I like watching golf events. I watch a lot of golf on TV including the LPGA Tour. This morning I was watching a replay of Michelle Wie performing in the Samsung World Championships.

I first saw her in 2003, I think she was 13 years old and playing in a Nationwide Tour event. I couldn’t believe it. At the time I couldn’t imagine a 13 year old boy good enough to play with grown men, let alone a young girl (not trying to be sexist). Although she missed the cut, she played quite well, better than any junior girl I’d ever seen.

She progressed quickly, making it onto the LPGA Tour and performing well. Although she never won, she did have some near misses and gained plenty of respect with her great play.

This year is different. A Cinderella story turned nightmare. How can a superbly talented golfer go from such a high to so low in only a year or so?

To me the answer is easy…

Poor coaching. And maybe some poor management (a topic I’d rather not get into).

The coaching of Michelle Wie is nothing short of a disgrace. It shouldn’t be possible for this to happen. But it has and I think some heads should roll.

Michelle Wie should be living the dream life of a young golfer, winning events, pleasing the crowds and playing the kind of golf that would see millions of devoted fans watching her every move. What I saw this morning was like a freak show – replaying hooked drives and short approaches missing the target by miles! At 13 she was playing golf like a seasoned veteran. At 18, she is playing golf like a really good 13 year old amateur.

I don’t think it is her fault. I hate swing gurus that jump in and try and take over and ‘manage’ a player’s game. They try and justify their high income by making unnecessary adjustments and tinker for the sake of it. Michelle Wie became a great player (replace great with sensational or unbelievable etc) by just playing. At 13 she had no fear and didn’t think about how to play, she just played. The ideal mindset to do anything.

Too many lessons and too much thinking has destroyed her once natural game. The coaches are to blame. They couldn’t leave her alone and let her game develop naturally. Now she is struggling the usual remedy is to have more lessons and technical advice. This will only make matters worse. I fear if she is not left alone her current problems will only be compounded and maybe lose her once awesome game for good.

The remedy for Wie is to get away from the experts and start playing ‘her’ game again. She needs to hit her way out of the problem…probably playing some smaller events and working her way back up again. No good playing those big events with all of the spotlight…just not good for confidence or enthusiasm.

She should sack her coaches and anyone else giving her too much advice. Michelle Wie knows best, she was the one that got to the top in the first place! Her situation is not lost – her graceful and powerful game can be returned, but she needs to change her approach and make some tough decisions.

Update: It’s now August 2012 and nothing much has changed in nearly 5 years. Wie has had some ups and downs but I still feel she hasn’t gotten anywhere near her potential. I’d love the opportunity to coach her, to simplify her attitude and let her play. It may be too late and her priorities may have changed but I’m sure it’s possible for Michelle Wie to let loose on the golfing world once again.