GLADSTONE, N.J. – To say it has been a disappointing season for Michelle Wie is putting it mildly. In five events, she has made only two cuts, her biggest paycheck coming in Thailand: $8,704. She ranks 129th in greens in regulation, 140th in putts and 148th in driving accuracy. Not even her length registers high as she’s 38th in driving distance. The low point? Missing the cut at her home course in Hawaii with rounds of 78-76.
Wie wasn’t asked to come into the media room this week at the Sybase Match Play Championship for a pre-tournament chat. She’ll face Mina Harigae in the first round.
The following is a three-minute conversation with Wie, 22, a recent Stanford graduate, on the state of her game following a rainy practice session (her time was limited):
What have you been working on with David (Leadbetter)?
We went to Orlando, did a lot of short game. Did some work on the machine they have for putting. I just wanted to see if I have a consistent stroke. Just an overall checkup; nothing really major.
What’s the machine?
It’s called “The SAM.” It’s been at the academy for as long as I can remember.
When you’re out here, what are mom and dad looking for? (Her mother, Bo, and father, B.J., are fixtures on the range and putting green.)
Just seeing if I do the same thing. Tempo, alignment. I sometimes align myself right. Just kind of fixing that and seeing if I have a consistent stroke.
Now that you’re out of school, is your practice schedule changing? You obviously have more free time.
It’s nice. If I want to sleep in a little bit, I can. I like to get out in the mornings; it’s hot in Florida. I try to get up by 6:30. On some days I can sleep in, I can be out at 10 a.m. if I want to. It’s nice because I can take a little rest and come back. I can kind of just move the schedule however I want to, which is really nice.
Hawaii had to be hard since that was your home course for years. Take me back there and the feelings that you had of, I’m sure, frustration …
It was really tough. It was very disappointing. It was a very rough Friday for me. I don’t think I’ve hit two OBs in a row since junior golf. It’s just been one of those years, those starts where nothing’s really been working. But I’ve been working a lot on my game and just kind of being patient with myself, keep positive. I still had a lot of good feelings after Hawaii. It’s coming together; just need to break through that wall and have one good week and gain a lot of confidence from it.
When was the last time you had two OBs?
I was 8 or 9. It was in match play … some junior tournament.
Do you feel more pressure now? It’s been kind of slow.
I try not to. Obviously I do. You look at the stats; I’ve been horrible this year. But I can’t really look at that. I still have a lot left in this year. Just have to take it one week at a time. I can’t start pressuring myself more than I am. Just been trying to stay positive and have fun with it. I still have fun when I go out there. It sucks when you play bad; it really does. But I still really enjoy the game, and I can’t wait for it. I’ve been working really hard. Just looking forward for it to pay off.