JOHN DEERE CLASSIC
Michelle Wie withdrew from the John Deere Classic halfway through yesterday's second round. One of her playing partners complained of slow play by Wie.
Gove gets more than enough of Wie
The PGA Tour veteran says playing with Wie hampers his ability to play his best golf
SILVIS, Ill. » Gove doesn't rhyme with love, especially when it comes to Michelle Wie.
Jeff Gove took 143 swings to complete his first two rounds at the John Deere Classic (missing the cut). Then he took some whacks at Wie, his playing partner who withdrew due to illness halfway through yesterday's second round, with no chance of making the cut.
Wie has gotten into five PGA Tour events via sponsor's exemptions, and while the legion of critics of the practice continues to grow, they didn't -- for the record, anyway -- include any of her playing partners ... until yesterday, when Gove sounded off on Wie, mostly for slow play.
"She's got to learn to play faster and be a little more respectful of the other players, things of that nature," Gove said. "Just being ready to play. Realizing we were behind yesterday and not doing anything about it. Some of that's (the media's) fault, giving her too much attention too early."
Gove said he wasn't aware that Wie -- who withdrew and received medical treatment for heat exhaustion after nine holes -- was ill to the point of calling it a day.
"She just said, 'I'm going to withdraw,' which was good because she was holding us up again," Gove said.
Wie was 2 over par through nine holes, 8 over for the tournament, when she withdrew.
Gove is a veteran pro who bounced back from the Nationwide Tour and has two top 10s and $511,836 in earnings this year. He said he doesn't think the 16-year-old is ready for the rigors of a PGA Tour event.
"She's got a beautiful swing, but she's got her name on her bags and she needs to be professional. And she's not there yet. She's got a little time. I know she's 16. But if she wants to play pro golf, she needs to learn how to act," he said.
Being partnered with Wie affected his ability to play well, said Gove, who shot rounds of 74 and 69 -- noticeably better in the round he was with Wie for only nine holes.
Michelle Wie wiped her face before her putt on the fifth hole during the second round yesterday.
"I saw she was hurting, but she never said anything. And she was walking real slow, which I thought was inconsiderate again because we're trying to keep up. If we get on the clock again, that's painful," Gove said. "I'm trying to play golf. I'm here to win the tournament. And I never had a rhythm in two days, so that was unfortunate. We definitely had a tougher go than the rest of the guys, which isn't fair."
The third player in their group, Daisuke Maruyama, had no problem making the cut. He shot 6-under 136 and went into today's third round tied for 15th.
Earlier in the day, Joe Ogilvie, the tournament leader at 10 under, voiced nothing but praise for Wie.
Speaking before Wie's withdrawal, but after her first-round 6-over-par 77, Ogilvie said Wie's play compares favorably to that of Tiger Woods' at her age, and that she definitely belongs in PGA Tour events.
"I played with Tiger and Tiger wasn't this good," Ogilvie said. "I think she's more in control of her game than Tiger was. Tiger was a much better putter, but I think Michelle is ... she's got all the shots. Michelle is probably in control more of her wedge game than Tiger was."
Ogilvie also said he thinks Wie should play in more PGA Tour events, especially those with fewer entrants (easier to make the cut) -- and it's OK with him if she doesn't have to qualify to get in.
"If someone has a problem with Michelle Wie getting a sponsor exemption, they don't understand what we're about," Ogilvie said. "Our job is to entertain. That's why we're out here. We're playing golf, but at the same time it's entertainment. We're not curing cancer out here, we're just trying to get the ball in the hole."
JDC chairman Clair Peterson wouldn't confirm yesterday that Wie will be invited back next year. But he indicated it's a strong possibility.
"There's nothing that's happened this year that changes our mind about what she can add to the tournament," Peterson said, speaking after Wie went to the hospital.
We'll let the guy who missed the cut have the final word for now.
"Most of the guys out here qualify," Gove said. "If the tournament wants to invite her, they can. But I was definitely negatively affected this week by it."