Wie’s problems go beyond the golf course

Bobby Curran
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Friday - July 04, 2008
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Watching Michelle Wie at the U.S. Women’s Open last week, it’s obvious that the former prodigy is a shadow of her former self. An opening round of 81 all but eliminated any chance of her playing on the weekend. In addition to the injury to her wrist and the ensuing loss of confidence after a year of poor play, there are other problems with Wie.

1) Team Wie When asked about the possibility of Michelle going through Q-School, father B.J. Wie had a curious response: “I don’t know what other options we may have.“It’s clear that Mom and Dad have a huge influence, watching every shot Michelle hits and accompanying her on every practice round.

2) David Leadbetter People are saying privately that the swing changes Leadbetter instituted to give Wie more distance have not worked. Not only has the steeper backswing not delivered more distance, but it’s cost her accuracy and destroyed the natural rhythm that caused analyst Johnny Miller to call it “the sweetest swing in golf - men or women.” That was just two years ago.

3) The Revolving Caddy Team Wie changes caddies like other people change socks. They are hiring caddies on a very short trial basis and eliminating the kind of relationship that can help so much in tournament play. According to NBC golf analyst Mark Rolfing,“It’s hard in such a short time for Michelle and her caddy to develop the trust that allows the caddy to intervene when a golfer is unaware of changing circumstances.”

It’s too early to write off a talent like Michelle Wie, but there is a lot of work to be done - not all of it on the golf course.

And now, from the people who brought you work stoppages, strikes, canceled World Series, widespread steroid use and tainted records, the newest activity that’s all the rage is front office bashing.

After Houston Astros’ pitcher Shawn Chacon threw GM Ed Wade to the floor twice after Wade had the effrontery to ask Chacon to see his manager, the Astros have decided to terminate Chacon for cause.

Of course, the union is springing to Chacon’s defense, saying the club must pay the $1 million or so remaining on Chacon’s contract. After all, what’s a little harmless GM tossing?

Days later, and not to be outdone for sheer outrageousness, Boston Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez decided to deck Bosox traveling secretary Jack McCormick after McCormick said he might not be able to round up 16 tickets for Ramirez for that night’s game in Houston - a high number for a day-of-game request. The two men met in a closed-door meeting brokered by Red Sox management. Ramirez apologized, McCormick accepted the apology and the Red Sox announced no further disciplinary action is planned.

Boston manager Terry Franconca said,“Sometimes things happen, and when they do, we choose to handle them internally. I’m satisfied with how we handled this.”

Not terribly surprising since Ramirez is the hitting star of the Red Sox. Nor was much made of Ramirez cracking teammate Kevin Youklis in the face during a dugout argument June 5. Think Manny has some impulse-control issues?

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