OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – Michelle Wie still loves the game. She may be one of golf’s great mysteries, but that’s what cuts through the fog when you sort through all the riddles in all the twists and turns in a career that makes the 27-year-old seem like she has been around forever. Wie is the broken player who is putting herself back together yet again. How is she managing to do it once more? She loves the game. It’s the only explanation. “You have to hand it to her,” said David Leadbetter, her long-time swing coach. “She’s gutted it out through all the difficult times. She’s hung in there through all the injuries, through all the criticism that so many nasty people have thrown at her, when she could very easily have just chucked in the towel and said ‘This isn’t fun anymore. This isn’t worth it anymore. I’ve got enough money, what the hell am I doing?’ She’s a fighter, she really is.” Wie arrives for the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Olympia Fields Country Club this week as a threat to win. That’s a head scratcher when you think back to a year ago and the awful slump she was mired in when she arrived at this championship. She shot 78 and 80 to miss the cut at Sahalee and left the Great Northwest looking totally lost. She left looking as if she might finally be broken for good. KPMG Women’s PGA Championship: Articles, photos and videos Wie missed the cut or withdrew in 10 of 12 events last summer. Just look at her now. You can’t knock this woman out. Up off the mat, Wie’s radiating with renewed confidence. With her final-round 64 Sunday at the Walmart NW Arkansas championship, Wie tied for fourth. The week before that, she tied for second at the Meijer Classic. The week before that, she tied for third at the ShopRite Classic. That’s four finishes of T-4 or better now in her last five starts. “I came into this year really motivated, but feeling like I had nothing to lose,” Wie told GolfChannel.com after hitting balls on the range Tuesday at Olympia Fields. This is starting to feel like that roll Wie got on before she won twice in 2014, before she won the U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst. “She’s seeing results, and she’s really getting some confidence,” Leadbetter said. “I don’t think she’s far away from winning. I really don’t. She’s got her game to where she could really do some damage the second half of this season.” Wie’s heating up at the right time with three majors over the next six weeks and with the Solheim Cup just eight weeks away. “This year just felt like a fresh start,” Wie said. What has fueled this latest resurgence? Three things stand out. *Wie is healthy. *She has found and grooved a dependable stock fade. *She has completely turned around her putting with an on-again, off-again claw grip. Wie used to like to hit her irons with a fairly straight ball flight, while hitting a draw with her driver. Now, she hits a fade nearly all the time, with her irons and woods. “I’ve been a streaky player in the past, so I was just trying to find more consistency, to be able to hit more fairways when I needed to,” Wie said. She actually found the fade last season. “I changed to it last year, which I think is a reason I struggled,” said Wie, a four-time LPGA winner. “Anytime you try to change your ball flight, it takes time.” Wie ditched her unorthodox table-top putting stance after missing the cut in the season opener in the Bahamas this year. She said she hit the ball great there but putted awfully. Frustrated, she sought out Leadbetter at the Honda Classic near her home in Jupiter, coaxing him away from the PGA Tour pros to go work with her at the Bear’s Club. “That was the turning point for me,” Wie said. That’s where Leadbetter made a radical suggestion. “He proposed I putt with the claw grip,” Wie said. “It’s funny how things work with David and I, how he will suggest something that I’ve been thinking about. “I tinkered around with it, and it felt good.” As is Wie’s way, she has tinkered with Leadbetter’s suggestion, putting her own distinctive signature on the claw. At first, she went all claw, with a Sergio-style claw grip. Then she modified it, going to a version of a claw setup. She would set up with the claw grip, then move her hand back to a conventional grip just before taking the putter back. The key to that move was keeping her elbow bent as if she was still in the claw grip. “With the conventional grip, she kept her elbow bent as if she was still in the claw grip, almost like a violinist, working back and forth on a constant plane and arc,” Leadbetter said. Today, Wie still has some weird science working for her, and she’s OK with that. Now, she’s setting up consistently in the claw grip, sometimes making the stroke with it, sometimes moving back into a conventional grip, just before taking the putter back. “There’s no rhyme or reason to it,” Leadbetter said. “She says her brain tells her what’s comfortable when she’s about to make the stroke, and she just goes with it.” Lydia Ko used to alternate her grips during a round, going from left-hand low to conventional. She would go left-hand low for shorter putts, conventional for longer putts. Wie confirms it doesn’t work like that for her. “I make my decision as I’m over the ball,” Wie said. “I call it the ‘Whatever System.’ But I feel great about it.” Leadbetter likes Wie’s consistent upright posture and stance, whether she goes claw or not. “Putting is such a catalyst to everything,” Leadbetter said. “Look, you can hit the ball great, but if you can’t capitalize on the shot you hit … She’s making putts, and she’s making lengthy putts.” Leadbetter knows he may never cure Wie of her love of tinkering, but he also knows that’s how her creative mind works. It keeps her loving the game.
