< link rel="DCTERMS.isreplacedby" href="http://jayflemma.travelgolf.com" >

Friday, September 15, 2006

What Planet are Wie on?

As we go to press, Michelle Wie closed out the first nine holes at Nemacolin's Mystic Rock Course with a dismal 42. That's six-over par for the front nine and six-over in a mere five hole span. She stands at plus-eleven overall, tied for dead last with Boyd Summerhays at the 84 Lumber Classic.

But the situation is so much worse not for the score, but for the fact that Team Wie cannot see the global perspective.

Take this example: when asked about her 5-over 77 yesterday, she answered, "I don't feel like I shot five-over."

Well that's just pure, weapons-grade BOLONIUM! No, in golf, your score is what the card says it is.

Here's another head scratcher. "I'd like to make the top 20, but I'm not going to rush it."

You better rush, and quick, because after a third straight last place showing and an 0-for-10 record in the top men's tours, even the Wie friendly media are starting to jump off the bandwagon. Take this headline from Fox Sports - "Wie overmatched again vs. the men at 84 Lumber Classic." Even ESPN - who's ONLY highlights on "SportsCenter" yesterday were of Wie's 77 - you read that right...not a single shot of any other player, but three full minutes of the 125th player - finally broke down and said "Wie getting buried at 84 Lumber."

Nevertheless, there's Michelle, telling the press before today's debacle "I'm going to go out with the same mind-set I had today, just try my hardest and keep plugging away. I think I'll be shooting a low score."

77-81=158, +14

Has any player that regularly comes in 115th or thereabouts gotten more ink? No. They also don't get paychecks.

Now that her round is mercifully over with a forgettable 81, let's look at the cold, hard facts. Michelle had fewer birdies than any other player. Michelle had more bogeys than any other player. She is 122d out of 134 in driving distance. Her longest drive, 286 yards on day one and 285 yards on day two were - wait for it - dead last in the field. She was 110th in greens in regulation. Last, she was 125th in putting.

Then of course, there's the famous quote about how she thinks she has a realistic chance of making the Ryder Cup Team - after going 0-9 at against the cut at men's events on major tours.

What planet are Wie on?

More to the point even if she does it once, why would anyone want to be the cellar team...perennially? How is just struggling to make the cut a career? Even if she eventually makes her next cut, she cannot have a financially viable career making one out of eleven cuts. No, this entire expiriment has devolved the PGA Tour to 155 people going to the office and working for a living trying to feed their families and one person who does not have to worry about earning a living playing golf who instead lives off her sponsor chasing personal goals.

Not to mention she got her playing playing partners put on the clock both days...for the third tournament in a row.

Finally, there is the most concerning statement of all - "If I only play against the women I only get good against the women." Is there any wonder why she has the biggest target of all on her back when she has to play LPGA events? She has won nothing in three years. Therefore, she has not earned her chance like Pauls Creamer has. Or Nat Gulbis, Annika again, any one of several great Asian born players (stop me anytime...)

Sadly, it is time for an agonizing re-appraisal of this whole affair. Michelle, who consistently plays both men's and ladies events on special exemptions has put herself between a rock and a hard place. She was promised to us as a Lady Tiger. She isn't. She has repeatedly been given special favors to try playing against men - she has failed every attempt. What happens if she goes to the LPGA and does NOT dominate? Wie'll know wie've been had.

The worst possible thing that could happen has become a reality. Michelle's game - excellent for the LPGA tour - has been exposed as inadequate at the PGA and European Tour level. The problem is this: if she does not dominate the LPGA, we will know for certain she was not truly deserving of all the special favors and legs up she got over the last three years. She also certainly won't be the most welcome person there after saying "I think I'd just get bored playing against the women."

She had no business making that remark. She won the "vaunted" Women's Am Pub Links. I'll pause for a second so you can go look that up. Back already? Good. So because she won an amateur tournament against mediocre amateurs, she gets to turn her back on the Annika Sorenstams of the world and all their remarkable achievements. Ho hum...so boring.

Listen to this quote - from the person who just finished 77-81 dead last and is 0-for-10:

"I just had a bad two weeks, that's it. No more, no less," she said. "I feel like I'm getting better and better. My game is progressing -- my shots are actually going to the fairway now. My shots are feeling solid....I'm really enjoying it. Obviously, everyone knows my ultimate goal is to play in the Masters. I like playing out here, making cuts -- start making cuts -- start getting Top 10s. I mean, who knows what's going to happen?"

I'm sorry, but I must be confused because the scoreboard says something different. Is there anyone else that thinks Michelle needs a reality check here? These are not the comments of a professional playing to earn a living.

Scott Verplank agrees:

"Obviously, she's some sort of phenom being a 16-year-old girl who can play like she can, but honestly there's not a male or female in the world who can compete out here at that age," Verplank said. "I'm sure there are some very fine 16-year-old boys who can play, but it would be awful hard for them to come out here and make a scratch.

"If I was her adviser, I would tell her to go kick all the ladies' tails around for about four years and if she wants to try again when she's 20, 21 and grown up more, and maybe a better player, come on back."

Michelle has hand-picked events that have particularly weak fields - featuring players 50-150 and never made a cut. She plays her home course (The Sony), and two courses at which she regularly vacations - Mystic Rock and Deere Run - and still never made a cut. In baseball, if a guy goes 0-10, he's benched. In basketball, if you miss ten shots in a row, you don't get passed the ball. John Hall missed two - not ten, two - field goals and he was fired.

No, the time for the special exemptions is past. If Michelle wants to play against the men, she should go to Q school and do it like every other person who plays on the tour. She has done nothing with all the special favors and it is downright unfair to the other women who deserve a shot and unfair to the men who work hard each week to put food on their tables and food on their backs. You want to play on the men's tour? Then be like Smith Barney and do it the old fashioned way - Earn It.


Blogger mediaguru @ HookedOnGolfBlog.com said...

This is my favorite post you've ever done (not only because the picture is so awesome).

I say we small time, grass roots media folks boycott all Wie discussions until she WINS something, anything... a game of checkers perhaps?

1:57 PM  
Blogger A WALK IN THE PARK said...

Photo credit: Tony Korologos

1:59 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home