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Tiger, LPGA, Michelle & Miguel

by Jeff Skinner

Tiger Woods has said that he’ll be able to start practice next week and will be back on the course in time for Bay Hill.  But with all the injuries haunting Woods lately, we are talking physical injuries here, we have to question Tiger’s durability.  Is this the new normal for Tiger Woods?  He has withdrawn from three different tournaments in the last three years and we have seen him withdraw more often than he has won since 2008.  Jeff Shain says that injuries, not his swing are Tiger’s biggest hurdle and he absolutely right.  Woods can’t stay healthy long enough to refine his game and reap the rewards of his new swing.

The LPGA starts its home season at the RR Donnelly Founders Cup today.  Ron Sirak gives us a preview of how significant this year is for the LPGA and how Michael Whan has put the tour back in the spotlight.  Now after Annika and Lorena have retired, the tour has legitimate superstars.“In the 23-year-old Tseng the LPGA has a legitimate star. She won seven LPGA events last year, five more times on other tours and already has five major championships and is only the U.S. Women’s Open away from becoming the youngest ever — male or female — to complete the career Grand Slam.

Lexi Thompson, the latest can’t-miss American, has already done something it took Wie six years to do — win. Thompson, who turned 17 last month, became the youngest-ever LPGA winner last year at the Navistar LPGA Classic and proved that was no fluke when she won the Dubai Ladies Masters on the Ladies European Tour later in the year.”

It seems like Michelle Wie has been around forever but she is only 22 years old.  The former “can’t miss kid” is finally coming of age as she gets ready to graduate from Stanford University on June 17th.  Wie is the poster girl for putting too much pressure on a prodigy and we all saw her struggle early in her career.  From playing in PGA Tour events to collapsing under the pressure of the spotlight Wie has had to bear more than her share of failure.  But as she grew older we saw glimpses of that tremendous ability with her performance at the Solheim Cup and her two LPGA Tour wins.  Wie always had trouble just being a normal kid.  That comes with the territory when you are a six foot teenager, can out drive plenty of male golfers and have a pair of parents that want her to win The Masters.  Well, Wie finally found her normalcy at Stanford as her parents backed off a bit and she was treated just like one of the rest of the kids on campus.  She realizes how important college was for her and is now ready to move on to the next phase of her life.  “I’m really excited to graduate and get to the next part of my life, where I can focus on golf and have more time to do other things,” Wie says. “But I’m also sad because it’s been the best 4½ years of my life. There’s really no other experience in life like college, where you’re all put into this little bubble and you all grow together.”  Ron Kroichick gives us a current profile of Wie as she says goodbye to Stanford and hello to the LPGA full time.

In another display of what makes him not only the coolest guy in golf but one of the most generous also, Miguel Angel Jimenez has dipped into his own pocket to finance the Andalucian Open.  In an effort to keep the European Tour event in Spain, Jimenez has forked over half a million dollars to keep the tournament afloat.  “It is very important for me that this tournament goes forward and all I am trying to do is do my best,” Jimenez said. “With the way the economy is at present it is difficult to stage any big sporting event because it is not easy to find sponsorship money.  So, while it would be very easy for me to give up I don’t want to give up and want there to be a tournament in this region of Spain.”

 

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