Saturday, April 28, 2007

Michelle Wie’s Return to the LPGA is a Non-Event

Michelle Wie's announcment that she will return on May 28th to play in Annika Sorenstam's Ginn Tribute leaves me cold. Maybe in the past I didn’t express it in these exact words, but Michelle Wie is a circus act that is going nowhere. Yes, she has talent. Yes, she can hit the ball 300 yards. Yes, she is reasonably attractive. All these I accept.

What I don't buy is the circus act that has been created around her. She's accomplished nothing on the LPGA and even less on the PGA and I predict that she never will. Her return, which will be trumpeted by the media as the return of the female wunderkind and the savior of ladies golf, will be a non-event. She'll make the cut, place somewhere in the top twenty, and say things like "the layoff has set me back and I’m just now starting to get my swing" or “I was feeling pretty good out there, but just missed a few putts that would have kept me right up there."

The wrist problem she's been experiencing is just an easy way to get her out of the limelight because each time she is in it, especially when playing on the men's tour, she does nothing to help herself or women’s golf. Giving her a break from the tour may have been the first smart thing that "Wie, Incorporated" has done in a long time.

To play whenever it works in her schedule will never accomplish anything. Tiger is constantly tweaking his game. VJ Singh practices 8 hours a day. Phil is always wondering how to make his game better, even after his wins a major. Playing 10 times a year and practicing when it is convenient will never make Ms. Wie a consistent contender. Lorena Ochoa, Natalie Gulbis and Paula Creamer all play the tour full-time and you are starting to see that these ladies are the future of the LPGA. Natural talent only takes you so far. You earn your place on the leaderboard each week. Not when it’s convenient.

Back on June, 2006 in my post "The Exploitation of Michelle Wie", I took Michelle Wie's father, BJ to task because all it seemed that he was interested in was the money. He, being his daughter's manager, seemed to want to push her far faster than she was able to handle. Somehow he thinks that she can be both a major LPGA star and a normal Stanford college student. It ain't gonna happen my friend. Ask Britney how well living a normal life as an uber-celebrity has worked.

"Wie Incorporated" and the LPGA, are starting to look like laughing stocks in a similar way that John Daly is starting to look like a caricature. The PGA Tour is rightly distancing itself from Mr. Daly because of his book revelations, he sordid past, his bad decisions and his lousy play. For different reasons, the LPGA appears to be distancing itself from Ms. Wie because of her age, limited playing schedule, poor showings on the LPGA Tour, and the embarrassing outings she’s had on the PGA Tour.

Don't get your hopes up that Michelle Wie will win the upcoming tournament or many after that. Yes, she'll get all the attention. Yes, she'll be the lead story into all the media coverage and yes, all the Wie Warriors will be predicting victory. Once reality sets in on Sunday, someone that we barely know like Birdie Kim will probably be victorious and Michelle Wie will have a new set of excuses why she didn't do as well as advertised.

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