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Bobby Curran

Wie’s Win Huge

Michelle Wie reacts to winning the 2014 LPGA LOTTE Championship golf tournament on the 18th green at Ko Olina Golf Club. AP photo/Eugene Tanner

Michelle Wie reacts to winning the 2014 LPGA LOTTE Championship golf tournament on the 18th green at Ko Olina Golf Club. AP photo/Eugene Tanner

Hawaii’s golf fans were thrilled when Michelle Wie capped off an excellent week at the Lotte championship at Ko Olina with a final round masterpiece leading to a two-shot victory. Given Wie’s rejuvinated game this year that has her posting the best scoring average in the LPGA , a victory seemed inevitable. She is now also the tour’s leading money winner.

Not only was the victory terrific for Wie, it might have been even greater for the LPGA tour.

“It is incredibly rare for an LPGA event to become the story over a men’s tour event,” says Jonathan Wall from PGA Tour.com. “But that’s what happened last week. While Matt Kuchar was earning a win at the RBC, all of golf focused on Michelle Wie. She moves the needle like no other woman golfer and more than all but a few of the men.”

Michelle Wie’s success means far more than bragging rights for the LPGA tour.

“The LPGA is locked into brutal competition with the Champion’s Tour,” says Maui resident and NBC/ Golf Channel commentator Mark Rolfing. “They are head to head for the same sponsors and television times. If Michelle is successful, the LPGA wins that battle. The Champions Tour doesn’t have a marquee personality that’s even close.”

Watching Michelle on the final Saturday, she had that huge smile announcing the joy is back in her game. She has the style and elegance the LPGA desperately needs, and now is showing the play to match.

Let’s face it: the casual fans who can make golf events a major success in the all-important hunt for ratings and sponsors aren’t breaking down doors to see Inbee Park.

Michelle Wie has an undeniable it factor, and she can provide her tour a huge boost with continued success.

* The first round of the NBA playoffs is showing that some level of parity exists between high and low seeds. We’ve seen the vulnerabilities of Oklahoma City, Indiana and the Los Angeles Clippers. Even San Antonio looked like it could be challenged by the lowly Dallas Mavericks.

Playoff intensity is different in the NBA, and this is where you have to respect the Miami Heat. Flipping the switch is a dangerous way to live in the NBA, but the Heat may be as good as any we’ve seen at doing that. They are amazing with converted turnovers, and their team speed and strength is hard to match.

If Dwayne Wade can stay healthy, a Heat three-peat seems entirely possible.

And stay tuned for firings in the NBA of coaches in the play-offs. It seems likely that, short of an appearance in the finals, both Pacers coach Frank Vogel and the Warriors’ Mark Jackson could be looking for work.

* The Knicks’ hiring of Phil Jackson is looking like a marriage in need of therapy.

Owner James Dolan promised to give Jackson free rein on all basketball decisions, but already there are reports that he doesn’t regard Jackson’s total house cleaning plan to be in that category. Jackson wants changes in support staff, but Dolan wants to keep some people whose primary loyalties are to him.

This could turn messy in a hurry.

Bobbycurran1@gmail.com

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