Michelle Wie: A Flash in the Pan?

Geoff TownsendAnalyst IJuly 22, 2008

I am not one to say that a woman can't beat a man.  This country has already seen it happen (See: Billy Jean King, for all you uneducated "sports hounds" and youngsters).  I am one, though, to give one request: If you dare challenge the men at their sport, bring your A game.

Michelle Wie was supposed to be the next great thing in golf; the Tiger Woods of the LPGA.  Perhaps that hype was too much to begin with, but we were force-fed her as the first Michelle Wie.  The first woman that could come in and challenge the world, and Annika Sorenstam, as the greatest woman golfer to play the game. 

Unfortunately for that same sports world, we have been witness to perhaps one of the greatest underachievers of the last fifty years.

Sure she was fifteen when she broke onto sports pages worldwide as a professional golfer.  A shy high school sophomore who happened to swing the hell out of a driver.  We understood while she worked out the kinks of growing up under the scrutiny of ESPN and the eyes of golf fans everywhere.  We even welcomed her challenge to play on the PGA Tour up against the boys.  We saw her shoot four over the cut line.  We didn't see the beginnings of a trend.

Wie's next three attempts to play PGA Tour events, the 2006 John Deere Classic, the 2007 84 Lumber Classic and the 2007 Sony Open in Hawaii, ended when Wie withdrew, then with Wie missing the cut by 13 and 14 strokes respectively.

Even when Wie's game is on, as it was last weekend, she finds a way to nix all of it.  By failing to sign the scorecard after round two, she was disqualified.  As a fifteen year old, new to the whole professional golf game, we may have understood.  As a three year "veteran", and with 32 professional events played, it is growing rather redundant.  At this point it should be second nature to sign the card and stop at the tent like you do after every round.  Clockwork.

We have seen pressure ruin even the brightest stars.  Not many people have the fortitude or focus of Tiger Woods, but a scorecard?  If there was any belief that Michelle Wie could ever challenge the PGA, perhaps make a cut for once, what hope is there now?

Why extend a sponsor's exemption to a player that has such a spotty past?  She draws a crowd, she has one of the most attractive swings in golf, and she isn't too bad on the eyes. All valid, all superficial.

At the end of the day, she can play one round of good golf every weekend.  It is her trend.  It's what she does.  She will leave us in awe with drives approaching 300 yards, but miss a chip and three putt for bogey.  She ends up on broadcasts as an "also-ran".  It's not worth the sponsorship or the advertising dollars. 

Give the invitations to players who may challenge or even, shock, like Zach Johnson, Rocco Mediate, or Greg Norman.  They have all given sports' fans something to watch. 

Annika Sorenstam didn't beat the boys.  Michelle Wie never will.