Is Michelle Wie the Next Bobby Fischer?

josh millarSenior Analyst IAugust 3, 2008

With all the talk of Michelle Wie’s fading career, I thought of a unique comparison to chess prodigy Bobby Fischer.


Fischer was a young talented chess prodigy. From the age of 13, he was highly touted. That's the same age that Michelle Wie’s name came to prominence.


In January 1958, at age 14, Fischer became the youngest US champion ever (this record still stands). He earned the title of International Master with this victory, becoming the youngest player ever to achieve this level (a record since broken).


Both Fischer and Wie were pushed at early ages. For Fischer, chess became something he was forced to do, rather then something he enjoyed so much. So, he took almost a 20-year sabbatical.


In 2003, Wie became the youngest player to make a cut in an LPGA event at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, shooting a 66 in the third round, tying the amateur record for a women's major championship, and placing her in the final group alongside Annika Sörenstam and eventual winner, Patricia Meunier-Lebouc.


A few months later, Wie earned a historic victory at the Women's Amateur Public Links tournament, becoming the youngest person ever, male or female, to win a USGA adult event. She also became the youngest player to make the cut in the history of the US Women's Open, where she placed 39th.


She garnered praise from some of the games greats. Arnold Palmer stated in 2003 that "she's probably going to influence the golfing scene as much as Tiger, or more. She's going to attract people that even Tiger didn't attract, young people, both boys and girls, and families."


Wie has yet to win on the LPGA tour and continues to compete with men.


I have to wonder how much of this Wie herself wants or how much influence the people managing her career.


Shooting 80’s against men does nothing for this young woman’s confidence.


The point between this comparison is that in late years, Bobby Fischer came to despise chess.


Wie at 19, has to much to offer, the game of golf and the world. I just hope Wie can live up to the praise the great Arnold Palmer once had for her. She deserves that much and more.