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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Welcome Back, Michelle!

To the leaderboard, that is. Michelle Wie's second-round 66 vaulted her into a tie for 2nd, a mere shot off the lead of Suzann Petterson. And that 66 wasn't just the lowest round in the field so far this week, but it was her lowest ever at a U.S. Women's Open... by 3 shots! To say it shocked almost everybody would be an understatement. And the fact that she did it in large part with her putting -- she had 13 one-putt greens -- really caused some talk. I thought some of what she said in her presser after the round was pretty revealing.

Michelle's photoMichelle's take on it all was pretty matter-of-fact:
Yeah, I'm pretty stoked to be back in contention and honestly not have to worry about the cut line.  It feels pretty good.  I'm looking forward to a good weekend it feels pretty good.
She's been working on her putting with Meg Mallon. (Meg's the next Solheim captain. That makes sense, doesn't it?) About her putting she said:
I went to the belly putter, the regular putter.  I haven't really changed putters since earlier this year.  And just been working on my confidence, really.  Just ‑‑ I know my stroke is good when I look at it on the cameras or any time I put a number on it.  It's perfect.  So I have to trust it.  And know that I'm a good putter.  That's what I talked to Meg with a lot, is that I think once everyone was like what is happening with her putting, it kind of got to my head a little bit.  I have to trust myself.  I know I'm a good putter. I've been a good putter, and I can be.
Likewise, she's been working with VISION54:
I worked quite a bit with Pia and Lynn of Vision54.  We worked on a lot of different drills and stuff.  And just believing in yourself.  Even when you're kind of not playing well.  Kind of try to look at the positives and at least bring out one positive, one good thing that you did and keep working on it.
I thought it was very interesting that Suzann Petterson simply told the media:
So she's a great player.  Michelle is a very ‑‑ awfully talented and has a lot of game.  I think you should give her a break. She just graduated, four years in college. That's pretty impressive to do that on the sideline of trying to compete out here.
So now it's obviously a little different world for her.  Now it's all about golf, and she has to kind of find her schedule, how to kind of work it out the best way for her.
I think that's something everybody has been overlooking. We don't seem too surprised when a player wins a major -- a one-week enterprise -- and then their game tanks for a year while they enjoy the accomplishment and take time to adjust to their new situation. And yet Michelle has just finished getting a college degree from Stanford -- a difficult multiple-year enterprise that very few young golfers even attempt anymore -- and we're all shocked that maybe, just maybe the last few months have been at least as satisfying (and disorienting) to her as they would be to a major winner.

Michelle was quoted in a Friday Golf Digest article (and it was mentioned during the ESPN2 broadcast as well):
"I don't know if anyone gave up on me or not," Wie said. "I'm sure some did and some didn't. But I never gave up on myself, and today was a good reminder to myself what I can do and I still have it."
I don't know if Michelle is "back" yet, and I don't know if she'll win this week's major. But it's nice to know that she's comfortable with who she is and what she's doing... regardless of what her critics think. To me, that says she'll have the last laugh.

BTW, the news page that I took these quotes from mentions that Morgan Pressel's WD -- both Friday and last week -- are due to a thumb injury. That would also explain some of the wild shots she hit.

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