keene's Point in Windemere, Fla.

December 07, 2008

Michelle Wie earns a card, and respect

Posted at 7:10 PM by Carol Preisinger

I have to admit, I’ve never been a huge fan of the Michelle Wie camp. I’ve seen firsthand the high expectations a father can have for his child’s playing potential. As the daughter of a retired life member of the PGA, I’m occasionally reminded of my father’s hope, way back in the 1970s, that I would be the next Laura Baugh. But my father’s dream never turned into a nightmare. I’ve always disagreed with the way B.J. Wie chose to orchestrate his daughter’s public persona, and as that arrangement started to melt down, I began to feel sorry for Michelle. Now, I have made a 180-degree turn. I owe her respect, although the verdict is still out on the people around her.

Still a student at Stanford this fall, Michelle decided to go for her LPGA Tour card and succeeded. She made good decisions and produced great results. So far, the only controversy she has created is by keeping quiet, choosing to stay focused on her game. She has finally accepted that there are no short cuts to success.

Of course, she needed her LPGA card more than ever this year, as her sponsor's-exemption act was wearing thin at age 19. But whatever her reasons, at least she is out there earning her way like everyone else. She will wake up next week with her Tour card, and perhaps look back on the last several years as just a bad dream.

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Carol Preisinger has been LPGA teaching professional for more than 20 years. She teaches at the Kiawah Island Club in South Carolina

August 18, 2008

Why Michelle Wie has few friends on the LPGA Tour

Posted at 4:25 PM by Anne Cain

Michellewie_081708_2_2 Michelle Wie finished 12th at the Canadian Open this weekend, which wasn’t good enough to earn her an LPGA card for 2009. If she wants to earn the respect of full-time LPGA Tour players, she needs to go through qualifying school this year and stop relying on sponsors' exemptions.

LPGA players view Michelle with mixed reactions. When she first appeared on the scene, many were in awe of her ball-striking and playing ability. She was welcomed with open arms. The LPGA, in fact, modified a rule to allow her to play with more exemptions. But the tide turned when she made multiple attempts to play with the men at PGA Tour events. To some, it felt like she was snubbing the validity and competitive quality of the LPGA Tour. To make things worse, Michelle got on Annika Sorenstam’s bad side when she withdrew from the Ginn tournament last year after almost breaking the 88 rule. (The LPGA's 88 rule stipulates that any non-LPGA player who doesn't break 88 in a round is not allowed to finish the tournament or play in any other tournaments for the rest of the season.) That is when many of the players started feeling resentment.

While most LPGA players respect Michelle’s ability, it is her career decisions that have hurt her reputation, and many players blame her parents. Helen Alfredsson recently said she felt sorry for Michelle and believes that the people managing her (in other words, her parents) have created the problems.

Michelle now claims she is making her own decisions but hasn’t give any clues as to her desires and goals for the future. The LPGA will welcome her only if she goes through the qualifying process and becomes a full-time committed member. Otherwise, she will lose fans and support by the minute.

(Photo: Michelle Wie during the final round of the Canadian Women's Open/AP)

August 03, 2008

Wie's decisions befuddling to most

Posted at 7:20 PM by Anne Cain

Turn back the clock four years and an exciting young player is attempting to make history in a PGA Tour event. At 14, Michelle Wie was trying to be the first female and the youngest player to make the cut at a PGA Tour event. Wie was given a sponsor's exemption to the 2004 Sony Open and missed the cut by one stroke after carding a 72-68 in the first two rounds.  People started talking, and invitations poured in for this young phenom to participate in both men's and women's events globally.

Through the next two years Wie created quite a buzz, and the LPGA could not get enough of her.  The tour even modified its rules to allow Wie to participate more often despite the fact that she is not classified as a member of the LPGA Tour because she has never qualified or earned enough money to be exempt. Still, Wie posted impressive finishes at several major events.

She clearly has the desire, but one could easily question her judgment and the judgment of those managing her career.  As welcoming as the LPGA has been, Wie is still shooting for the stars by agreeing to play in high-risk, low-return men's events throughout the season. Before aiming for the heavens, she should make sure her rocket is full of fuel.  Otherwise, it's a long fall back to earth, although Wie's landing has been cushioned by the money that is pouring in.

Wie_300 If there were a year Wie could erase, it might be 2007.  She stirred the ire of Annika Sorenstam, and many other LPGA players, by dropping out of Sorenstam's tournament when it appeared Wie would break the rule of 88.  She did finish the year, though, with one great stat: she was the fifth-ranked female athlete in earnings for 2007 with $12 million (Annika is 6th with $11 million).  Four female tennis players occupied the slots above her.

