PGA Tour Confidential: Jordan Spieth keeps rising, Europe rolls at Solheim Cup

Darren Carroll / Sports Illustrated
The Europeans celebrated their first win on U.S. soil in Solheim Cup history.

3. The Solheim Cup was filled with controversies, from Stacy Lewis' match on Friday to vice captain Annika Sorenstam telling the Europeans to concede a Paula Creamer par putt Saturday, to Michelle Wie running off the green after making a putt without waiting for her competitors to putt out. (Wie later apologized.) There was also some highly competitive and dramatic golf. Was this a good week or a bad week for women's golf?

Ritter: It was a good week for women's golf because we're talking about it. Most of the rules drama didn't bother me as a golf fan -- in fact, it made me even more interested in the action. The Solheim Cup can get intense. Emotions run high. There's a lot of face paint. Things happen. It was fun to watch.

Bamberger: A good week for women's golf. We're talking about it. How often do we do that?

Sens: What’s that they say in the marketing business? Oh, yeah. Any publicity is good publicity. It applies here. Women’s golf could use all of the attention it can get. In this case, a few kerfuffles are a small price to pay in exchange for the buzz the event has generated.

Van Sickle: Team match play is always a good week for golf as long as the matches are competitive and reasonably close. I was glad even Judy Rankin called out Wie and her partner for bad sportsmanship. It happened a second time with another American duo on Saturday. It's not that important which side wins the Solheim Cup, it's important that it's a compelling show. Saturday's action was very compelling.

Passov: Virtually anything that calls attention to the LPGA Tour is good for women's golf, even if they are events bathed in negativity. If it gets sports and golf people talking about women's golf, that can only be a good thing. Women's golf also benefitted from being opposite a lesser PGA Tour event and a U.S. Am that didn't draw much interest. Overall, good week for women's golf.

Walker: Great week for women's golf because of the spirit and passion both teams show for the event. When passions run high, you're going to have controversies. It's all part of the fun.

Lynch: Overall a good week. It's refreshing to see more fireworks between players than hugs. But scheduling the Sunday singles for a late tee off to suit the TV schedule when the forecast was dicey was a lame call, and justly punished with a buzzkill weather delay.

4. Michelle Wie looks so much more confident in the Solheim Cup than at regular LPGA events. What accounts for the difference and does Wie's performance at the Solheim Cup mean she might eventually fulfill her potential on the LPGA Tour?

Sens: Here’s a not-very-well-kept secret: Michelle Wie long ago stopped loving competitive golf. At least the invididual competitions that she started playing at a very young age. Team competitions are a different story. The spotlight isn’t trained so intensely on her and her alone. And, more important, she’s playing for something bigger than herself. Wie clearly enjoys it---the chance to play for her country and her teammates. (Don’t you wish some of the biggest stars in the men’s game showed the same team spirit?) But I wouldn’t look for this to translate into greater success on the LPGA Tour.

Van Sickle: In match play, you can three- or four-putt and only lose one hole. In stroke play, there's no limit to how much you can botch a hole. She made some putts, yes, but I think her confidence is higher because she knows she's not going to have to putt everything out. Monty and Westwood and Darren Clarke turned into world-beating putters every Ryder Cup, too. It's a mystery but I hope Wie found something she can take back on tour and play the kind of golf she's capable of.

Bamberger: I don't believe there's a device that measures potential. You can predict whatever you like, but that's different than potential. Can this Solheim Cup experience help Michelle Wie play better golf? Sure -- why not?

Ritter: She just seems to have so much fun at these team events. (I'd say she plays loose, but nothing about that putting stance seems free or easy.) I wonder if playing for herself creates added pressure that holds her back. Still, she was a controversial captain's pick, and she had a strong week. Good for her.

Lynch: I don't know that there's a more dispiriting sight in golf these days than Wie. All of that youthful promise now contorted into a putting stroke that looks as painful as its results. She has been coached to ruination.

Walker: I would guess the team atmosphere of the Solheim Cup makes Wie feel comfortable. That's a lot more like being in college with your friends than the loneliness of tour life. She should talk to Adam Scott about the long putter. Changed his life.

Passov: I don't think Wie's performance in the Solheim Cup will translate into more success on tour. We actually said the same thing in '09, when she rocked it -- and little happened afterwards. She was a non-factor in the 2011 match, and frankly has been a non-factor on tour for years, except for her reputation. Wie might take comfort in the team aspect, as some Ryder Cuppers do, as with some who feed off the entire vibe, a la Ian Poulter. However, six missed cuts and two ties for 9th in 2013? Wie didn't deserve to be on the team. The problem is, who else would have been picked? Her name value alone moves the needle -- much needed for the LPGA. When Greg Norman picked a then-woeful Adam Scott for his Presidents Cup team, Scott said it helped turn his career around. I'm not seeing that happen for Michelle.

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