Posted February. 19, 2009 08:17,
Michelle Wie might have lost in her first LPGA tournament as a pro last week, but cannot blame her young age or lack of experience since she is 19.
Nonetheless, her second-place finish has excited the Korean media as well as the LPGA and golf channels because it means the return of her star power.
Her collapse in the SBS Opens final round, however, shows Wie is not exactly the womens answer to Tiger Woods. She has drawn heavy media attention since age 12 and has played a combined 64 amateur and professional tournaments in the United States.
In golf, the championship group round on the final day of the tour is a match play. Players in the same round with Woods tend to be discouraged by his presence and give up playing. That explains his reputation as a threatening player, or a player who overwhelms a tournament.
Woods has a record of 44-3 in tournaments decided in the final round, meaning he rarely chokes in clutch time.
Wie made her season debut on her home ground. Rain and strong winds are no excuse for her. The inclement weather could have placed SBS Open winner Angela Stanford at a disadvantage, but the result was the opposite.
Though Wie took a three-stroke lead on the 10th hole of the third round, she made a double bogey on the 11th, giving Stanford the break she needed. Wie said she made a mistake due to heavy pressure to win, but this type of excuse is not indicative of a great player.
Wie has earned tens of millions of dollars and is backed by dozens of staff. For a player of such stature, suffering a reversal is unimaginable. Woods was five strokes behind on the 12th hole at the 2006 U.S Amateur Championship, but he won.
Wies late collapse in her first LPGA tournament as a pro was a clear setback for her. Nobody will fear her in the final round.
Yogi Berra, a baseball Hall of Famer and former manager, said Baseball is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical. Golf, however, is more a mental game than baseball.