Sports Outside the Beltway

Happy 18th Birthday Michelle Wie

She is playing at this weekend’s Samsung World Championship.

PALM DESERT, Calif. – Michelle Wie is playing her final LPGA Tour event of the year.

She wishes it were her first. After a disastrous season filled with wrist injuries, a feud with Annika Sorenstam and only one round under par, Wie said Tuesday her biggest mistake was not taking the year off to get healthy.

“The only thing that I would do differently (is) I wouldn’t have played this year. It’s as simple as that,” she said at the Samsung World Championship. “The only thing that I did wrong this year is that I did not take my injuries as seriously as I should have.”

1- I’ve always felt Michelle needed a long rest after injuring her wrists. Her playing in tournaments while hurt was certain to exacerbate the injuries.

If Michelle didn’t want to play, why did she play? I’m sure her parents and IMG had something to do with it. The athlete has to make the final decision as to if they are physically able to play, rather than having the decision made by others for them.

As of today, Michelle is an adult and can legally make her own decisions. Will she begin making her own schedule?

2- The AP article makes no mention of Michelle’s birthday. Here is an article acknowledging the significance of today.

Wie is no longer the wunderkind who was – and many people forget this – recording never-before-seen accomplishments on the golf course on a regular basis, from age 12 through 16. She’s not even a kid anymore; as of today, she’s an adult.

Compare Wie at age 12, at age 13, 14, 15 or 16, to Paula Creamer or Morgan Pressel at the same age, and Wie was far ahead of each. But compare them at age 17, and Wie – through injuries, incomplete swing changes, and terrible decisions – is no longer in the same ballpark.

Now, Wie is just another 18-year-old golfer – and as it stands today, not even a particularly good one – in an LPGA Tour environment where other 18-year-olds are winning majors (Pressel) or running away with rookie of the year (Angela Park) .

While Michelle is no longer a kid, she is a still a draw on tour. Thousands of people come to see her play. While 2007 has been a disaster, I expect Michelle to have an excellent LPGA career. One better than Pressel, Creamer, or Angela Park.

3- Is this really Michelle’s last LPGA event of 2007? There is one scenario, far fetched as it may sound that would allow Michelle to play on tour one more time in 2007. Michelle would have to win the Samsung this weekend, and that would earn her a spot in next month’s Tournament of Champions.

In 2003, 2005, and 2006 non-LPGA tour players, won the late October early November tour stop in South Korea. Their names were Shi Hyun Ahn, Jee Young Lee, and Jin Joo Hong. Each of these three South Korean ladies were then given spots in the Tournament of Champions. The tournaments being played only two weeks apart.

So Michelle isn’t out of the running to play again this year, though the chances appear slim. Stranger things have happened in Ladies Professional Golf.

In the meantime, she appears to love life as a college student.

Wie said she thought about going to LPGA Tour qualifying school now that she is old enough to become a member, but it was the same time as orientation at Stanford.

I’m glad she is enjoying college. Michelle needs to take an extended break from golf after this weekend. This in order for Wie to return to form in 2008.

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She also needs to F I R E everybody in her entourage.

Posted by Rich | October 13, 2007 | 03:14 pm | Permalink

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