Caddie is dumped by Wie
Thursday 10 August 2006
While Michelle Wie has yet to learn how to be ruthless on the golf course, off it she has no such problems. The 16-year-old schoolgirl yesterday sacked her caddie in in blood that was not so much cold as frozen.
Greg Johnston was at the departure gate at Manchester Airport when Wie's agent - who he had shared dinner with the night before - contacted him on his mobile phone to tell him he was fired. Johnston claimed he had had no no inkling what was about to befall him, despite his employer's poor showing in last weekend's Women's British Open.
"I was shocked and surprised. I thought we had a successful year," said Johnston, who has worked for Wie since she turned professional last October. "I was extremely disappointed that no one named Wie gave me the news."
A statement from Wie's PR team cast a rather more conciliatory light on the parting of the fairways, thanking Johnston for his "hard work and dedication" and explaining that "Greg's departure comes as part of Michelle's maturation as a golfer, part of which is learning from many different bright golf minds".
Johnston is obviously not feeling so gracious, not least because after 12 years of lucrative employment with Juli Inkster he had discarded her bag for Wie's. Nevertheless, the move had looked a wise one as the partnership seemingly flourished with the Hawaiian finishing in the top five in the year's first three majors and earning more than £400,000 from just eight events.
Wie is not allowed to play full-time on the circuit until she is 18, but if she was she would stand 14th on the money list. She has still to win, though, and her 26th placing at Royal Lytham was plainly an underachievement too far for the Wie camp, run so assiduously by her father, B J.
Somebody had to pay, and Johnston is that man. As yet, there is no indication who will replace Johnston.
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