This Week at WorldGolf.com: July 10, 2007
The rise and fall of Nike star Michelle Wie: Time for an inquest, and self examination
Ah, the silence. Notice it? If you follow the LPGA Tour, you probably have. There's been a good, oh, 10 days of it so far. Michelle Wie seems to have fallen off the face of the Earth, and all the incessant talk about her has died down to a hush.
Now, allow me to break that silence, if for no other reason than to lament the media's hand in one of the most spectacular - and sudden - downfalls in sports.
Yes, the media is a fickle beast, but there is something almost perverse in the treatment of Wie, more akin to Hollywood than to the sports world (to say nothing of pro golf).
During the course of six weeks or so, the media relentlessly railed against the hype of Michelle Wie with such ferocity that it was easy to ignore how we were responsible for creating that very hype in the first place.
Take the years of fawning Wie coverage out of the equation - those Tiger Woods comparisons, to name just one shameful example - and Wie's recent dismal performance in the LPGA Championship and U.S. Women's Open would be little more than footnotes.
Instead, the media (this writer certainly included) refused no opportunity to write how Wie finished dead last at the LPGA, or, in the case of the U.S. Women's Open, how she withdrew again, and how she hadn't broken par in a year.
Sure, Wie helped. Her withdrawal from the Ginn Tribute in May deserved scrutiny, if not outright scorn. Her statements to the press are sometimes so maddeningly stupid and evasive that it's hard to write anything positive about her.
It's tough to say who's had the harder row to hoe, though. There's Wie, facing an angry master rather like a child faces a cross parent. Then there's the media: angry, sure, but likely more at ourselves for building up something that might not have been meant to stand in the first place.
I don't think Wie will be around much in the coming months. This time apart will be good for both sides.
Wie needs to rebuild her game. The media's task is harder: We need to reflect on the dangers of building up hype and how we treat those who do not live up to it.
As always, WorldGolf.com welcomes your comments.
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