Wie Is Setting the Wrong Goals

By Leonard Shapiro
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 6, 2005; 1:51 PM

WILLIAMSBURG, May 6 -- Someone needs to tell Michelle Wie's father to shut his yap.

The estimable Mr. Wie, a college professor in Hawaii, goes by the initials B.J., which surely must stand for Bad Judgment. How else to explain his foolish comment this week in Sports Illustrated that his now 15-year-old daughter is not all that interested in emulating the spectacular feats of Annika Sorenstam on the LPGA Tour?

"Michelle has made it clear that she wants to be a full time PGA Tour player," he told the magazine. "Her impression of Annika is that she has extraordinary concentration. But she is not interested in being another Annika Sorenstam on the LPGA Tour. She has been watching Tiger."

Well who hasn't?

We all have grand dreams for our children; my own mother wanted me to be a doctor until that ugly C-minus recorded in tenth grade biology, mostly caused by intense gagging while trying to dissect a frog.

But now it's also time for a reality check in the Wie household. Young Michelle, a nice, polite and prodigiously talented 6-foot teenager, is already a very fine golfer. She can hit the ball a ton and has shown every indication that she has the potential to be a dominant player in women's golf, emphasis on both the potential, and the women.

It's also nice that her proud papa thinks so highly of his daughter's considerable skills that he believes one day she'll also make a comfortable living and maybe even win now and then on the PGA Tour. Maybe it's the distance he lives from the mainland that has made Mr. Wie delusional, or maybe its just paternal pride in seeing his daughter regularly hit drives that travel 300 yards or longer.

But the kid is only 15 years old, and really, what has she really won except a bunch of tournaments in Hawaii and a U.S. women's Public Inks championship, arguably the weakest of all the national championships conducted by the USGA?

In her two forays on to the PGA Tour in the Hawaiian Open, she has missed the cut twice. She's played one event on the Nationwide Tour and another on the men's Canadian Tour and also missed the cut in both.

She's played in 20 LPGA events with far more success, including her best finish, second place at the SBS Open at Turtle Bay in Honolulu in February. She also has an impressive run of making the cut in 12 straight LPGA events. Last year, she finished fourth in the Kraft Nabisco, the first major of the 2004 season, and 13th in the U.S. Women's Open as a 14-year-old. Great stuff, for a school girl.

Her schedule this year is even more ambitious, as it should be for a teenager with such skills. Under some pressure exerted by the Golden Arch sponsor, the LPGA even shamefully changed the rules to allow her to compete in the McDonalds LPGA Championship to be played at Bulley Rock in Maryland June 9.

She's also entered in the British Women's Open at Royal Birkdale in July, along with sponsor's exemptions into the Evian Masters in France and the Samsung Champiponship in Palm Desert in October.


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