Michelle Wie Returns To The Leaderboard (Power Check)

michelle-wie-topI saw yesterday that Michelle Wie was in contention at long last again, taking the lead into the 4th round at the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore, and poised to win her first event in 3 years.

I checked the morning results and it seems she fell just short, shooting an even par 4th round to finish in 4th place, while Inbee Park took the title.

I went looking online for her current form, and after finding the coverage posted on Youtube, I’ll show you one of her drives, and I will only say one thing – it’s impressive that she was averaging 256 yards per drive, considering she only has half a swing.

I’m trying to not be negative here, but that’s the most positive thing I can say – she isn’t using any leg or hip on the back swing, and it’s a very short back swing, so it’s a half-swing, really:

Michelle Wie – 3rd Round HSBC Women’s Champions

Now for the bad news – for a woman as athletic as Michelle is, and one who stands 6′ or 183 cm, how on earth is she ranked 30th in driving distance against her competition?

Not a lot of events, but let’s look at her current driving distance average at age 27 and compare it with previous years:

2009 – 19 yrs – 269 yards average – Rank 4th

2010 – 20 yrs – 274 yards average – Rank 1st

2011 – 21 yrs – 268 yards average – Rank 6th

2012 – 22 yrs – 268 yards average – Rank 4th

2013 – 23 yrs – 254 yards average – Rank 33rd

2014 – 24 yrs – 257 yards average – Rank 22nd

2015 – 25 yrs – 257 yards average – Rank 26th

2017 – 27 yrs – 256 yards average – Rank 30th

I’ll add that in 2008, when she competed in a PGA Tour event, she averaged 301 yards per drive on measuring holes and averaged 281 yards on all drives, and that would have been as an 18 year old.

In 2010, she was averaging 274 yards per drive!

For comparison, Luke Donald of the PGA Tour is this year averaging 274 yards, and K.J. Choi and Jerry Kelly  are currently averaging 273 off the tee…

So, this year’s stats, even while sparsely provided with only 3 events, puts her clearly on the level she’s inhabited since 2013, so we’re not likely to see an increase in yardage, considering how she’s swinging:

Top Of The Back Swing


What I can’t figure out is why a golfer with such strength and athleticism would resort to such a tortured, effort-heavy and distance-light swing motion, especially as she is now claiming to be injury-free.

I guess we’ll never know how the girl with the 300 yard drives turned into a plunker off the tee…






6 thoughts on “Michelle Wie Returns To The Leaderboard (Power Check)

  1. Laser

    “why a golfer with such strength and athleticism would resort to such a tortured, effort-heavy and distance-light swing motion”

    –Golf Channel was quoting David Led-worser this morning, so he’s probably still her coach.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Oh, he’s still her coach. Frankly, I don’t think anyone else would touch her at this point, as in the TW situation. Too much downside, not enough up.

  2. Mike Divot

    The poor kid thinks she’s got a beautiful backswing because her legs and hips don’t move at all …. if only she could do that and have her club exactly parallel at the top … oh, and make sure her left arm at the top points exactly at the ball … oh, and make sure the shaft of her club points exactly at the target line at all times … and all the other feel-good (look-good) trimmings.

    1. D Watts Post author

      And all to drive it 20 yards shorter than she was, a little over five years ago.


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