Michelle Wie spoke to reporters right after learning she had been disqualified from the LPGA State Farm Classic.
Golf’s bizarre links
As Norman enjoys his senior moment,Wie's careless error costs her dearly
EVEN if you have only a passing interest in golf, you felt the rub of the green for Greg Norman and Michelle Wie.
How these two golfers landed in the same sentence explains the wonder of a game that allows triumph and tragedy to walk in and out of view with one swing of the club or forgotten stroke of the pen. Both players caught our attention for two different reasons on this Saturday morning.
Norman, a tragic figure in his own right, may be best remembered for his life off the golf course, where he has made $500 million in a variety of successful ventures since basically putting his clubs in the garage. Recently married to Chris Evert, the darling of tennis in the 1970s, Norman is a Rockwell painting, a valuable icon born on golf's expansive fairways.
But when you speak of him in his first life, where golf ruled supreme, what you remember most is his collapse at the 1996 Masters that allowed Nick Faldo's fitting for a third green jacket. Faldo's closing 67 was 11 shots removed from Norman's 78.
Some say it's a microcosm of Norman's career of what might have been rather than what was. Seven previous times he has held or shared a 54-hole lead at a major and won one. The Great White Shark had a dominating presence, capturing 88 tournaments worldwide, including a modest 20 on the PGA Tour. He was the No. 1 player in the world for 331 weeks, but his only two majors were at the British Open in 1986 and 1993.
And that's the measuring stick in this game.
The fact the 53-year-old is the 54-hole leader at the British Open is amazing in itself, regardless what happens today. He hasn't been in this position at a major since that fateful April day at Augusta, Ga., where the world watched Norman have golf's version of a nervous breakdown.
Maybe the game owes him one.
AS FOR WIE, well, that's a different matter, but equally intriguing. The Stanford freshman got smacked down again after the admittedly absent-minded teenager forgot to sign her scorecard on Friday inside the scoring area.
You can say it was the caddie or point the finger at the volunteers at the LPGA State Farm Classic, but the bottom line is this: It's the responsibility of the player to sign the scorecard in the tent area. Could she have gotten a little help? Oh yeah. But the hard knocks the Wie Team has suffered the last two years march on.
Some say Wie is a step-skipper. Had she gone the more-traveled way to stardom, perhaps she would be better prepared for the rigors of Division I golf. It's hard to say and easy to second guess. But this much is certain.
Norman has been kicked around by this game as much as anybody and lived to tell about it. Wie can look back on this as another growth experiment, one to be filed away under carelessness.
And not something that makes her put her clubs away in the garage for good.
Sports Editor Paul Arnett
has been covering sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1990. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org