Stacy over at The Sand Trap wrote a good article on Michelle Wie on January 11th. The issue at hand was whether Michelle could finally make the cut at her 3rd time in the Sony Open held in Hawaii.
Not to anyones surprise, Michelle failed to make the cut.
We could play the whole “woman on the Men’s Tour” rant all day long, but it won’t get us anywhere.
Michelle Wie was given a sponsors exemption, again. She has yet to win an LPGA tournament and off the top of my head, I don’t think she has made the cut in a men’s tournament (stop me if I am wrong).
Sony has deep pockets and their hope/gamble was that Michelle could make the cut this week. Sure, for many golf fans seeing a woman make the cut in a big men’s tournament such as the Sony Open would be killer. It would be great for ESPN highlight shows and golf in general…but it didn’t happen. Truth is, Michelle Wie brings crowds with her that rival Tiger Woods crowds. Truth is, Michelle Wie brings up attendance at any tournament she enters. To a company like Sony, this means $$$$$ MONEY. In 2004, she missed the cut by 1 stroke at the age of 14. For Sony, this is a golden nugget.
So at what point does trying to make history compromise the integrity of the game?
I am fairly certain there were a handful of guys wanting to get sponsors exemptions or to fill up that last spot that was so graciously given to Michelle, but they don’t get their shot because Michelle is a 16 year old phenom who hits it 300 yards and brings large crowds. It’s a business decision, not an ethical one.
I have no beef with Michelle other than hoping she can take this recent missed cut and tell herself to head back to the woman’s tour, play against her rivals and win some tournaments to build up some confidence and some trophies.
If I was a woman and in Michelle’s position, meaning I had just been given an exemption to the Sony Open, I would snatch it in a heartbeat. Again, I have no beef with her decision, but I have a problem with networks and corporations making her out to be more than she is. She is a 16 year old girl who is great at golf, especially given her age and has some incredible talent, but still lacks the winning combination to stick a trophy on her mantel. She needs to get in the habit of winning, and truthly the only place to do that now is on the LPGA since she is a pro. I personally would have liked to see her stay and play amateur events with golfers her own age, but to each his/her own.
I am sure Sony will vouch for a 4th exemption next year, and I am sure we will see Michelle miss the cut for a 4th time. Not to put her down, I just think there is too much pressure on her to perform at a level her skills can’t quite match on a consistent basis.