Musings and Mulligans

Roy Lang III is The Times Assistant Sports Editor. He played golf at Centenary College. He has covered six major golf championships and also covered last year’s Ryder Cup. As an added bonus, both Hal Sutton and David Toms are on his speed-dial.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Wie close but no cigar ... again

Is Michelle Wie ridiculously impressive or in the need of a win big time?
That is the question many golf fans are asking these days.
In my opinion, she needs a win ... like last week.
Wie, 16, has put herself in the position to have to live up to lofty expectations. She turned pro. And just because she's 16 doesn't mean she should be treated any different than the women she competes against. A victory doesn't pay any more for Wie because she's young. It's the same check Annika would cash.
Tiger Woods and his family chose another route -- winning. He collected three U.S. Junior Am titles, three U.S. Amateur tites and an NCAA crown before turning pro exactly 10 years ago. It took him all of five events on the PGA Tour -- at the age of 19 -- to win. He now has 49 career victories.
Wie has finished in the top 5 of every stroke play LPGA Tour event she's played in this season, but has shown a knack for freezing up on the back nine when she's in contention. That has to be related to one thing -- her lack of experience closing the deal.
Will she win? OF course. A lot. But no one should feel like they should take it easy on her close finishes. The decision to put Michelle in the world of professional golf, even at such a tender age, means she's just another competitor.