An emerging big sports story

Wie.jpgWith the terrorist attack yesterday in London and all, potentially the most remarkable sports story of the year is flying under the radar screen today.
Question: What do the following PGA Tour golfers have in common:
Billy Andrade
Aaron Baddeley
Jeff Maggert
Scott Simpson
Steve Stricker
Kevin Stadler
Skip Kendall
Woody Austin
Robert Gamez
Harrison Frazer
David Duval
Lucas Glover
David Gossett
Answer: They all trail 15 year old Michelle Wie after the first round of the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic taking place this weekend in Silvis, Illinois.
Now that state of affairs will certainly generate more than a few barbs among the men in the tournament locker room this morning.
After posting a one under par 70 in her opening round (the leaderboard is here), Ms. Wie (nicknamed “the Big Wiesy”) is one stroke off the projected score for making the tournament “cut” — i.e., the reduction of the players in the tournament for the two weekend rounds to the 70 players with the best total scores after the first two rounds. If she makes the cut, then Ms. Wie would be the first female player in 60 years — since Babe Didrikson Zaharias in the 1945 Tucson Open — to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.
Ms. Wie is 6 foot tall, possesses a flawless one plane swing, and hits the ball far enough to compete against men on the PGA Tour. She is the real deal, and it’s only a matter of time until she makes the cut in a PGA Tour event. Today may just be the day.
Update: After getting to five under par for the tournament during her round on Friday, the Big Wiesy faltered on the back nine and shot an even par 71, leaving her at one under par for the tournament and two shots off making the cut. Still, quite a remarkable performance by the 15 year old Ms. Wie, who beat a third of the field in the event.

4 thoughts on “An emerging big sports story

  1. Another thing they all have in common, Tom, is that each of them has more integrity in their pinkie fingers than the money grubbing parents, agents, equipment manufacturers, and even the girl herself (Ms. Wie) have in their entire bodies.
    Michelle Wie playing in this event is not some mark of progress – it’s another mark of $$$$-hungry wake swimmers who could care less about Michelle Wie becoming a champion and an icon of her sport, but rather a quick avenue to cash for them. Michelle Wie has won nothing, nothing, on the LPGA level. There are at least 10, by my count, LPGA professionals who could compete in this event, with the weakest field of players a PGA event will have this year (even Blaine McAllister is in this dog, for pete’s sake). Why aren’t they given a chance? Easy, because they won’t draw cut-ins from ESPN, and they each want a chance to win, that’s right, WIN, on their own tour. They don’t want to settle for topping out beating freaking Scott Simpson. Whoop-de-do.
    Congrats to you Michelle, and your creepy “unofficial advisors” at IMG, who I am sure will be very proud with you coming in T65. After all, it does nothing for the sport, but boy, does it gain some eventual cash for them.
    Here’s hoping an LPGA professional, of which there are many capable players, goes through the qualification process and actually earns a card, and competes regularly on the PGA Tour. The tour, and the game, would benefit hugely from that. However, this freaking sideshow does nothing for golf, nothing for the tour, and nothing for Michelle Wie, other than give her more reinforcement that it’s not about winning, it’s about looking good. It might be great for ESPN, or whoever else is going to put this horror show of a tournament on network air, but it means nothing good to the true golf fan (remember them, ESPN?), who won’t be tuning in this weekend.

  2. Geez, Don. It’s a bit harsh to criticize Wie for not winning anything on the LPGA Tour when she is only 15 years old. Gosh, Tiger Woods played in the L.A. Open as a 16 year old and didn’t fare as well as Wie did the past two days.
    Moreover, calling Wie a “freaking sideshow” is equally harsh. You suggest that you a true golf fan. Well, if you are, then you can see that this young lady has as good a swing technically as anyone playing on either Tour and is an extraordinary talent. For many years, Tour events have used special exemptions to allow players who can generate special interest to play in certain events. So long as Wie can compete effectively, which she is proving that she can, I have no problem whatsoever with a marginal event such as the John Deere Tournament allowing Wie to play to generate interest in the event.

  3. Correct, Tom. Tiger Woods also played college golf, where he learned to win, and win he did, dominating the amateur ranks.
    Michelle Wie has a great swing? Well, knock me over with a feather. So does everybody else on tour. The fact is that Wie is being used by people with an addiction to the limelight at the detriment of developing her game (including her father). She’s being turned for a profit by people who want a piece of the action. Yes, she’s only 15, and may be done by 18, if her “handlers”, who have her playing somewhere every week, continue to have their way.
    It’s all about the $$$$ with the Wie machine – Man, you can just see it. I hope she can get out from under the influence of the creeps that run that show and turn into something truly special. There are an emerging crop of great young golfers on the LPGA, and hopefully Michelle can lead that pack into greatness. I’m positive on her future, Tom, but not admitting to how she is being used by those around her to her own detriment is just being willfully ignorant.

  4. Inasmuch as having four teenagers at one time is proof enough of my willful ignorance, I won’t comment on whether the people supporting Wie are as draconian as you make them out to be. My sense is that they are not, given that Wie does not play close to a full schedule and has at least expressed an interest in maintaining her amateur status long enough to play some college golf.
    And, by the way, Tiger Woods was effectively represented by IMG before he ever entered college, as Earl Woods’ “consultant” role (“wink, wink”) with the company at that time reflected. That’s not to suggest that your salvos at Wie should also be directed at Woods or any other talented youngster who chooses to compete at the highest levels of the game. It simply reflects that your selective criticism of Wie may have a genesis other than a desire to protect the integrity of golf.

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