Butler Cabin, Augusta National (c) Burgh Golfer

Monday, August 30, 2010

Wie wins the Canadian Open

Michelle Wie has been on the “golf scene” for a very long time. Although she is in her early twenties she has been playing golf on a national stage since she was twelve years old. She has a huge amount of natural talent, has a long flowing golf swing and untapped potential. She has been on the LPGA tour since 2005 and the win yesterday was only her second victory. So, why has she not won more?

I believe she has not won more because she is still learning how to win. As the old saying goes “winning breeds winning.” Golfers like all competitive athletes need to learn how to win when the pressure is on. Michelle Wie is not exempt from that stage in her professional development. If you look back at Tiger Woods amateur career for lessons on how to learn to win he is the role model. Who can forget the three US Amateur titles he captured and in stunning fashion. In all three US Amateur finals (36 holes) he was behind at some point in the match. In all three cases he came back to win. He learned how to win at an early age and that development provided him the confidence and belief that he carries with him on the PGA Tour today.

Michelle on the other hand did not have this same opportunity, why? Very simple, her parents did not allow her career to develop naturally. As a teenager when she should have been playing on Junior events, she was playing in the PGA Tours Sony Open. Instead of learning how to dominate as a junior player she was being asked to compete with the best male golfers in the world. One could argue that the experience she received by playing on the PGA tour made her better. To some degree that may be true, however, it did not teach her how to win.

Being competitive and playing well is one thing, winning is another. To win you need to be able to handle the pressure of the moment. A player must hit quality golf shots late in the round on the final day when it matters most. Those elements of a player’s development only come from putting themselves in that situation time and again. For Michelle, she just did not have enough of those opportunities as a young player. However, she has begun the process and is showing the world she does know how to win.

Next year she graduates from Stanford and will be able to pursue professional golf full time. All I have to say is watch out LPGA because if she focuses on playing that tour full time she is going to be a force.

(Getty Images)

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