With Leadbetter at her side, Wie works to just let it happen

With Leadbetter at her side, Wie works to just let it happen

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With Leadbetter at her side, Wie works to just let it happen

PHOENIX, Ariz. – David Leadbetter stood next to the skybox on the 18th at Wildfire Golf Club and went over video of Michelle Wie’s swing with her father, B.J. It’s the first time he has seen the Wie family since the season-opening event in Ocala, Fla., last January.

“I’m like the guy in the circus with all the plates,” said Leadbetter, who will work with six players this week. “Just keep them spinning.”

Of course, in the case of Michelle, there are three plates in the air. It’s important to keep mom and dad happy, too.

After walking 18 holes with Wie, Leadbetter went to the range to see top-ranked Lydia Ko. Despite a dream opening to 2015, Ko was anxious for Leadbetter to see her swing in Phoenix on Sunday, saying it felt “bad.”

“I told her the swing is fine,” said Leadbetter. “Players are always walking on that sort of edge. Get up one day and it feels good, and the next day it doesn’t feel as good and you’re doing the same thing. It’s sort of the mystery of the game.”

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Wie told her longtime swing doctor that her iron game wasn’t too sharp. In 2014, Wie’s iron game was terrific. (She ranked third on the tour in greens in regulation.) But the artsy Wie likes to tinker with her swing, sometimes straying too far off course.

“I think the problems that I encounter a lot of times is when I try to – David will attest to this, too, I like to get a simple feeling,” said Wie, “and I just try to work too hard at it and then I make it complicated.”

Leadbetter likes to remind her of what worked really well at Pinehurst, site of her U.S. Women’s Open victory and the “the most solid golf” she’s ever played.

One move in particular, Leadbetter said, involved holding the angle longer through impact. Wie has a tendency to stand up out of the shot, which results in shots flaring out to the right, or if she gets too aggressive with her hands, a hook.

“She hit it really, really good out there today,” he said.

One of Wie’s biggest goals in 2015 was to stay healthy. So far that’s been a significant struggle. She came down with Strep throat in the Bahamas, which turned into a sinus infection in Asia.

“The doctor said that I probably won’t be feeling 100 percent for the next couple of weeks,” said Wie, whose best finish so far is a T-24 at the Coates Golf Championship. “I’m feeling a lot better thankfully, but it’s been tough.”

In 2014, Wie said she did an unusually good job of letting go and not trying to be so perfect. This year, however, she has fallen back into the habit of trying too hard.

She hopes that changes going forward.

“I’m kind of back in the mentality of whatever happens, happens,” said Wie. “I’m definitely putting the work in. That’s the kind of mentality I have is I know I’m working hard. I know I’m putting in all the hours. I know that I’m doing everything I can, and when I just go out there, I’ve just got to let things happen and try to free things up.”

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