Michelle Wie, Kevin Streelman, and the Winners and Losers from the Week in Golf
For the second week in a row, golf fans have been treated to a show.
A week after Martin Kaymer's dissection of Pinehurst No. 2, Michelle Wie put on quite a performance of her own en route to her first career win at the same course.
Speaking of performances, Kevin Streelman put on a scoring clinic over his final seven holes at the Travelers Championship.
Who else joins Wie and Streelman as winners this week? Who lands among the losers? Read on to see.
Winner: Michelle Wie
When Wie poured in a 25-foot birdie putt at the 17th hole Sunday, she effectively sealed her first major victory and delivered on the promise she's shown since she was a teenager.
The win, her fourth as a professional, comes 11 years after she tied for ninth at the Kraft Nabisco Championship as an amateur.
As Wie said of the victory, via The Associated Press' Doug Ferguson, "I had so many people surrounding me. They never lost faith in me. That's pushed me forward."
Wie is golf's biggest winner this week.
Loser: The Back 9 at TPC River Highlands
The back nine at TPC River Highlands is dead; Streelman killed it Sunday.
The closing stretch, designed by Robert Ross and Maurice Kearney, was absolutely torched by Streelman during the final round en route to his one-stroke victory.
Streelman birdied holes 12 through 18 in impressive fashion to capture his second career victory (and his second in as many years).
Winner: Pinehurst No. 2 and the USGA
Questions abounded in the weeks leading up to the U.S. Open and the U.S. Women's Open about how well the USGA would be able to execute back-to-back majors at the same venue.
Martin Kaymer was one of three players under par at the men's competition, while Wie was the lone player under par at the Women's Open. With its unstated imperative of protecting par while presenting a fair layout, the USGA has to be pleased with how things played out at its dual opens and how it handled the bevy of logistical challenges.
Pinehurst No. 2 and the USGA laid the foundation for one of the most dominant performances in U.S. Open history with Kaymer's win and Wie's first career major win.
Loser: Rory McIlroy
Just when it seemed Mr. McIlroy had things figured out...
For the second year in a row, Rory McIlroy missed the cut at the Irish Open. True, he was only a stroke outside the cut line, but he needs to make statements in lower-tier tournaments, not miss cuts.
An opening-round 74 put McIlroy behind the eightball, and he wasn't able to rally during the second round. While this may be an outlier (It's McIlroy's first finish outside of the top 25 this year.), it's still a significant disappointment for the Ulsterman.
Winner: Lucy Li
Wie may have won the U.S. Women's Open, but 11-year-old Lucy Li captured many hearts and minds with both her play and her press conferences this week.
Li fired two rounds of 78 to miss the cut at Pinehurst No. 2. She didn't embarrass herself at the major track and was nowhere near finishing last in the field. With ample spunk, colorful garb, abundantly stamped wedges, and braids and braces aplenty, the bubbly Californian was a presence.
In press conferences, Li was all giggles and smiles. Just watch the video.
Losers: Denver Broncos Rookies
Luke Kerr-Dineen of Golf Digest reported that Peyton Manning likes to take Denver Broncos rookies out for a friendly round of golf.
Sounds fun, right?
As Dineen writes, "Manning will reportedly critique every element of the new recruit's swing, move their feet into the position he wants them and bark orders before -- eventually -- letting his teammate hit the ball."
Manning, who is a single-digit handicap, uses the round as an opportunity to introduce new recruits to his field-general style of leadership. Being thrown into the fire with Manning on the golf course, especially for those players who have never picked up a golf club, cannot be a pleasant experience.
Winner: Golf Fans and the Game of Golf
Tiger Woods unexpectedly announced he'll be teeing it up at next week's Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club via his Facebook page earlier this week. The decision to return to the golf course and play his way into form just a week after returning to full shots is a marked departure from Woods' previous returns from injury.
Obviously, the return of Woods to competitive golf is great for television ratings and tournament attendance. Having him in the field (especially at the tournament he hosts) is an absolute good, and golf fans and the game as a whole win accordingly.
Loser: David Duval
David Duval is running out of ways to continue playing golf on the PGA Tour. Using sponsor's exemptions and past-champion status, Duval needs quality finishes in order to climb the tour money list. At 193rd in the FedEx Cup points list presently, he's not in any danger of making the playoffs.
Having made just three of nine cuts this year, Duval came to Connecticut hoping for a quality performance. After an opening two-under 68, Double D seemed to be headed in a good direction. However, in the head-scratching reversal of fortunes that has come to define the former world No. 1's play the past several years, he promptly fired a second-round 83 to finish last in the field and miss the cut.