Michelle Wie and a tale of two teenagers
Here’s a line from the sports pages of London’s respected Guardian newspaper that deserves a wider audience. “Hamburg were breathing out of their arses and the last thing they needed to see was someone who can catch pigeons coming on.” Translation: the labouring Germans were undone late in last week’s European Champions League football (soccer) game against Arsenal by a fresh substitute with lightning speed.
So what has that got to do with Michelle Wie, you won’t ask because you didn’t know that was the point? Bear with me.
The pigeon-catcher in question is called Theo Walcott, and he is an exciting new talent. But his manager generally prefers to bring him on only for the last 10 or 15 minutes or so of a match, a fresh pair of highly talented legs to turn a game around as he often does.
This has led to a growing clamour to see him play full time, which the boss resists.
The reason? Like Wie, Walcott is a tender 17 years of age and the manager is afraid of throwing him to the sporting wolves too early. Too many of the wrong kind of injuries now and Walcott could be plagued with them for the rest of his career as other young prodigies have been. A run of bad games could also turn the crowd against him as quickly as they first acclaimed him, denting his confidence in a way that might do permanent damage to an impressionable teenager.
I appreciate golf is a long way from the punishing physical demands of football, but I still see parallels that reflect ill on Wie, her parents and her sponsors. It is already being suggested Wie’s attempts to slug it out with the men are seriously affecting her game for the worse. And how many more humiliations like this week’s exit from a meaningless Japanese men’s tournament – last but for an amateur - before her confidence suffers a lasting dent?
You don’t get any prizes for guessing I think the football manager’s approach is better for all concerned. He is certainly not doing it for altruistic reasons: he’s protecting an investment that could be worth just as many squillions as Wie if not more if Walcott realises his full potential.
Everyone keeps saying Wie is a huge talent. At the moment all I see is someone whose career is going embarrassingly backwards. I have no problem with women mixing it with the men if they are up to it. I do have a problem with the constant triumph of hype over reality every time Wie goes near a PGA course.
I wish she would succeed with her tilts at the faintly ludicrous windmill of the cut until it becomes such a non-event we can continue with the serious stuff at the top of the leaderboard. But if it doesn’t happen soon someone should take her, her parents and her sponsors aside and insist she tries a more measured progress towards her goals, before it’s too late.
Lots of things are said to be riding on her success: the wider appeal of the game to an Asian audience, and more particularly to young girls and women. As Tiger Woods found out the other week, there are already enough emerging Asians to perk up interest on that continent, and as for the girls, what lesson are they to draw from repeated failure? Not one the golfing authorities want them to hear I suspect.
|« The second coming of Justin Rose||Tour Championship Round Four review: Magnificent Scott finishes the job in style »|
Well put. I also read that article in the Guardian and I am glad you put it together so well.
For me, Michelle is turning into a bit of a Don Quixote type character on the golf course. Her "windmills" are the men's events, and her swords her clubs. Whatever her score she is sure to tell a tale of her heroic encounter. True genuis, though, is sometimes half-mad.
Finally, another blogger that understands that everyone who is seventeen isn't necessarily fit to be thrust out there for public consumption. Ms. Wie has tons of potential, but her "handlers" are working very hard to destroy any career that she might have. This downward spiral can't continue long into 2007 because it will start to reflect badly on her sponsors; namely Nike & Sony. Once it starts to affect their bottom line, she'll become old news faster than you can say Anna Kournikova.
To write Sony and or Nike to complain about money they have wasted would be totally a waste of time. The phrase wouldn't say "s" with a mouthful is appropriate. Rather than write, don't buy. As a golf professional, I was invited to play in a charity event for cancer. Was 100% in favor and ready to go... The reward for playing for 2 days, a $200.00 gift certificate to the Nike tent. Said no for that reason, I do not buy or support Nike anything....
They only care about Jerry McGuire and showing them the money. Sports agents and the likes of Nike and their exploitation are ruining the world. Think I am wrong, take the family to a ballgame 20 years ago versus today.
They are not blind, they see her failing and you would only hope it would act as a deterrance the next time they try to whore another kid. Wish there were more coaches like that cared like the young soccer kid; Freddie Adu (not 100% sure of his name).
Don't buy the product...
Indeed you are very correct, Alex is indeed a greak joke.
Just read Alex's comment:
Jay, Bubbles has had some good finishes on the LPGA tour, but, by the same token, it should be acknowledged that she NEVER qualified for anything, preferring instead the tried and true method of sponsors' exemptions.
Note, that Alex actually used the word never, not only that, he capitalised the word never to bring it forward more.
If Wie never qualified for anything on the lpga tour, perhaps Alex can explain how it is that she holds the record for being the youngest qualifier for an lpga event at 12 years of age.
Perhaps, Alex would like to know that she qualified for another event at 12 years of age also. Perhaps, he would also like to know that she qualified for the US Womens Open at 13 years of age. Also, for many of her events, like the Evian, her performance has dictated that she has qualified to play the next years event.
Indeed great quote, Alex is a joke indeed.
Jay, Bubbles has had some good finishes on the LPGA tour, but, by the same token, it should be acknowledged that she NEVER qualified for anything, preferring instead the tried and true method of sponsors' exemptions. "
Alex it appears you may be operating without all the facts concerning Miss Wie.
At 10 years, 9 months, 24 days, is youngest to "qualify" for USGA amateur event (U.S. Women's Public Links), loses in first round.
Becomes youngest to win Jennie K. Invitational (by nine shots) and Hawaii State Women's Stroke Play (by two). Also becomes first woman to qualify for match play at the 93rd Manoa Cup, loses in first round.
Takefuji Classic at Waikoloa Beach to become youngest to Monday "qualify" for LPGA event. Misses cut.
