They say close only counts in horseshoes. For the past four or five years, Michelle Wie has been trying to prove otherwise.
She's gotten fame and fortune like no other LPGA player other than the record-setting Annika Sorenstam, yet Wie has won a grand total of...zero tournaments. No majors. No little ones. Nada, zilch, donut, goose-egg.
In February, Wie played her first tournament as an LPGA Tour member, and she resembled the Wie of a few years ago when she was regularily in contention. The Wie of the past two years was an unhappy Wie, an unhealthy Wie. Physically, her wrist was injured and she over-compensated for that, causing A) soreness elsewhere and B) mental fragileness.
But the new Michelle, all 19 years old of her, was back, and she almost won the LPGAopening tournament in her home state of Hawaii. But tied for the lead starting the final day, once again she found a way to not play well, and found a way to take second place, which was a good payday yes, but still no title.
Just like old times? Yes, and so were the excuses. She refused to own up to the fact that she couldn't come up with her "A" game in yet another final round.
She always says "the putts didn't drop" instead of "I couldn't make the putts in the final round when the title was on the line," as if it was the ball to blame, or the putter. Or her drives "wouldn't stay in the fairway" instead of "I kept missing fairways".
Until she changes that line of thinking, accepts responsibility, she's never going to fulfill her great talent and become a true champion.
Some great players aren't mentally cut out for it. We've seen it in tennis and golf over the years. Barry Bonds was a perennial choke with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the playoffs. So was Alex Rodriguez. They both eventually had some post-season success though, after many years of being booed by their home fans for their post-season choking.
Hopefully, Michelle won't have to turn to the same substance as those ballplayers did. All she has to do is accept responsibility for her choking and take the blame instead of blaming the ball, the club, the wind, the rough, the greens, the temperature, the sun, the rain, the water, or her wrist.
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