Thursday, January 26, 2012

It happens all the time, but the most recent comparison between Michelle Wie and Tiger Woods was made on TV, during Saturday's second round of the U.S. Women's Open at Newport Country Club. Wie was making one of those miraculous pars, an up-and-down in which she extricated her third shot from a patch of mud, the ball soaring over a hazard to the green of the 359-yard 7th hole. She then canned a roughly 15-foot putt for 4 the hard way, igniting another sonic boomlet of comparisons: Wie is Woods; Wie is Woods; Don't touch that dial, Wie is Woods. The girl is 16, but the "wisdom" on Wie went conventional long ago.

"I hit range balls with Michelle when she was 14 in Hawaii, in Maui, when we were playing the Skins Game," Lee Trevino says. "She played with Jack [Nicklaus] in the pro-am. He and I were having lunch after they'd finished up and I said, 'Jack, how'd she hit it?' He shook his head. I said, 'She out-drive you?' He held up three fingers. And he was bombing it then. He said, 'But that wasn't what impressed me.' He said, 'Lee, she missed a couple of greens, and the ball went down in the tall stuff and she had kind of a downhill, sidehill lie to a short flag up the hill. She hit that ball like she was 50 years old. She popped that thing up about six feet from the hole ... 14-year-olds don't do that.' Michelle reminds me of when I saw Tiger at 15, 16. I looked at this kid and thought, he's doing things I haven't seen people do until they get in their 30s."

But Wie is not Woods. Aside from their early maturation, height, close proximity in the roll call, and fat Nike sponsorships, they are almost polar opposites. Let us count the ways:

1.) Wie swings like a big, lithe player, namely Ernie Els; Woods swings it flat, like a little dude, Mark O'Meara.

2.) Wie, in her Sunday blue, not only made the cut at the U.S. Women's Open, she shot 2-over-par 286 to tie for 3rd, two strokes back of Pat Hurst and Annika Sorenstam who competed in an 18-hole Monday playoff. Woods didn't even get a chance to wear his Sunday red, since he didn't make the money rounds at the men's U.S. Open.

Cameron Morfit covers the PGA Tour as a Senior Writer for GOLF MAGAZINE. You can read his column every Monday on GOLFONLINE. E-mail him your questions and comments at

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