Monday, September 18, 2006

Do Wie really need another post on Michelle?

Or another not-so-clever use of Wie in a sentence?

Awhile back, I put in my two cents on how Michelle Wie should gauge her success (or failure). Other than that, I have avoided commenting on all the hype and hoopla surrounding her.

My blogger friend Tony over at the Hooked on Golf blog is calling for a boycott on all "Wie articles" until she wins something. How does he do it? With an article on Wie, of course. For this post, he asked me for a quote. Since he's so special, I broke my own unspoken boycott to comment for him. I figure I should go ahead and post my own words here as well and leave it at that. At least for now.

If you've ever read my blog, you know that this is actually a short quote for me. Of course I have more to say on the issue, I just can't be bothered. Here is the quote I gave Tony:

Michelle’s failures in the PGA tour events aren’t so much about her being female as they are about her lacking experience. However, her performance to date definitely indicates that her presence there in the first place has everything to do with that “novelty” aspect which is gender related. It’s becoming embarassing. Maybe they should start a “teen phenom” tour and have all the best boys and girls compete against one another. Then she could gain the experience she needs without having to accept all the sponsors’ exemptions and the boys would have a shot as well since they’re not getting those now. She does need to play more than the LPGA is currently allowing before she can get her card, I just don’t think it should be with proven players on the PGA when many mini-tour players could kick her ass. I think her ambitions are terrific and she should stick to them, but she needs a better path and better representation in order to get there instead of being a cash cow.

Next post.


John B. said...

What people fail to realize about sports in general, and about the 'minor sports' in particular, such as golf, is that these sporting entities are there to provide entertainment first, that is where they make their money. Without the big names that provide the entertainment value that brings in TV and sponsor's $$$$, the PGA and LPGA tours would behanding out hundreds or a thousand or two dollars to the winners each week, instead of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The LPGA will use what it can to attract sponsors and Tv $$$...young and attractive women golfers sells, plain and simple, talent not withstanding. Why does nobody get angry at Natalie Gulbis...she hasn't won much either, but she has several large endorsement and ad campaigns in magazines (especially golf magazines) and on TV.

Without the entertainment aspect, without the big names like Tiger and Wie, golf would be relegated to ESPN at 10 AM every weekday morning for an hour, next to ping pong and World's Strongest Man.

As far as winning, a lot of the greats took years on the tour before they won. Ben Hogan put in a series of several straight second and third place finishes, and almost gave up golf on his thrid try onthe tour, before he achievede success.

Wie has the talent, she just needs to learn to compete and learn to win, which is why she should have taken Tiger's approach and stayed as an amateur for a while, win a lot of tournaments and learn how to win, then step up. She lacks the maturity to compete with seasoned veterans, she doesn't lack the talent. Winning is an acquired and learned talent.

Jam Boy said...

Well said John B. As much as I hate to watch Wie play in yet ANOTHER men's event, I can't help but watch. I just feel bad for the great golfers we now CAN'T watch as often on TV because the cameras are too focused on Wie's upcoming bogey putt.

Mark said...

John B, Wie is a young woman with first rate talent, good looks and ambition. She may become the greatest female golfer of all time -- though I doubt it. But she is not going to be able to compete with the guys. She lacks the TALENT to compete with the men consistently. Why? Long game and short game.

Statistically, she is a short hitter as compared to the guys. Her average drive at the 84 lumber was about 265 yards. Her longest was about 285. No offense, but I, an overweight 6 handicapper in my late 40s, hit the ball further than she does (she is, of course, 10-15 shots a round BETTER than me). She can improve her mid-iron and is a fair short iron player which means she can do very well against other women. But she is not a great putter. She can improve, but most folks putt their best early in their careers before the misses pile up. The more she plays on courses that are 7,000 yards plus, with super fast greens, she is going to see more misses than she should early on -- because she is going to have loads of longer putts both for birdie and par, caused by the pressure her lack of length (in a men's professional sense) puts on her game. This is not something going to the gym will fix.

Shorter hitters (which, in men's terms is what she will be) have to consistently play from long distances and have to be super accurate (Funk) or magicians with the short game (Kite, Faxon, Roberts) to compete in the modern game. Wie is a long hitter for a woman. If she can develop accuracy like the Turtle and/or a magic short game, she might be able to compete for a while -- as could any strong woman. But the hurdle is unbelievably high and to some degree, the gifts she would need are genetic.

I don't enjoy watching her play on the men's courses. It is abusive of her talent. As wonderful a talent as she appears to be, whether she will be dominant even among the women is not yet clear. If such predictions were easy to make (OK EARL knew) Hal Sutton would have passed Nicklaus, Verplank and Clampett would have won multiple major championships and Ben Crenshaw would have dominated his time. Of course, Sutton has been an excellent player, Clampett and Verplank solid to struggling tour pros and Watson -- largely unheralded -- was the best player of Crenshaw's era. So what we have thus far is a load of hype over a young woman who doesn't hit the ball as far as Karin Sjodin or Brittany Lincicome and about as far as Jee Young Lee and Sophie Gustafson.

It's interesting to watch women and men compete, but only at appropriate distances. A.S. could, arguably, make some cuts and make some money against the men. But win? Play in the Masters? The Ryder Cup? Nope, and she is, in my humble opinion, the best woman golfer of all time. Miss Wie should take it one step at a time, because eventually, if she keeps getting stepped on (as she will for a while at men's tournaments) her ego and confidence could get crushed. At that would be a loss.