PGA Tour Confidential: Is Rory McIlroy ready to challenge Tiger Woods at Augusta?

Rory McIlroy
JOHN GREEN / Landov
Michelle Wie has been using an unconventional putting style this season. She tied for 41st at the Kraft Nabisco.

4. At the Kraft Nabisco Championship, Michelle Wie was putting with her back parallel to the ground. What do you make of Wie's new putting style? Also, in the latest issue of Golf Magazine, Annika Sorenstam said of Wie, "The talent that we all thought would be there is not there." Do you agree? <

Sandra Gal: It hurts my back to watch her putt, but if it works for her, she should keep doing it as long as she sees results. But I don't think it's a long-term solution. I don't agree with Annika's comment, which may have been taken out of context. Michelle has struggled, but in my opinion she surely doesn't lack talent.

Van Sickle: I'd be interested to know how long Michelle is able to practice putting with that bent-over stance. Doesn't that have to limit her time? But you gotta do what it takes, whatever works. I'd agree with Sorenstam that Wie hasn't fulfilled her promise. She may have made a poor decision in switching swing coaches once but even bigger, it's a fact of golf that if you can't putt well, you can't play dead. If she can't solve the putting, she'll never be a factor. She's still young but it's an imposing task.

Bamberger: Regarding her putting: whatever works, although this one hurts my back just thinking about it. Regarding Annika's comment: I disagree. The talent is there. It is other things that may be missing.

Reiterman: Wie's putting stroke is ridiculous. She's going to destroy her back being hunched over that far. As far as Sorenstam's comments, I think it's a stretch to say the "talent" is not there. Wie's only 23 and still has plenty of time to have a great LPGA career. Will she dominate the LPGA Tour like we all expected her to do? That remains to be seen.

Godich: I applaud Michelle for trying, but this move reeks of desperation. I figure it will only be a matter of time before she's trying something different. As for Annika's comment, the results pretty much speak for themselves.

Ritter: It almost makes me feel sorry for her. How can she possibly practice for hours while in that position? And I agree with Annika -- Wie has had a solid career, but she's never displayed the game or the fire to be No. 1.

Gorant: Looks a lot like the way Nicklaus putted for a good portion of his career. He made a few. Another reminder that there have been lots of ways to get it done over the years and not all of them look like the carbon-copy methods taught by the modern swing guru cartel.

Shipnuck: It makes my back tight just watching her, but the history of putting is filled with weirdness. If it works, who cares how it looks -- Arnold's pigeon-toed, knock-kneed, elbows-akimbo stance wasn't exactly graceful either. But Wie piled up 3-putts at the Dinah, and her current look has more to do with desperation than her having discovered some kind of secret stroke. Until she can conquer her demons on the greens Wie will always be nothing more than an intriguing prospect.

Morfit: I don't know what happened to Wie except she wanted to have a life. That's neither good nor bad; it's just her personal preference.

Lynch: I'm not sure why Sorenstam felt the need to apologize to Wie: what she said was true. Wie's record over the past two years has been pretty miserable. That said, she's still only 23 and her time at Stanford probably made her a happier, more well-rounded individual than had she gone straight on tour full time. There is time for her to fulfill her potential, but she's going to have to try something more radical than a funky putting move, like starting afresh with a new coach. (If Annika did actually suggest to Wie that she was misquoted -- as Wie suggested she did -- then perhaps she'd be better off apologizing to her interviewer, Alan Bastable, since the tape recorder proves that's not true.)

5. Speaking of prodigies, will Lydia Ko be the next the next Michelle Wie or the next Se Ri Pak?

Sandra Gal: I'm so impressed with Lydia Ko. Golf hasn't seen anything like her. She plays like a kid now, but we have yet to see how she will play as an adult under the pressure of playing for a living.

Morfit: Se Ri Pak.

Shipnuck: What's exciting about Ko as a player is that she has no weaknesses. I can imagine her winning tournaments for a very long time. I also like her antipode mellowness and her ambition to still go to college -- having a well-rounded youth should help her stave off burnout. Winning five majors like Pak is a big ask, but I think Ko will bag at least a couple.

Lynch: Since Ko already has more professional wins at age 15 than Wie has at age 23, she seems more likely to build an enduring legacy. But the lesson of Wie is that we should beware placing onerous career expectations on a child.

Reiterman: Ko has all the talent in the world, so it's really up to her.

Godich: Seeing as how Ko has already won on the LPGA tour (at the Canadian Open, the same event where Wie picked up one of her only two victories) and she has another eight years to get her second, I'll say she has a better shot to be the next Se Ri Pak.

Van Sickle: I will have to see a lot more of Lydia Ko before I can asses her future. Let's hope she develops Michelle's star charisma with Se Ri's work ethic and success. That's just what the tour needs.

Gorant: She's already not either -- not as bold and ambitious as Wie and not a grinder who appeared out of nowhere like Pak to inspire a generation. Maybe if she wins a men's event she'll start a golf boom among young Korean ex-pats living in New Zealand.

Ritter: She's already won more events than Wie, so at this point her career arc is pointing toward Pak. Let's just hope she doesn't enter any PGA Tour events.

Bamberger: Lydia Ko will be the next Lydia Ko.

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