Michelle Wie defends her sponsor exemptions

I just read a copy of the letter Michelle Wie sent out to her critics in regards to her acceptance of a sponsor exemption for the John Deere Classic. You can view the letter on this golf channel page of Michelle Wie. I have copied and pasted the story on this site as well.

——Golf Channel Article ——

It has become increasingly fashionable again, especially in the days since 18-year-old Paula Creamer won the LPGA’s Sybase Classic, to bash Michelle Wie for regularly accepting sponsor’s exemptions to play in LPGA and PGA Tour events.

Wie, her critics insist, should be doing what Creamer-and Tiger Woods before Creamer-did. Which is to say she should be playing in more events against players her own age, the better to embed the habit of winning on a regular basis. Hawaii’s Wie is 15.

My take on all of this is there is no right or wrong way. There is no “model” that fits all phenoms. By playing “up” against older, better players on a regular basis I think Wie is smart enough and tough enough to deal with the defeats while observing and learning the habits of the best players in the world and the conditions under which they perform.

More interesting to me is the fact that Wie herself, according to her father, has taken the time to write a letter to the Associated Press, defending her modus operandi. The Golf Channel has obtained a copy of the letter, written after Wie received a sponsor’s exemption to the John Deere Classic which will be played in early July. What follows are a few of the highlights of the letter:

“This is Michelle Wie. I would like to take this opportunity to clarify myself with regards to playing in professional events and not following the conventional path that many great golfers have gone through…

“…..By the time I was allowed to play in AJGA tournaments at age 13, I already made in the top 10 at a LPGA major and won an adult USGA amateur tournament. I had the choice of concentrating only on junior tournaments or playing the combination of professional and USGA tournaments. I chose the latter. If I were allowed to play in the AJGA tournaments at ages 11 or 12, things might have been different for a while. But I think I would have come back to the same choice.

“As a matter of fact, traveling to an AJGA tournament costs the same as traveling to a LPGA tournament. If a Bentley and a Toyota cost the same, wouldn’t anyone get a Bentley? I got a Bentley and do not regret my decision.

“People always ask why I do what I do and why not just follow the conventional path. My answer is very simple. I always wanted to push myself to the limit. I started walking when I was nine months old and I started reading when I was just over one year old…I always wanted to do things fast…

“…When I play in a pro event, whether it is a LPGA or PGA event, I feel privileged to play because I get to meet and get to know all the players. I guess another reason I am playing professional events is to gain as much experience as I can before I turn pro. A lot of rookies don’t do their best because they experience the same thing as I experienced in the first year, “lost and confused.” Junior tournaments and pro tournaments are very different. The atmosphere and course set-up are completely different.

“…I am not afraid of failure, and I can not be. When I went to the Great Wall of China, I was really excited. I was walking up the stairs and going really high. I got tired and I looked down. At that point I saw how high I was and what would happen if I fell. I collapsed right at that very moment and sat down on the steps. I refused to go another step higher and crawled my way down. I feel that if I get afraid of failure, then I can’t go any higher. Now I regret that I did not walk up higher to see what is up there.

“…I am not going to do whatever the critics want me to do because they always change their minds anyway. No matter what the critics say about me, I am going to do whatever my heart tells me to do and I thank my parents for always backing me up. Dream big and I will reach the sky; dream small and my feet will never get off the ground.”

Michelle Wie will make mistakes along the way. And she has much to learn about many things. All of which she shares in common with all 15-year-olds.

But after reading her impassioned defense, my respect for Wie has grown.

source: The Golf Channel
—— End Golf Channel Article ——

I to have gained respect for Michelle. I didn’t realize some of her past accomplishments. I still believe she should competete against fellow players her own age and begin racking up junior victories, I don’t think its wrong she accepted the invitation to the John Deere Classic. I mean, if my future possible daughter was a golf phenom and was offered the chance to play in a PGA Tour event, and SHE wanted to do it (as I would not force her), I would back her 100%. Its going to drive media to the event, its going to give the event more exposure, possibly increase sponsor money, and more. Her prescence will be positive, especially if she does well.

Thoughts on Michelle Wie playing in the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic?

Comments 2

  1. John Preble

    When my children were 5 years old, they did what most 5 year olds did. Life is a journey and we cannot return to childhood once we enter adulthood. It seems to me Michelle has awesome talent and Michelle is seeking to find her place in the history books.
    Most golfers have a long history of participation and play many years versus other highly stressful sports such as football or basketball. Once Michelle becomes a professional, she will not be allowed to return. What will she miss? Alot. Obviously, she will achieve much as a professional, but what about her social development and maturity as a woman? Money as a professional golfer is in her destiny. What about the experiences as a developing woman and a college learning experience? Knowledge is power. There is much to be gained by a college experience and who is willing to risk such a void in a long career?

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