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Lewis Vs. Wie: A Rivalry Without Sharp Edges

Calling them rivals is lazy, a cliché to fit a narrative that fans want but one that doesn’t jibe with reality on the ground, or in the gym or on the patio at the Bear’s Club where Stacy Lewis and Michelle Wie hang out and talk about everything but golf. Mention that the two of them constitute the best and most compelling rivalry in golf today and they will both shake their heads and smile.
“I don’t think we consider each other rivals but I do know we both want to beat each other on the course,” Lewis said during a South Carolina beach vacation before flying to Manchester, England, to defend her title at the Ricoh Women’s British Open. “That doesn’t affect our friendship. That’s why we are happy for the other person when they win.”
Wie agreed. From her home in Jupiter she said, “I enjoy seeing (Stacy’s) name on the leaderboard. It definitely gives me a boost.”
That’s not exactly Duke-North Carolina or Auburn-Alabama. In fact, the loudest and most genuine cheer when Wie won the U.S. Women’s Open came from the runner-up, Lewis, who was rolling putts next to the 18th green just minutes before Michelle made her final, winning par. A week later, Wie hugged Lewis after Stacy’s come-from-behind win in Arkansas. The friendship even extends online where Wie called out Lewis on Twitter in the “ice bucket challenge,” a series of video dares in which players dump buckets of ice water on their heads and goad friends to follow in kind.
They tell jokes and share stories and buy each other drinks every now and again, certainly not the kind of good, hard, hate-filled rivalry sports fans yearn for: the kind where they can take sides, wear colors and hurl invectives at those in the other camp. Fans want Yankees-Red Sox, Cowboys-Giants, Arnie-Jack; they want good guys and bad guys, red shirts and recognizable logos.


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