The country’s “Golden Boy” and Liverpool’s forward Mohamed Salah is the front-runner for the Best African Player of the year. Image courtesy: FourFourTwo By CGTN’s Adel El MahroukyThe country’s “Golden Boy” and Liverpool’s forward Mohamed Salah is the front-runner for the Best African Player of the year. Image courtesy: FourFourTwoThe African football player of the year awards are just around the corner and Egypt looks set to dominate the proceedings. The country has four nominations and could begin the year on a winning note.“The Pharaohs” have endured many years of disappointment, but are now believed to be in their best shape in years – and the nominations of the 2017 CAF awards confirm that.The country’s “Golden Boy” and Liverpool’s forward Mohamed Salah is the front-runner for the Best African Player of the year.“During his last season in Serie A with AS Roma, Mohamed Salah gained immense experience,” Ahmed Abdel Bassit, a sports analyst, told CGTN.Salah’s heroics have also put both the Egyptian National Team and its leader Hector Cuper in the final list for the best African National Team and Coach. Image courtesy: Goal“He scored 34 goals for them. He has sharpened his skills in the English Premiere League scoring 19 goals and making 6 assists this season. He’s gained enormous reputation and has fans everywhere now. England, they have even compared him to Lionel Messi.“I think he deserves to be Africa’s Best Player.”Mohammed Salah has not only delivered for his club, but also for his country. His Three years of absence in the African cup of nations have finally paid off after Egypt made it to the final last year – where his winning goal sent Egypt to their first world cup qualification since 1990.Salah’s heroics have also put both the Egyptian National Team and its leader Hector Cuper in the final list for the best African National Team and Coach.“From 2010 to 2017, the Egyptian national team appeared lost. Hector Cuper came to reform the team and lifted them up. He has reached the African cup of nations final and also qualified the team to the FIFA world Cup after 28 years. He has won Global Soccer’s best Africa Award, so definitely he’s a strong contender for the CAF awards,” Bassit said.By just making it to the CAF awards finalists, Salah, Cuper, Al Ahly and The Pharaohs have been recognised for their outstanding performances in 2017. Image courtesy: Guardian NigeriaCritics believe that Egypt’s, and Africa’s, top club Al Ahly is the least likely to win this year.“Al Ahly may not be as strong as Salah or Cuper in the awards this year. They didn’t win the CAF Champions League which puts them a step further from the award than the Moroccans,” Bassit added.By just making it to the CAF awards finalists, Salah, Cuper, Al Ahly and The Pharaohs have been recognised for their outstanding performances in 2017. Egyptians will be thrilled if they win, particularly if Salah does, because he’ll be the first Egyptian to be recognised as the best footballer in Africa in four decades.
This June 12, 2017 photo shows a meat and potatoes steakhouse salad in Coronado, Calif. This dish is from a recipe by Melissa d’Arabian. (Melissa d’Arabian via AP) Generations of Americans have grown up heralding meat and potatoes as the classic dinner of choice. Who doesn’t love the taste of that time-honored combination, filling our bellies with the comfort of a juicy, fatty steak and fluffy, carby spuds? Just thinking about it is enough to make us pine for the 1950s when this was considered a healthy meal.I have good news, however. I have discovered that with a little creativity, any main dish can be turned into a salad, scratching the itch without ditching nutrition. So yes, meat and potatoes can be made healthier, and lighter, which is a bonus for summertime eating.Try my Meat and Potatoes Steakhouse Salad recipe. It stretches just one 8-ounce steak into feeding four people, which means alongside that tasty steak, each person will also be filled up with a slew of veggies. I used filet mignon because it’s a lean cut of beef, and since only a couple of ounces of meat needed per person, the whole dish remains reasonably priced.Cute baby potatoes on the salad mean you’ll also feel satisfied in a way that frankly only comes from a starchy side. In fact, the entire salad celebrates steakhouse flavors, including garlicky meaty mushrooms, flash-cooked asparagus, tomatoes, blue cheese, chives and a creamy dressing made from Dijon mustard and aromatic tarragon. It’s like the steakhouse menu itself morphed into a complete meal on a plate. At 322 calories per serving, you might have steak and potatoes a little more often. MEAT AND POTATOES STEAKHOUSE SALADServings: 4Start to finish: 25 minutes6 cups of baby spinach or mixed greens1 8-ounce filet mignon, trimmed of visible fat1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic1 tablespoon olive oil8 ounces sliced white mushrooms2 cloves garlic, minced1/2 pound asparagus, steamed until just barely tender1/2 pound baby potatoes, boiled until tender4 small tomatoes, quartered1 ounce blue cheese, in crumbles or chunks3 tablespoons chopped fresh chivesTarragon-Dijon Dressing:2 tablespoons Dijon mustard2 tablespoons red wine vinegar2 tablespoons water1 tablespoon olive oil1 teaspoon dried tarragon (or 2 teaspoons fresh)salt and pepperPlace the greens on a large platter and set aside.Heat a heavy saute pan over medium high heat. Sprinkle the steak with salt, pepper, granulated garlic and half of the olive oil and then cook in the pan until cooked to desired doneness, about 3-5 minutes per side. Remove the steak from the pan and set aside to rest.In the same saute pan, add the remaining olive oil, mushrooms and garlic and cook just until mushrooms begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and set aside.Make the dressing: Whisk together the Dijon mustard, vinegar, olive oil and tarragon until creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Layer all the salad ingredients on top of the spinach and drizzle with the dressing and serve. (May be chilled if preferred, but I like the slight warmth of the steak, mushrooms and potatoes on the salad.)Nutrition information per serving: 322 calories; 122 calories from fat; 14 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 61 mg cholesterol; 493 mg sodium; 25 g carbohydrate; 7 g fiber; 6 g sugar; 25 g protein.Online: https://www.melissadarabian.net