Updated – I’m Wondering What It Will Take (Michelle Wie)

**Update At Bottom – MW has WD’d From U.S. Women’s Open /update

targettom sent me the latest installment of “What will it take for Michelle Wie to change her swing, which is literally breaking her body down?”

Actually, the title to the GolfDigest online piece by Keely Levins is just as wordy: “Michelle Wie, battling neck pain, says she’s lucky she even played the first round of the U.S. Women’s Open”

It’s been about four months since I took a look at her latest swing iteration, and at the time, I remarked that she only had half a swing, due to the shortness of her back pivot:

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…

Now, in this GolfDigest piece, we get the news that:

It has been evident since Tuesday at Trump National Bedminster that Michelle Wie has been dealing with neck and shoulder pain.

She has tape on her upper back and shoulder, she’s moving around stiffly, not turning her head much, swinging with an abbreviated finish.

She said she hasn’t hit a full shot since the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship two weeks ago, instead having Danielle Kang hit shots for her during their Wednesday practice round at the U.S. Women’s Open.

Doesn’t sound promising. In fact, reading this following paragraph, I actually winced:

As for a source of the issue, she describes it’s as a neck sprain. Wie explained it as sharp pain when she hits the golf ball.

She’s had to back off her shots so much that she’s about a club-and-a-half shorter than usual.

I’ve written enough about Michelle’s physical issues over the years, (here are a few that I’ve still got up on the blog), and to see a six-foot tall Amazon-physiqued young lady such as her, doing all of this damage to her body, simply to continue to swing with frozen hips and a planted heel on the back swing is simply depressing.

I’ve asked before, to what lengths will modern golf swing players go, and what damage to their bodies will they tolerate – all to swing in a way that is not mechanically-sound?

What is the obsession with freezing the lower half of the body on the back swing?

I don’t get it.

And so, Michelle’s journey to medical retirement continues apace.


And the last paragraph:

“I felt so lucky to tee it up today. I honestly did not think I was going to get to play. I’m just so happy to be out here.”

I’ll just add, “For now…”


Did I really end this original posting, “For now?”

Yes, I did, but as I predicted, Michelle Wie has withdrawn from the U.S. Women’s Open with a neck injury.

If you’ve ever even tweaked a neck or back muscle (which, depending on the muscles, manifests as searing pain in the neck), you’ll know how hard it is to do anything in that state.

From Keely Levins again for GolfDigest online:

Wie said the pain began during the final round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship two weeks ago, and that she hasn’t hit a full shot since that round…

“It’s a miracle that I even played,” Wie said after her first round on Thursday.

Her coach David Leadbetter echoed the sentiment.

“She didn’t want to make a big deal out of this leading into the tournament,” Leadbetter told Golf World. “She didn’t want attention brought to it. But I’d estimate she’s at about 50 percent. Most people wouldn’t even try to play if they were in her condition.”

Most people wouldn’t even try to play, Coach Leadbetter, because the first and foremost rule of athletic competition is that you don’t play hurt.  It is a very foolish and risky thing to begin a competition already injured.

Many athletes are very competitive, and will try to finish a competition after an injury – but to actually begin a competition knowing you have an existing injury is – not advisable.

Might I suggest a swing overhaul?

And that’s all I have to say about it.



13 thoughts on “Updated – I’m Wondering What It Will Take (Michelle Wie)

  1. Laser

    You’re the swing researcher, not me, so here’s one to research: Doug Sanders. 20 tour wins, 8 top 4’s in majors…and I think he gave away a major to Nicklaus in 1970 (British Open).

    His arm travel looks no longer than Wie’s, but his lower body is not restricted.


    1. Brandon

      Doug’s pivot is well beyond what Michelle is doing. The pivot will always be the key to a great swing.

      Just like when DJ used to say that he doesn’t understand why people don’t teach Jack’s swing, I am incredibly disappointed that the women don’t try to emulate Mickey Wright’s swing. One of the top two greatest ball strikers of all time said that she had the greatest golf swing that he had ever seen, and regularly competed against Sam Snead and Jack Nicklaus.

      Could you imagine Wie with Wright’s swing?? 300 yards would be a hohum for her.

      1. D Watts Post author

        Agreed, Brandon – to answer you and Laser above, the leading heel detaches with Sanders, but as I explain in the coming video, and which you can see with Sanders, a too-wide stance will interfere with an optimal pivot, but if the heel is lifting, he’s putting hip and leg action into the pivot.

