What A Difference A Year Can Make
One year ago when Michelle Wie WD’d from the ladies U.S. Open I wrote this and I meant every fucking word of it. A lot can happen in a year, and for Michelle it apparently meant growing up as I said she needed to do. She stopped complaining and started owning both her successes and her failures. She also finally got to focus solely on golf instead of both golf and school. The results speak for themselves.
As for the ladies’ Open, I never figured for a minute that the winner of this championship in 2014 would be anyone other than Lexi Thompson or Wie. They’re two of the very few players in the women’s game that can actually spin the ball. They also both hit it well past their competition which allows them to have short clubs into the firm table top greens of Pinehurst. And at a U.S. Open without traditional rough, distance and spin are a huge advantage to have at your disposal.
What Wie did on top of what I just described was out putt the entire field on her way to victory. She didn’t have a single 3 putt this week. I never saw that coming. In fact, I’ve made fun of that putting posture she’s been using as much as anyone with a keyboard and a Twitter account can. I still contend that from the right angle it appear that she’s trying to deep throat her flat stick. Alas, she’s proven me wrong on that front too. What can I do but tip my cap to her?
The Wie from 2013 would have let the situation at 16 be a death blow, but instead she used it to fuel her timely birdie at the 17th that put the championship away. That’s grizzled veteran shit right there. Now the question is what’s next for her? Does this open the door to multiple majors for the season? An eventual grand slam in a future but not too distant year? Will she finally be the dominant golfer that is the face of the ladies game? I can’t say. I think much of this victory had to do with the course set up fitting her strengths, but more trophies will come.
The USGA And Pinehurst
Oh Mike Davis, that mad scientist. First he brings in graduated rough. Then drive-able par 4s. Now an open with no rough and a double header for the men and women on the same course? What will he think of next? There’s no debate that the double dip at Pinehurst was a huge success. It got me to watch more of a women’s tourney than I had all year. Of course it took a minor miracle to avoid a goofy ruling in the native areas or any kind of severe weather delays to pull it all off without a snag, but it did work.
Some folks will clamor that the USGA should do this every year, but that is short sighted and simple minded. You can’t do this everywhere and every year due to course conditions and logistics, but I think we should expect to see it every 5 to 10 years with some regularity depending on the host course. If I were the R&A I’d be ready to follow the USGA’s lead and pull off a double dip at St. Andrews in a few years.