Leadbetter: With Michelle Wie, It’s ‘More Mental Game Than Anything’

April 28, 2016
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Another injury meant another WD from Michelle Wie on Sunday at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic, but coach David Leadbetter says that, more than anything, Wie needs help with her mental game.

The 26-year-old U.S. Women’s Open champ walked off the course after 15 holes Sunday with neck spasms (she was 11-over on the day). It’s yet another setback the young star has dealt with in the last few years, including hip, knee, ankle, finger, wrist and back injuries.

But Leadbetter, who has worked with the phenom since she was 13, says there’s more to it.

“For me, it’s more a mental thing with Michelle now rather than physical,” Leadbetter told the Golf Channel. “She is very low on confidence right now. She really hasn’t had any good tournaments to speak of this year. She played OK at the ANA, but the last few months certainly haven’t been to anybody’s liking.”

In her nine starts this season, Wie has missed three cuts, withdrawn once and posted a season-high finish of T25, which came at the Coates Golf Championship in February. Despite wearing a neck brace for her latest injury this week, Wie said she’s been working with doctors and plans to play this week at the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout.

“I was worried I wouldn’t be able to play,” Wie said. “But I saw my chiropractor, and I’ve been working with the physios on tour, and it’s been feeling a lot better.”

Leadbetter wants Wie to stop tinkering with her swing and to allow herself more rotation in her hips to help prevent further injury. But he’s also at the mercy of what Wie wants for herself.

“She is an intriguing character, almost maddening and infuriating, because I know how good this girl is, what she can do,” Leadbetter said. “I’m sure it’s got to be frustrating to her, and to her parents, because she has these glimpses, but then all of a sudden, it’s like it disappears. Hopefully, she gets a couple good runs under her belt going and that gives her a little bit of confidence. That’s really what she needs more than anything else right now.”