Overbearing parents are nothing new in sports, but it seems in golf a new pair or three crop up every year. Not that Michelle Wie’s folks are anything new — we’ve known about their propensity to control every aspect of Wie’s career while they sell their daughter to the highest bidder. But columnist and blogger Steve Elling notes that latest talk regarding Michelle’s decision to go to Stanford is over the top:
As nearly everybody knows, Wie is in the midst of her first year at Stanford, where under school edict, she is is required to live in the freshman dormitory. This is where the story begins.
First, her parents asked school administrators if the rule could be waived so that Wie could live off-campus with her parental unit.
Second, the parents asked if she could be granted a room of her own. No annoying roommate, in other words.
Finally, the Wies asked if they could live in the dormitory with her.
Stanford: Hell, no.
The textbook definition of overbearing parent just reached a new level. If “low” is a level, anyway.
Which is the context I brought to reading a Golfweek storyabout Anthony Kim and his rocky relationship with his father, who also sounds like a charmer. Before Kim and the Wies there was the sad storyof Sean O’Hair, who was pushed so hard by his father that he finally snapped and told his Pop to take a hike. And Stuart Appleby once told me that Hank Kuehne’s father Ernie was the worst on tour, though his kids turned out well (though with their own problems).
Kim’s tale is similar to O’Hair, though he seems to have embraced his abilities a little more quickly than O’Hair.
Still, like Wie and O’Hair, this sounds a bit like father focusing too much on an exceptional child:
At an early age it became apparent Anthony Kim had the golf gift. So much so that Anthonys golf career became the familys solitary focus. After Anthony learned the game on L.A.s dogeared municipal tracks, Paul Kim sold the family house in Studio City in 2001 and purchased a condo adjacent to the Stadium Courses first green at PGA West in La Quinta in order to give Anthony a better opportunity to hone his powerful action.
Perhaps making Kim the centre of everything led to both his success (he breezed his way onto the PGA Tour) and his failings (like a physical altercation with his coach at university). Either way, I`m sure this isn`t the last I`ve seen of this sort of parental bullying, and while Kim looks like an emerging superstar, Wie still seems lost. I`m convinced until she grows up enough to make decisions for herself, she won`t have the degree of success many expect. In fact, the Wies are increasingly making the Spears family look normal by comparison….