        I was going to suggest in this posting that MW take a look at Mickey Wright’s swing as well! So, there you go… likely slipped my mind in the writing, and thanks for bringing it up. 🙂

  2. Harleyweedwhacks

    What do you think of Jimmy Walker’s swing?

    He doesn’t snap the leading leg. He has a decent hip turn, and he’s a power player. As far as I know, he’s not injured. Just not playing well at the moment.

    1. Laser

      Jimmy Walker “not playing well at the moment”

      –Apr 19, 2017 … “Jimmy Walker, the 2016 PGA champion, announced Wednesday at the Valero Texas Open that he’s battling Lyme disease.”

      1. Harleyweedwhacks

        I apologize, I assumed since I haven’t seen him in a while that he must be struggling with his game. I had no idea.

  3. Harleyweedwhacks

    And is “Kinesiology of the MCS golf swing” still valid? I’m wondering if the concepts still apply? I have “Kinesiology”, so I want to know if it’s still valid.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Certainly is, HWW! The model is 90% what I am doing in “E = MCS,” but most of what I’ve been doing in the two years since “Kinesiology” has been refining the description and tightening the motion of the swing.

      So, I’ve always made sure that any video I made, even if there was a subsequent one, was fully explained and didn’t contain any mechanical flaws.

      The concepts have evolved, the description of the action has evolved, and my swing is better now than it was in “Kinesiology,” but there’s nothing incorrect in it.

      For example, the next video, “MCS – Perfect Pivot” was a deeper exploration into the pivot action and how to make it exactly the way Ben Hogan performed his pivot action, but if you follow the pivot instructions in “Kinesiology,” you’ll be pretty close to that.

      In “MCS – Dropping The Hammer,” I showed myself working with David D. on his swing with the MCS principles in play, along with the concept in the title, to better explain the relationship between address & impact.

      But any one of my swing videos from “MCS – Ultimate Leverage” (which preceded “Kinesiology”)and on – are perfectly suitable for building an MCS swing.

      Hope that helps! 🙂

  4. David

    While watching the LPGA replay tonight, Michelle Wie was on the set with Brad Faxon and Julie Inkster. Faxon showed the young Jack Nicklaus you have shown DJ as well as Mickey Wright, two of Faxon’s favorites …. then they put up Wie from 2003 and her top of swing was closer to MCS than you would imagine.

    Faxon asked Wie, what happened to that 2003 swing? Wie’s response was that no one swings later in life as they did when they were 15 do to injuries etc. There you go, blinded by the truth, all golfers get hurt regardless of the swing model.

    Not too long ago, I heard Frank Nobilo say that you are crazy if you thought the classic swingers did not get hurt all the time. Blinded I tell you, blinded.

    1. D Watts Post author

      The classic swing is not a guarantee to avoid injury, only to reduce the odds compared to a modern swing move – that is a strawman argument, like stating that people legally have to wear a seat-belt and still get injured or worse in vehicle accidents, so there’s no benefit to wearing them.

      Just because you’re swinging in the classic style doesn’t mean you don’t have a swing flaw that could cause injury (like the Reverse-C finish due to swingers not releasing the trailing foot and keeping the head over the right side on the finish).

      Just having a lifting heel doesn’t mean you’re swinging properly, and you can always incur an injury during athletic motion, even if doing it correctly.

      That argument falls flat with me, because with the Modern Golf Swing, your chances of injury increase by orders of magnitude.

  5. Laser

    So, after I left here, I clicked Golfweek-professional, and I saw this headline:

    “Michelle Wie withdraws from U.S. Women’s Open”

  6. Tom S

    I don’t recall Sam Snead having any injuries from playing 200+ rounds per year for 60 years. He once hurt is hand fishing, that’s about all I can find for injuries from him. Sam Snead came in 3rd place at PGA Championship – age 62, 4th place age 63. Long fluid swing, big shoulder & hip turn, holy father of one piece takeaway, neutral grip, lightning fast forearm and wrist snap thru the ball. Used hands and left arm to stop club at top, not body.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Good points all, TomS… and he had the proper setup as well, MCS-type all the way.

      All Waxers with MCS videos, especially “E = MCS” – look where Snead’s hands are in the face-on…compare with the head position…

      Most Tour wins, oldest winner, won in four different decades… I’ll take that Classic Golf Swing, all day long.

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