Anyone have any data on the Nielsen ratings for the State Farm Classic? The difference between the Friday/Saturday ratings and the Sunday ratings is as clear a way as I can imagine of quantifying the Michelle Wie effect.
Judging by the fact that the visits to this site over the last 2 days just about doubled from their average over the past several months, exceeded peaks during any of this year's majors, and rank among the top 5 in Mostly Harmless history, I have some evidence that people who don't normally pay attention to women's golf tune in when Wie is in contention and/or embroiled in (yet another) controversy. Any other LPGA bloggers care to share your stats?
[Update 1 (5:24 pm): Well, according to this Doug Ferguson AP story, we'll get another chance to test the MW Effect--compare the ratings for an upcoming PGA event with last year's. Yup, she's playing in Reno-Tahoe!]
[Update 2 (5:54 pm): Interesting to check the reactions in the LPGA blogosphere: Mulligan Stu wants to know what we think, while Jeremy Fowler is supportive (or incredibly sarcastic), William K. Wolfrum is dismissive, and Ryan Ballengee is incredulous. Ballengee wins the lede of the day award: "Look, Deadspin doesn't cover much golf. So that means when I see a golf story hit Deadspin, it's either a major championship story or a golfer did something stupid. You want to guess which this is?" Another data point in the MW Effect research effort!]
[Update 3 (7/22/08, 10:25 am): Add Geoff Shackelford's exasperation with Wie's decision to the list of reactions--this time from someone who hardly ever attends to the LPGA, except to make fun of the commissioner's corporatism.]
[Update 4 (7/23/08, 3:03 am): Ryan Ballengee and Geoff Shackelford survey and comment on the Wie-actions.]
[Update 5 (3:15 am): Glad to see Bill Jempty asking the right question!]
[Update 6 (6:16 pm): Oh boy! Rex Hoggard tries to join in the mass condemnation of Wie, but really steps in it. Invite Annika Sorenstam during the week she's trying to win the Women's British Open instead of the teenager with such a fragile psyche she needs to be protected from the possibility of...missing a cut? Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Michelle Wie will be playing the WBO for many years to come, but she didn't qualify for it this year. So why not play in the pressure cooker of a B-list PGA event to help prepare for the biggest tournament of her short career, the Canadian Open? If she's not going to do the sensible thing and ask for sponsors' exemptions in the 6 remaining Futures Tour events, she may as well up the ante all the way. It has a crazy logic to it you have to admire at some level: the pressure of needing at least a top 5 in the CO to have a chance of avoiding Q-School will seem like nothing after Reno-Tahoe.... Of course there's a fine line between bravery and stupidity, but if she takes lessons from the PGA that get her the results she wants on the LPGA, more power to her.]
[Update 7 (7:19 pm): Wanna know what David Leadbetter and Ted Tryba think of Wie's decision? Head to the Golf Channel.]
[Update 8 (7/24/08, 12:05 pm): Wow, somebody must have dumped a year's supply of stupid pills in the Golfweek staff water cooler this week. Beth Ann Baldry just urged Michelle Wie to focus on the LPGA--now, when she has 1 sponsors' exemption left out of the 6 the LPGA's own rules permit. Yeesh.]
[Update 9 (7/25/08, 11:25 pm): Great essay by the Future Tour's Lisa Mickey. Now, if only she had written it a week ago, when Wie could still have entered this week's event....]