Fast forward to the present, 2008.  Wie is still not a member of any tour, and to make life even more fun is now enrolled at Stanford.  Her game is showing signs of improvement, but not her decision-making skills. She is playing on several sponsors' exemptions, but she is no longer the draw that she was earlier in her career.  Her chances of securing a 2009 LPGA card now rest with her winning enough money in events in which she receives sponsors' exemptions.  In the last half of the season, only three opportunities remain. Otherwise, she could be headed to the first of two stages of qualifying.  Her father said that she may have to attend Q-school in the fall, to which Wie replied: "I think the qualifying conflicts with school, so I probably won't go to that."

Perhaps her father, B.J., might suggest she read a USGA rules book. At her last LPGA event, the State Farm Classic, she was a shot off the lead going into the final round when it was discovered by Tour officials that she had failed to sign her scorecard after the second round. A win or a high finish would have all but guaranteed her enough money to finish in the top 80 on the money list. That would have given her an exemption for 2009.

This week Wie, 18, competed on the PGA Tour for the eighth time in four years, and she has yet to make a cut. To play in this event, she had to pass on an opportunity to play in the Women's British Open at Sunningdale in England. That will not help her prospects to earn exempt status for 2009.  By missing the cut, she gained nothing.  It didn't make good sense from a business or a career standpoint.

Many in the golfing world are befuddled at the decision, including her coach, David Leadbetter.  Why miss another cut and risk reinjuring her wrist by swinging too aggressively? 

"I'm one of Michelle's greatest fans, but what we're seeing now smacks of what happened last year," Leadbetter said. "Then, she tried to come back far too soon and did none of the necessary rehab work. Now, just when there's this little light at the end of the tunnel, they [her parents and agent] have her back playing against the men."

Perhaps Wie should take counsel from some of the greatest players in the game.  Her career is certainly not patterned after any player who has longevity and success.  Annika Sorenstam, who played in her last major this week before she steps away from the game, may have said it best: "I really don't know why Michelle continues to do this."

It will be interesting to see how Wie finishes her 2008 season.  Will she attempt to become a full time player on the LPGA (by attending Q-School) or continue on invitations and sponsors’ exemptions in 2009? Let’s hope she makes the right decision so we can all see more of this talented young player in the winner’s circle.

(Photo: Max Morse/Getty Images)

July 29, 2008

It's not too late for Michelle

Posted at 1:18 PM by Peter Krause

Michelle Wie is playing this week's PGA Tour event in Reno.  A few years ago, this would have caused great excitement among the media and the fans. As this young phenom teed it up with the men, there would have been intense speculation about her ability to make the cut.  But now, many folks in the golfing world are shaking their heads and saying, "Not again."

It's really sad to see a young woman with so much talent undergo so much criticism. She's been under more scrutiny in her short career than most players endure in a 25-year career.

Wie_300x389 In just a few years, we have seen her struggle with her game, get disqualified for an improper drop, withdraw from a tournament due to heat exhaustion and have her integrity questioned by the No. 1 female player when Wie was on the verge of not breaking 90. Countless experts have criticized her parents as over-controlling. Most recently, she was disqualified for failing to sign her scorecard when she was in position to win the State Farm Classic.

To be fair on the last issue, LPGA officials should have caught the error in the first place.  In all the years I participated in tournaments the officials never let me leave the table without two signatures, so why did it take them a day to find her mistake?  Sometimes you can't help but wonder if she's snakebitten.

Personally, I would have liked to have seen Wie come up through the amateur ranks and learn how to compete and beat her peers.  When you learn how to win, the spoils will come.  But she jumped right from the wading pool into the deep end.    By turning professional, she never experienced that training ground, and now she can only play in a handful of LPGA events on sponsors' exemptions.  Even when she has played, she has not been very competitive.

So playing with the men on the PGA Tour is one of her only options.  Do I think she should play? No, but I don't blame her. Where else is she going to play?

It's hard to say how she'll perform in Reno, but her presence means someone else is missing out. In a second-tier tour event like the Reno-Tahoe Open, a guy on the bubble could get a spot in the field and have a great week. She's taking that opportunity away from him.  But the tournament organizers aren't concerned about that. It's all about selling tickets, and people will come out to watch Wie.

Do I think it's too late to turn her career around? No, she has the talent. She needs to go to Q-School, get her card, play on the LPGA Tour, and learn how to compete and win. Then she can take her crack at the men. As Smith Barney would say, she has to do it the old-fashioned way. She has to earn it.

(Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)


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