Message from Sports Illustrated's Frank Deford on Michelle Wie worth noting
Frank Deford has long been one of the few sportswriters I’ve admired, actually the only sportswriter I can think of I’ve ever really respected, along with maybe Scott Ostler and the late Shelby Strother.
So I considered his opinion in his recent column for Sports Illustrated on Michelle Wie. I’ve been waffling on the Wie issue: should she really play with the big boys when she hasn’t really proven herself? Is it good for golf or only good for her?
Deford makes a good point: Women’s sports have long suffered, relative to men’s, from a lack of exposure. When a phenomenal talent like Wie comes along, shouldn’t she be loyal to her gender and help beef up a sport that would otherwise suffer? Or is the simple fact she playing against men helping women’s golf? Probably not.
If Wie plays in the Masters, those millions of TV viewers will be watching a woman in a men’s event. Hard to see how the LPGA benefits.
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As for Wie's loyalty to "Women's sport," it seems that she is interested in being the best golfer she can be, not the best woman golfer. If she can make the cut in the PGA, I say more power to her. Why should she limit herself to a lower level of competition out of some vague notion of "loyalty"?
Finally, in regards to the constant refrain that she "has not proven herself"; as I remember, it took Tiger Woods 9 tries to make his first PGA cut, and he was 20 at the time. Michelle has come very close to two PGA cuts, and is only 15!
Overall, Michelle Wie seems to be doing very well in her competitive quest. She has resisted the lure of cashing in by playing full time and postponing her education; she will be returning to scholl in the fall. No matter her result, she talks of the "learning experience" each event afforded her. She is playing in any event that meets her schedule and offers her good opportunity, whether that be PGA, LPGA, or amateur.
I hope Michelle continues to do what is best for her, and I hope the nay-saying pundits will just get out of her way, settle back, and enjoy the show.
As long as the LPGA treats amateur golfers with contempt, and bars those under 18 from their club, why should someone like Michelle Wie have any loyalty to them.
Anyway, someone brought up a good point about loyalty. Wie has very little reason to be loyal to the LPGA. Her parents are on record as saying that even a little support for junior girls from the LPGA would have gone a long way to helping them offset the expense of Wie's participation in LPGA events.
Up till now, it's the LPGA that has made out handsomely at Wie's expense.
Loyal to the LPGA? This must be a joke. Wie isn't even a member of the LPGA. She is a 15 year old school girl playing golf during her summer vacation. What loyalty does she owe the very organization that, because of her age, would bar her from becoming a member?
There are a number of reasons the time is ripe for a woman to compete with men in golf.....the technical levelling of golf by advanced equipment....the lag between advancing equipment deign and course construction and alteration...and bigger and stronger women.
In 15 years there will be no LPGA of any signifigance...there will be a world Tour and quite a few women will be part of it. Not because myself or anyone else is a "feminist"....but because they will shoot the scores. And it REALLY IS ABOUT SHOOTING THE SCORES. Isn't golf great?
Do you realize what you are saying?
Michelle Wie owes nothing to anyone but herself. Is it your view that she should sacrifice her self-interest and desires for the good of all woman's sports? That is an immoral and repulsive thought. Maybe you should try to get a job with a paper in China or Russia where the government tells you what to write for the good of all man. Do you tell your children when they share their dreams about what they want to be that they should think of the good of all mankind. I hope not. Because that would mean that in addition to not being fit to be a journalist you aren't fit to be a father. Shame on you!!
I'm sure Michelle could dominate the LPGA, and it is hard to see her reaching a level where she could earn as much on the PGA--particularly since her presence would probably bring LPGA purses closer to the PGA's. But without her playing against the men, she wouldn't generate much more interest than Morgan Pressel could generate without her mouth.
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