Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Whoa, Wie, Part II

Judging from the reaction, I struck a nerve with the item in Sunday's column in the Inquirer headlined, Whoa, Wie.

The gist of the item was Michelle Wie is doing harm to her golf game and her reputation by failing time and again -- 14 times so far -- at making the cut in a men's tournament. Enough already. She has become an embarrassing side show, failing spectacularly chasing the men when she could so easily be a celebrated star on the LPGA Tour. Why go on?
Here's a sampling of emails from readers:

"I am in total agreement. I eel she's really trying to take advantage of her talent in the wrong way.'s sad." -- Charlotte

"I am beginning to feel very sorry for her. I just don’t understand who is advising her. Where are her parents? Or is it the money? I am with you she needs to do what all our great women golfers have done play in the LPGA. Prove yourself with your peers before you go after the men. Men and women were created differently (Some people might not believe that) but she needs to accept that and move on. She could do so much for women’s golf but right now she is an embarrassment. " -- Helen

"Your piece on Wie was spot on. At least as true as the fact that someone should have taken Arnie’s “competitive” sticks away 20 years ago rather than he himself finally recognizing the insanity of it all and closing the door himself (I think – I hope). While some of the responsibility has to be placed on Wie herself (after all, she seems reasonably intelligent and is not, given what she has lived for the past four years, a typical “kid” anymore), I think you have to look at her enablers.
"Her father of course who seems like your typical pushy, blindered parent. The tournament directors and sponsor whores who care nothing about the humiliation Wie generates with her spectacular failures for the sake of more bodies through the turnstiles – at least on Thursday and Friday.
"And lastly Nike, for enriching a teenager beyond any reasonable level before she had accomplished anything. I can’t imagine Michelle is held in anything but utter contempt by her LPGA colleagues and will be for years to come regardless of any success she might find there. As to her ability to play full time on the PGA Tour (dad’s idea if I remember correctly), who's kidding who? Guys you and I have never even heard of who struggle to even make a living playing out there can play rings around her week in week out – now and in the future. At least Annika had the intelligence and grace to take her shot at Colonial, have some fun with it, and after getting her butt kicked (relatively speaking) retreat full-time to her world.
"Michelle and her advisors need to back off, step away from the cameras, put some work into establishing a career on the LPGA tour, win something, and then think about this superfluous garbage. Not that ESPN, The Golf Channel, Nike, tournament sponsors and directors, her parents, and to a great extent our society and its culture will allow this to happen. As long as there is a buck to be made they will continue to exploit her until she implodes spectacularly or simply fades away.
"Of course she has the skills to win on the LPGA tour. But as anyone who truly understands the game of golf knows, playing at and winning at the professional level requires a “mental” side of the game that she has yet to demonstrate command of. If she once had these mental skills, only time will tell if she can regain them. If not, she’s finished before she starts. Can anyone say Ty Tryon? " -- John