For two years I’ve been critical of the decisions Michelle Wie’s [photopress:wiewie.jpg,full,alignright]advisers and her father have been making. Suddenly others seem to be agreeing with me.
Take columns by The Globe’s Lorne Rubenstein and AP’s Doug Ferguson. Rubenstein has generally been very supportive of the road Wie is taking, but a column that appeared today makes it appear like he’s coming around on the subject:
Time Magazine this year named Michelle Wie “one of 100 people who shape our world.” But, given her recent play, the 17-year-old might need to better shape her own world.
Rubenstein and Ferguson both touch on the key issue with Wie: Her schedule.
It’s obvious that Wie’s father, B.J., orchestrates her schedule and commitments. It must be difficult to turn down the money being thrown his daughter’s way. But is her career in the long term being compromised? Should she still be playing men’s tournaments?
“The plan is to rectify the mistakes in her schedule next year,” Leadbetter said. “She’ll join the LPGA some time, but she’s also still thinking of going to college. She comes from a scholastic family. Her father and her uncle are university professors. She likes school. Michelle isn’t just a potential world superstar who just likes golf. It will be interesting to see what happens.”
I’m blown away by Leadbetter’s remarks. “Rectify” her schedule? I guess they couldn’t do that this year — BJ and her agents (some of which are now history) were too busy padding their own pockets at the expense of Wie’s further development.
Take this into consideration (from Ferguson’s piece):
She has averaged 79 in her last three men’s events. Against the women, she has failed to break par in her last eight rounds.
Wie is a great talent, though her short game has long been questionable, and recently she can’t keep her driver in play either. At some point the novelty has to wear off — but let’s hope there’s a way to rebuild her confidence when that happens. Some would say she’s still confident, since she makes ridiculous comments on a regular basis (“I’ll make the Ryder Cup,” or “I want to play a lot of men’s events next year,” she said. “I feel that as long as I play well it will work out.”). But given the pounding she’s taken on and off the course lately, one has to wonder how a 17-year-old can hold up under such pressure. On the other hand, maybe her handlers continue to tell her she’s the greatest, even when she’s not — equally damaging in my mind.