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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wie to Participate in 8th PGA Tour Event

Michelle Wie, the 18-year old professional golfer and a member of the LPGA Tour, doesn’t deserve all the criticism she has received. Wie, who turned pro at age 16 in 2005, has yet to win an LPGA event, and has missed the cut in two majors.

Yes, it’s true that Wie hasn’t won a tournament in her professional career, and yes, she has accepted an invitation to play in her 8th PGA tour event. Wie failed to make the cut in all seven of her previous attempts in the PGA tour, and has been criticized by all for her poor performance. Her decision to play with the ‘boys’ has been questioned, as well.

Why can’t you blame Wie for all this? Well, first of all, she’s still very young. She hasn’t fully matured at the professional level yet. She obviously has talent. Back in the 2003 Nabisco Championship, Wie became the youngest player to make the cut in a LPGA major at age 13. That was not the only time Wie was the youngest in her sport. She became the youngest to qualify for a PGA Tour event in the 2004 Sony Open (age 14), the youngest to qualify for the Curtis Open in 2004, the youngest female to make a cut on the PGA Tour (2006, age 16), and even the youngest to make the cut on the Asian Tour (2006, age 16). The list goes on…

Clearly, Wie knows the game of golf, and has a passion for it. But not every golfer goes on to be the next Tiger Woods, who may be the richest, and most-known sports figure in today’s world. Give her some time to fully develop, and I think she’ll do just fine, maybe even win a few majors.

Why all the beef about the PGA Tour events? If you get an invitation to play the game you love at a higher level, and with more money at stake, wouldn’t you accept it? She is just attempting to elevate the women golfers to a new level, and prove that women can compete with men. I’m sure she doesn’t mind failing a few times in order to gain respect from the golf community. Just like what Danica Patrick, one of few women in the Stock Car world, did not long ago, Wie is attempting a feat that has yet to be accomplished. Reaching this goal of hers would, like I said, elevate the world of golf.

Her attempt, as expected, has been a failure so far, and has caused a lot of criticism. But in the end, this could pay high dividends to Michelle. I, for one, will be cheering her on when she tees off with the men, again. Is the eighth time the charm?

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