Posted Jun 17 2009, 11:25 PM by Cathy Erickson
As I often do in the morning, I turned on my local news channel as I was getting ready for work this morning. Being in a smaller market (and being up early), we don't exactly get Katie Couric or Matt Lauer level news reporting, but they usually tell me the stuff I need to know...or don't want to know, like it's going to be cold again today with a chance of showers. UGH.
I passed by the TV (looking for my shoes) and happened to see a flash of Michelle Wie with a report that she wouldn't be playing in this year's US Women's Open. As they cut back to the local duo behind the news desk, the weather guy says (and I'm paraphrasing) "Wow look at that concentration on her face! She just looks so focused." The news girl gave him a fake laugh and agreed, and then he says, "Michelle Wie is the Tiger Woods of the other half".
These are the kinds of statements that drive me nuts...and I guess they just go to prove the power of the media machines out there. They just reported that she failed to qualify for the US Open and we're making a Tiger comparison? There is something wrong with that picture.
Don't get me wrong, I believe Michelle Wie has talent beyond what she's shown us so far, and I have no doubt she's going to bust out at some point and start collecting victories, but to put her on the Tiger Woods level at this point in her career? I'm not sure I can go there...unless you're talking sponsorship deals with Nike. Can you?
I'll be honest, I've never been a super fan of Tiger or Michelle. I admire their skills, I'm awed by some of the shots they've showed us, and, at least in Tiger's case, I'm impressed with how he handles himself. My impression of Wie is that she just doesn't appreciate all that golf has to offer (or maybe she does and I'm just missing it). The whole "I want to beat the men" line seems to hold less water since she hasn't beaten many of the girls yet, and I think that talk is what has stopped me from jumping on her fan bus.
Now that's she's in college, the whole "phenom" label might be starting to wear thin, too. And then there's that little blurb on the news...she didn't qualify for the US Open. I wouldn't call that exactly Tiger-like.
It's seems like for a long time we've been looking to the "Wie of the future" and now we're being forced to see the reality that she is another talented golfer trying to find her way on the professional tour. The good news for her is that her future is what gives her the ability to be 41st on the Rolex World Ranking (as of June 15) and still have the endorsements that may set her for life (I'm guessing)...and she gets to be compared to Tiger Woods (who has been #1 for how long now???).
I hope the future is close and we get to see the Michelle Wie everyone has been waiting for. It would be fantastic for women's golf, heck, for golf in general, if she starts to put up stats and finishes to rival Tiger...it's what golf fans have been hoping for...or maybe it's what they expect. But we've all read about the potential obstacles to her success...overbearing parents, injuries, lack of focus, college, etc...and maybe the reality is that some of those might just be too much to overcome.
Have we been expecting too much too soon, or are we observing wasted potential? In either case I think it think it might be time to adjust our view and wait until Wie "earns" the Tiger comparison before handing it out so easily.
I know I probably shouldn't be making a big deal about my local weather guy, but I suspect he's not the only one out there throwing that comparison around and I just feel like it's time to get over the hype and start seeing Wie for her actual accomplishments - a great player with the potential to be Tiger.
And by the way, he was wrong about the rain today, too.
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Filed under: Tiger, US Womens Open, endorsements, Michelle Wie, comparison
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