TEED OFF
By Robert Bicknell
 

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June 10, 2007

Wie bails out, blames wrist, manager, caddie, hot dog vendor, media…

According to LPGA rules, any non-tour member who shoots over 88 in a tournament is barred from competition for a year. So, is it any coincidence that Michelle Wie withdrew from the Ginn Tribute after shooting 14 over par through 16 holes?

After she hit a parked car with a drive on the way to posting a double par on the par 5 10th hole, an 88 was highly probable, despite her claims that wasn’t on her mind when she withdrew.

Naaaah, of course not. It was just another coincidence that she withdrew immediately after her manager stopped her for a quick chat after yet another bogey on the 7th hole.

To compound the problem, two days later, she was practicing at the Bulle Rock Golf Course in Maryland, the site of the LPGA Championship starting on Thursday.

Yup, another coincidence.

Poor baby…imagine how brave she was compared to Annika Sorenstam who, despite being out for nearly two months with a ruptured disk and a bulging disk in her back, shot an even par 72.

Wie earned close to $20 million in 2006 from endorsements, earnings and appearance money overseas, without ever winning anything.

If you ask me (you didn’t, but that never stopped me from telling you anyway), it looks like the end is near for the little sponsorship machine unless she gets her head on straight.

Every time Wie gets into trouble, someone gets sacked. Her caddies, her teacher…I’m betting her manager gets the axe this time. She’s definitely running out of people to blame and will eventually be forced to accept that she’s in way over her head.

If she’s smart, she’ll take time off to finish school and then rejoin the tour after she’s more mature and able to handle the pressure cooker environment, because so far, she proven as good at that as she is competing against the men…


It’s a pity that people don’t become better with age, like a fine wine or good scotch. Nope, as we get older, things become fuzzy, the knees go and our memory becomes blissfully poor.

There is nothing sadder than seeing someone who you remember being young and full of life hobbling down a fairway.

Having said that, Barry Knaggs celebrated his 50th birthday last week and threw a tournament for himself in his own honour over at Van Tri.

This is another one of those things unique to Asia…people throwing a party for themselves. In the US, your friends and family usually do it for you. Many times it’s a poorly kept secret "surprise party" where people hide in your house or office, then pop up and yell "SURPRIZE!" when you enter.

As you might imagine, this results in more than a few cardiac arrests, which often eliminates any need for another party the following year.

As Barry’s event was on Friday and the deadline for the column is Thursday, I’m just gonna have to wing it and make stuff up. I can always print a retraction next Sunday if I screw up too badly.

Barry, as if you didn’t know already, is one of Vietnam’s bigger crocodiles and I’ve have had the pleasure of knowing him for more years than I care to admit. The funny thing is that, during all those years, his handicap never changed.

How is that possible? I mean, even Tiger Woods’ handicap changes from month to month, year to year, but not Barry’s. Nope, not even a wobble.

This guy could break both of his legs in a skiing accident and still maintain a 10 handicap. It must be simply one of those unexplained mysteries of the universe, along with Don King’s hair and Paris Hilton’s popularity.

As Barry is paying for the booze and cigars, I can safely say that everyone had a good time.

As the event was held at Van Tri, I can safely say that the course was in fantastic condition and nobody could blame the superintendent for any poor bounces.

And… as I am playing in it, I can safely say that this column will be full of excuses why I lost again…

You see, I’ve got a sore wrist…


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