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Big Play with Jim Suttie

May 22, 2006
May 22, 2006

Table of Contents
May 22, 2006

SI Players: Life On and Off The Field
SI Bonus Section: Golf Plus
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  • His increasingly poor production--especially the agonizing march to overtake Babe Ruth--has stirred talk that this could be the last hurrah for Barry Bonds in San Francisco

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Big Play with Jim Suttie

WHO: BretWetterich

This is an article from the May 22, 2006 issue Original Layout

WHAT: 338-yarddrive in the fairway

WHERE: 554-yardpar-5 16th hole at Las Colinas

WHEN: Final roundof the EDS Byron Nelson Championship

WHY
Wetterich has a pressure-relieving preshot routine: At address he stays inmotion, focusing mainly on the target. He waggles his club, moves his feet backand forth, bobs his head--looking alternately at the ball and the target--andmakes a slight forward press with his body to initiate the swing. On Sundaythat routine freed him to hit the long, straight drives that set up easybirdies, including both par-5s, the 7th (pictured) and the 16th.

JIM'S TIP
To Stay Loose, Keep Moving

The bane ofamateur golfers is freezing up at address (instead of staying loose throughconstant motion) and staring at the ball instead of the target. To get loose,try this: Before hitting the shot, waggle the club above the ball while lookingat the target. When you're ready to pull the trigger, drop the clubhead behindthe ball and, without pausing, start the swing.

Jim Suttieteaches at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Lemont, Ill.

...AND ANOTHERTHING

"SergioGarcía hasn't won a major because of his putting, and he's not going to win oneuntil he starts making the short ones."

The PepperMill

[ by DOTTIEPEPPER ]

OPPOSITES DOATTRACT Morgan Pressel (left) and Michelle Wie (below) are different in nearlyevery way--except that they're both prodigies. In a press conference after theMichelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill, Morgan was asked about Michelle's having madethe cut in the SK Telecom Open. Morgan said she didn't agree with Michelle'sdecision to play men's events all over the planet; she also didn't thinkMichelle was the only woman capable of making a cut in a men's event. Mostpeople took this as another example of Morgan trashing Michelle. So what? Idon't think either of them should be professionals at this time. In my opinionboth will regret that they hurried through their high school and college years,missing the experiences that shape you as an individual. I also think we'reseeing a rivalry in the making that could attract a lot of people to women'sgolf. Women's tennis wouldn't be where it is today without the MartinaNavratilova--Chris Evert battles. They drove their game to new heights andbrought fans to the sport. Let's hope Michelle eventually chooses to focus onthe LPGA. She and Morgan will draw fans.

BETTER EARNED Wiehas accepted an exemption from the USGA Women's Committee to the U.S. Women'sOpen, but I think it's a mistake, as qualifying is sometimes a good thing. WhenI played in the 1986 Curtis Cup, I earned an amateur exemption to the Open, butwhen I turned professional in '87, I lost that free pass. The possibility ofnot playing the biggest event in the women's game was enough to get me totallyfocused on the qualifier, which I won. That victory gave me the confidence ofknowing I could deliver when it mattered. Michelle has the talent to justify aspot in the field, I simply don't think a trip to the qualifier would hurt her.It might even be the first step to her inaugural win as a pro.

Dottie Pepper, a17-year veteran of the LPGA tour and an analyst for NBC and the Golf Channel,welcomes questions at dottie@siletters.com.

GOLF MAGAZINE TOP 100 TEACHERS POLL

Who will return to the winner's circle first, ErnieEls or Vijay Singh?

Els ... 45%

Singh ... 55%

"At their level it's all about attitude, and Vijaywants it more. Ernie needs to be more mentally tough."

--TED SHEFTIC TED SHEFTIC LEARNING CENTER

EIGHT PHOTOSDAVID WALBERG (WETTERICH); ERICK W. RASCO (SUTTIE, 2); JIM GUND (BACKGROUND); DAVID WALBERG (PEPPER); ROBERT BECK (PRESSEL, WIE); LM OTERO/AP (SINGH)