What's different about this Michelle Wie comeback, the crowds in Mexico, and the elite club already adopting the new Rules of Golf
I Think …
The second (or is it the third) coming of Michelle Wie appears to have arrived. Based on a T-4 finish at the HSBC Women’s Champions, and her outlook afterward, Wie left Singapore in the best state of mind since the 2014 season that produced a breakthrough U.S. Women’s Open victory. OK, so Wie couldn’t protect a two-stroke 54-hole lead with a final-round 72. But it would have been hard for anyone to hold off Inbee Park’s closing 64. As swing instructor David Leadbetter noted about Wie, “To me she’s on the road to recovery.” The key, it appears, is that Wie has found some peace of mind on the greens—yes, even in spite of a derailing four-putt double bogey on the front nine Sunday. Visiting with Leadbetter at the Honda Classic, Wie picked up a new putter in the Callaway truck and shifted from a claw grip used in the Women’s Australian Open to a hybrid claw/Leo Diegel-style set up with both elbows splayed open at address. “I’m really proud of myself,” Wie said. Considering her recent depths, just one top-10 finish since the beginning of 2015, she should be.
I Saw …
The type of galleries in Mexico at Chapultepec I never saw in the corporate atmosphere at Doral during its decade in the WGC rotation. A bonus for tournament organizers was how many fans were following the lead groups. Phil Mickelson used the words “cool,” “terrific,” “supportive,” “flattering” and “nice” to describe the spectators attending the event. Rory McIlroy used “awesome” noting how the kids (16 years old and under) were admitted for free. If this is about growing the game in Mexico, consider it a success. “To play in front of all these people and all the fans and kids here in Mexico is awesome,” said 23-year-old Justin Thomas. Perhaps the best perspective came in the words of Roberto Diaz, the only Mexican-born player in the field, in thanking Grupo Salinas for putting it together when the sponsorship at Trump Doral in Miami fell apart. “This is definitely an inspiration for the entire country,” Diaz said. “What happened here this week was huge. It’s an opportunity for the kids to learn and see the way these guys play. This is huge.”
I Heard …
Bob Ford say on “Morning Drive” that Seminole Golf Club president Jimmy Dunne likes the proposed modernized Rules of Golf so much he wants to start implementing them in club competition—immediately. Instead of waiting until approval in 2019, Dunne confirmed with me that the proposed rules will be followed in the Golden Niblick—a combination member-guest and member-member on Friday. “To wait until 2019 is insane,” Dunne said, adding that feedback could provide value to the USGA executive director Mike Davis (a Seminole member) and his counterpart at the R&A, Martin Slumbers. “I don’t know if they’re all perfect, but they seem tremendously smart to me,” Dunne said of the proposed rules. “We think they all make sense. We’re not afraid to try it.”