Michelle Wie – what has gone wrong?


I like watching golf events. I watch a lot of golf on TV including the LPGA Tour. This morning I was watching a reply of Michelle Wie performing in the Samsung World Championships.

I first saw her in 2003, I think she was 13 years old and playing in a Nationwide Tour event. I couldn’t believe it. At the time I couldn’t imagine a 13 year old boy good enough to play with grown men, let alone a young girl (not trying to be sexist). Although she missed the cut, she played quite well…better than any junior girl I’d ever seen.

She progressed quickly…making it onto the LPGA Tour and performing well. Although she never won, she did have some near misses and gained plenty of respect with her great play.

This year is different. A Cinderella story turned nightmare. How can a superbly talented golfer go from such a high to so low in only a year or so?

To me the answer is easy…

Poor coaching. And maybe some poor management…a topic I’d rather not get into.

The coaching of Michelle Wie is nothing short of a disgrace. It shouldn’t be possible for this to happen. But it has and I think some heads should roll.

Michelle Wie should be living the dream life of a young golfer, winning events, pleasing the crowds and playing the kind of golf that would see millions of devoted fans watching her every move. What I saw this morning was like a freak show…replaying hooked drives and short approaches missing the target by miles! At 13 she was playing golf like a seasoned veteran. At 18, she is playing golf like a really good 13 year old amateur.

I don’t think it is her fault. I hate swing gurus that jump in and try and take over and ‘manage’ a player’s game. They try and justify their high income by making unnecessary adjustments and tinker for the sake of it. Michelle Wie became a great player (replace great with sensational or unbelievable etc) by just playing. At 13 she had no fear and didn’t think about how to play…she just played. The ideal mindset to do anything.

Too many lessons and too much thinking has destroyed her once natural game. The coaches are to blame. They couldn’t leave her alone and let her game develop naturally. Now she is struggling the usual remedy is to have more lessons and technical advice. This will only make matters worse. I fear if she is not left alone her current problems will only be compounded and maybe lose her once awesome game or good.

The remedy for Wie is to get away from the experts and start playing ‘her’ game again. She needs to hit her way out of the problem…probably playing some smaller events and working her way back up again. No good playing those big events with all of the spotlight…just not good for confidence or enthusiasm.

She should sack her coaches and anyone else giving her too much advice. Michelle Wie knows best, after all it was she that got to the top in the first place! Her situation is not lost…her graceful and powerful game can be returned, but she needs to change her approach and make some tough decisions.

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Jerold - October 18, 2007


There have been stories suggesting that Michelle Wie may have lost some interest in golf. Do you think this could be a factor to her declining form.

Also, do you think that Tiger Woods is techinically minded or adopts a natural automated approach when it comes to his swing. When I watch Tiger play on television, to me, I have the impression that his swing is very techincal. I read an article that Tiger wanted to improve his swing by improving his swing plane. What do you think?


admin - October 18, 2007

Hi Jerold,

I think Michelle Wie has lost interest because she is playing poorly. If she was playing better she would be playing more events and appear more happy. There have also been some stories that she has been injured. I believe this to be some sort of excuse from her ‘team’. If the injury was really bad she wouldn’t be able to play at all. But each time she has a melt down or poor score the injury gets another mention. My opinion is if she is teeing it up she is ready to play…no excuses should be allowed.

Tiger Woods is an interesting story. I personally believe he is the most natural and automated golfer playing today. He plays the same way all the time…from the first hole to the last.

Golf magazines and others like to write stories about him to sell magazines etc. The swing plane thing has been around for a while…I really don’t think it matters that much. His swing will naturally change as he gets older…but I honestly don’t believe he is thinking about it while he plays.

I also think that he gets interviewed so much that he has to make things up to help the interviewer. It wouldn’t make good reading if he said, “I just walk up to the ball and hit it!”. Much better to say, “I’ve been working on flatening my swing plane the last few weeks. It seems to be helping. I’m hitting the ball more consistently and longer”. I’m sure the second response sells more papers.

Tiger is in the freak category because he can work on technical aspects away from the course but still play well in competition. This is rare. Many golfers go missing for weeks, months or even years when they try and change their golf swing.

If you want to be like Tiger learn to play more naturally and instinctive. Let rip in your own unique way. This is what Tiger does so well. No human alive could pull off those incredible shots time after time with conscious control. It’s just not possible.

Good golfing,

Cameron Strachan

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