Interesting how time changes the media’s opinion. Take Michelle [photopress:wie.jpg,full,alignright]Wie, for example. At the start of her first year as a professional, with William Morris Agency backing her and a big Nike deal in her pocket, the world appeared to be her oyster.
Apparently that oyster was a little bit rancid. Over the past couple of days, as Wie plays the same tournament in which she was disqualified from last year, she has been hammered by the press. In my mind, this story has become a question of lost potential, and apparently that’s how the NY Times is seeing it as well.
The paper took the opportunity, in an article written by Damon Hack entitled “Wie swings and misses,” to the embarrass Wie over her failure to live up to the self-endorsed hype:
In her professional debut a year ago at Bighorn Golf Club, she dodged bumblebees and bunkers before being disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard. On Thursday, at the same course, she raised an iron above her head, brought it down toward the ball and connected with the dirt instead.
“Completely whiffed it,” she said, giggling. “It was a really bad situation.”
But Hack doesn’t stop there. He has great quotes on Wie’s lack of progress from lots of sources, including David Leadbetter, who seems to be questioning Wie’s hectic schedule which has seen her flounder in the fall.
“Playing the John Deere was badly planned,” David Leadbetter, Wie’s swing coach, said in an interview Tuesday. “It was after the U.S. Open and the match play, and then she goes out there and she’s exhausted, and the whole thing was just not well organized. These are things you learn as you as go on.”
Even without the heatstroke, Wie was not playing well at the John Deere Classic, where she opened with a 77. The theme continued throughout the summer; in September, she shot scores of 78 and 79 at the European Masters and 77 and 81 at the 84 Lumber Classic.
Wie’s father, BJ, isn’t talking on the subject of his daughter. He ignored requests from the Times for an interview. This is surprising as he’s always had time to shoot his mouth off about the remarkable abilities of his daughter. There must be a lot of pressure on him as well, given how regularly he’s been second guessed for taking Wie professional so soon, and without a regular spot on the LPGA Tour. As for Wie, she continues to make remarks that remind me, after all, she has just turned 17.
“I think it’s so sweet that everybody has so many concerns for me,” said Wie, a senior at the Punahou School in Honolulu.
However, as an Associated Press article points out, maybe the public is growing tired of the teen sensation who has been less than sensational:
Wie is simply trying to win for the first time, and despite looking like a lost cause, she hasn’t lost hope.
“I was in some bad situations,” Wie said. “My game is feeling really good. It’s really close right now.”
The gallery was about one-fourth the size as last year, and the only buzz was coming from the bees hovering around desert fauna.