Wins first-round Manoa Cup match, then loses to Del-Marc Fujita in second round on second extra hole.
At U.S. Women's Public Links, becomes youngest semifinalist in history of USGA-run amateur tournaments.
Wins State Open Women's Division by 13 shots over LPGA pro Cindy Rarick.
Shoots 1-over 73 to tie for 47th at Sony Open qualifying, beating 49 men.
Ties for ninth at Kraft Nabisco Championship, an LPGA major.
Youngest to make cut at LPGA event, the Kraft Nabisco Championship (third-round 66 equals low amateur score for LPGA major).
Youngest in 108-year history of U.S. Golf Association to win an adult USGA event, the 2003 Women's Amateur Public Links Championship.
Youngest to make cut at U.S. Women US Open (2003).
Youngest to win Hawaii State Open Women's Division.
Youngest to play in PGA Tour event, the 2004 Sony Open in Hawaii.
First female to shoot in the 60s in a PGA Tour event (2-under-par 68 in 2004 Sony Open in Hawaii).
Youngest U.S. Curtis Cup player (2004), wins both singles matches.
Youngest to win Laureus World Sports Academy Award (Newcomer of the Year).
First amateur to compete in LPGA Championship (finishes second to Annika Sorenstam)
First female to qualify for adult male U.S. Golf Association championship, the U.S. Amateur Public Links (defeats three men and reaches quarterfinals).
Finishes in the top five in the first five LPGA events entered as a professional.
"Qualifies" for the U.S. Open Championship sectional qualifier by finishing as the medalist in her local region tournament. First woman to compete at the U.S. Open sectional qualification tournament.
I agree with you somewhat Alex when it comes to the men's events, but disagree with your statements when Miss Wie plays the ladies.
Johnny N, Ace
It is unfair and unreasonable of you to burden Alex with documented facts. It is heart-warming to hear Wie's detractors express their deep concern for MW's well-being.
By the way, sponsor's exemptions are their's to do with as they damn well please.
Here's another fact: MW had ZERO wins on the LPGA tour in her first year as a professional golfer.
Sure she played less events because she isn't part of the LPGA tour but thats a weak excuse. Tiger went pro in August of 1996 and won two PGA tour events that calendar year. He didn't play that many PGA tour events in 1996 as a professional because he turned pro at the end of the season. Futhermore, he won a major in less than a year of playing as a professional golfer. Everyone, likes to compare MW to TW in terms of age, i just thought it would be intresting to compare their careers in terms of being professional golfers. Seems like their first 12 months as professionals are very different. Don't bother bringing up the fact that MW had three top five finishes in LPGA Majors, contending in majors will never equate to winning 6 tournaments including a major. I guess that's why I don't think MW stats are very impressive. Being the youngest to play/contend is NOT as important as being the youngest to WIN. Contending is just not as important as winning. She has one win for a decent tournament and that deserves some credit. But as a professional, so far she hasn't backed up the hype by winning.
Based on reports that Miss Wie has enough credits earned to graduate this semester it makes sense for Miss Bivens to grant the exemption as Miss Wie is a big draw at the limited LPGA events she appears in each year.
After this season playing on the men’s tour it makes sense for Miss Wie to play against women the majority of her appearances and limit her men’s appearances to the Sony and one other for awhile. Having her place at the bottom of the order can’t be good for her fans, sponsors or herself in the long run.
"Not at all," said Wie, winless in 33 career LPGA Tour appearances. "I didn't play like myself today and ......"
I thought she played like herself, today .... and every other day, as a matter of fact.
Hype -> failue -> excuses -> delusions of grandeur
Par for the course!
Tour sponsors now dictate the carnival end of the field and as long as MW can
bring in the eyeballs, she will keep getting invited. The problem is us. Like her or
dislike her, we care enough to participate in the stupid "Wie Watch".
I'm surprised you let "Hello" get away with that Wie vs. Tiger nonsense above. How could anyone in their right mind compare results from a full-time 21 year old professional (who is likely the greatest golfer ever) to that of a 16 year old part-timer who is still in high school, for God's sake? Why not do the right thing and compare Wie's results to the "official" rookies of the LPGA Tour like media darling Morgan Pressel or international star Ai Miyazato. Fact is, all but about 15 of the full-time professionals on the LPGA Tour would gladly trade 2006 results with Wie ... and she did it in only 8 events at just 16 years old. C'mon guys, your disdain for the circus around Ms. Wie has tainted your view of her successes.
Just piggy bagging on your comment....
Even those 15 players rank ahead of Wie might want to trade spot with her given her off-source earning and her young age.
Caddy: Michelle, I think you should putt the ball and try to get down in two so you can get in the playoff.
Michelle: I can't do that because I am a "golf phenom" and I am going to chip the ball in for the win.
Caddy: Yes, but the chip will be a downhill breaking shot that will be very difficult to get near the hole.
Michelle: I told you I am a "golf phenom" the ball has to go in the hole!!
Caddy: Okay, but I think you should think it over.
"stupid is as stupid does" Forrest Gump
Caddy: Michelle, I think you should putt the ball and try to get down in two so you can get in the playoff."
Using a wedge is a higher percentage shot when faced hitting a shot from the fringe, with grass behind the ball into a fast downhill green.
Skilled players choose a wedge over a putter in nearly every case. The reasons are simple really, loft and backspin.
The only issue I have with Michelle is with her execution of the shot. She hit the ball flush rather than opening up the face to create more backspin and less bounce to take the grass from out of play behind the ball. Height and backspin act like a brake on a downhill green, but you need the nerves to throw it further down the hill than a chip.
Comments are closed for this post.