Monday, June 12, 2006

The Exploitation of Michelle Wie

Back in January I made a blog entry entitled "Michelle Wie – Give it a Rest". I’d like to address the Michelle Wie phenomenon again.

What really set me off this time is that the hype hasn't stopped. In fact, it's getting worse. I reference an article by AP Sport Columnist Tim Dahlberg from June 6th who said "Michelle Wie could one day become one of the greatest women golfers ever. If she does, it will be largely because she dared to play against men." Oh give me a break! He, a professional journalist, should know better.

The "…greatest women golfers ever". What about Annika Sorenstam with 67 victories and 9 majors. What about Kathy Whitworth with 88 career victories? What about Babe Diedrickson Zacharias with 31 golf wins, two Olympic gold medals, and four track and field world records? She also died at only 42.

Declaring that Ms. Wie could be the greatest female golfer ever before this woman has won anything of consequence is absolutely ludicrous. It's likening it to say that Milli Vanilli, with one top-10 hit, is in the same league as The Beatles, Elton John or Madonna. Someone’s been drinking way too much Kool Aid.

What bothers me even more is that the LPGA is allowing exploitation of female golfers to go on to such a degree that the game is getting lost because of all the promotion. For instance: pinup calendars. What does showing partial nude pictures of one's body have to do with golf? I'm sure Tiger looks great with his shirt off, but I don't see him in a pinup calendar.

And shame on B.J. Wie for exploiting his daughter to this degree. It appears that all he's interested in is making fast cash. Take the money and run seems to be his motto. Why should his daughter play 10-20 years on the tour when soon she’s gonna have all the money she'll ever need? Who cares about winning an LPGA major when she can finish tied for 56th at the men's US Open. The sponsors will love it.

Admittedly, since she turned pro, she's attracted sponsors to the tune of $10 million. Today, her name is golden. Yes, she gets attention wherever she goes, but unless she actually wins something, the "Wie Warriors" as well as her sponsors will soon find someone else to cheer for. Nike is ultimately in this to make money and they will quickly find a way to dump her when the time comes too.

Think Anna Kournikova. Did she win Yet, she was once the most popular topics on the Internet. What about Britney? She was the hottest female singer on the planet. Now, the only attention she gets is when she drops her baby.

Let's say that Ms. Wie does play in a future men's US Open. Good for her. So what? I’m sure her sponsors like Nike and Omega enjoys all the attention she gets, but in the end, being considered one of "the greatest women golfers ever" is based on success over a long career, not qualifying for or even winning a men’s tournament.

Movie stars, rock stars, even golf stars are just "flashes in the pan" unless they have longevity. Public opinion quickly moves on to what’s new, hot and cool.



At 3:16 PM, Anonymous tim said...

Great posts. Will come back for more. Please take the time to visit my golfing blogs: Golf Instruction Guide, Golf Shoes Blog, Online Golf Lessons Guide.

At 7:46 PM, Anonymous Dick Masterson said...

Who doesn't agree with this?



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