THE MICHELLE WIEsaga continues. Wie (below) has left her agency, William Morris, and likelywill sign with IMG. Some may think that this move, along with Michelle'sdecision to become an LPGA member, signals that she's given up on being acrossover celebrity and will instead focus on becoming a great female golfer. Idon't necessarily agree. Yes, golf performance is the engine beneath the hoodof this nicely restarted race car (she finished second in her lone 2009 start,the SBS Open), but it really doesn't matter who represents Michelle: Mom andDad (B.J. and Bo Wie) are still making the decisions. I can say from personalknowledge that the three agents the Wies burned through at William Morris—RossBerlin, Greg Nared and Jill Smoller—each cared for Michelle as a person, andthey were realistic and honest in their assessments of Michelle's career. Theyoften disagreed with B.J. and Bo. I suspect that's why they lost Michelle as aclient, although the Wies haven't given a reason. Still, this latest changeindicates that off-course issues could continue to produce as much drama asMichelle's play.
IN 2005 AT DORAL,Tiger Woods hit a 330-yard drive onto the green of the par-4 16th hole andtwo-putted for birdie. He went on to win the Ford Championship in a classicduel with Phil Mickelson. That dramatic moment helped spur what has become themost exciting trend in course setup: the high-risk, high-reward short par-4.Much of the credit goes to Mike Davis, the USGA's senior director of rules andcompetitions. Looking for ways to get the players out of their defensivemind-sets, Davis decided to use short 4s. A prime example was in the '07 U.S.Open at Oakmont, where there were three drivable 4s (2, 14 and 17). In thefinal round Jim Furyk (left), a conservative player, tried to drive two of themand ended up with a pair of bogeys. He lost by a shot. The trend will continuethis year at Bethpage, and there is even talk of making those same holes atOakmont drivable options for the U.S. Women's Open in 2010. Terrific TV,terrific trend.
Dottie Pepper, a17-year LPGA vet and analyst for NBC and Golf Channel, welcomes letters firstname.lastname@example.org.
ROBERT BECK (WIE)
FRED VUICH (FURYK)