Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Recommended Reading: Ruthless Mike (and Me) on Michelle Wie

Ruthless Mike has put together the best-argued response to Michelle Wie's critics that I have ever seen.

The only criticism he leaves out is that Wie seemed to give the impression that she devalued the LPGA early in her career by focusing so much on the PGA Tour--that instead of seeking to make the LPGA her home tour and use that as her base from which to try to make cuts on the PGA Tour, she was aiming instead to become a PGA Tour member.  I have no problem with her turning pro early, but I wish she had sought an exemption to the LPGA's minimum age requirement, to make it clear that she intended to compete against the best women in the world as well as the men over the course of her career.  I'd be curious to see how Mike responds to that line of criticism, particularly given how much then-LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens was counting on Wie to join the LPGA.

For context, check out some older posts on various Wie controversies from Mostly Harmless:

10/11/07 MW Washed Up Meme
5/7/08 MW/LPGA Future
7/21/08 MW Effect
8/14/08 MW/CB
8/22/08 MW/SJ
2/22/09 MW Effect Confirmed
7/7/09 MW Effect, Revisited

I like to think I had a pretty level-headed approach to Wie's opportunities, challenges, and choices.  What do you all think?


Mike said...

Thanks for the kind words, TC. I'm one of the fans who never gave up on Michelle -- is that a shock to anyone who read my post? -- and I feel that, despite her win, the media still continues to propagate the same myths. Witness John Feinstein's editorial on Monday night's Golf Central after Michelle's win, which continued to paint her as a poor misused prodigy who somehow miraculously survived her parent's abuse... although I noted that any mention of the cruel attacks by the media were strangely absent. (My own post was written earlier in the day.)

About the "devaluation" controversy... I confess that I never paid much attention to that one. The whole Bivens thing was nearing its end when I started getting more interested in the business decisions being made by the tours.

I do know that there was some controversy over Bivens giving Morgan Pressel a special exemption at age 17 and then denying exemptions to other young players from around the world. Given how controversial both Bivens and Wie had already become by that time -- even among the other LPGA players -- I'm not sure that Michelle would have gotten an exemption, and it's possible that the controversy played a part in her decision not to request that exemption. I don't know enough about it to say.

But I can't remember hearing that criticism brought up much in the media over the past 3 or 4 years. I was just focusing my post on the criticisms that I heard voiced most frequently... and the post still ended up being awfully LOOOOONG. ;-)

Jim C said...

Pressel did not get a special exemption into Q School. But after Q School, LPGA rules would not have allowed her to begin membership until her 18th birthday in May. She sued, and the LPA gave in.

The Wie's did ask the LPGA to allow Michelle one or two more sponsor's exemptions one year, so she cold play a new event in Hawaii, and they were denied.

So Wie did ask for a much more limited exemption from LPGA rules to play in an extra event or two on the LPGA and was denied.

The Constructivist said...

I didn't like asking for more starts at the time and I still don't like it. Either show you want to join for real or play by the same rules everyone else does.

I don't think the media picked up on the line of criticism I focused on so much as some LPGA players probably did.

I think there are just cultural differences in parenting and around expectations on parents that the U.S. media has never been particularly aware of or self-aware about. Look at all the criticism Amy Chua got for her Tiger Mom memoir....

Jim C said...

Aree Song got a special exemption to enter the 2003 Q School, and she was allowed to compete on the LPGA prior to her 18th birthday in 2004. So basically, Morgan Pressel had to sue the LPGA t get the full exemption that had been freely given to a Korean player two years earlier. I think there was an issue that Pressel was still in high school.

Jim C said...

Wie always competed in as many LPGA events as she could. We know she asked to compete in more. The can't compete until 18 exemption given to Pressel for the 2005 Q School would have been a clear message of no way to Wie that year. A couple of extra invites was the most Wie would be able to get for 2006, and she did not even get that.

The LPGA might have been willing to give Wie 2007 membership based upon what she did on the 2006 money list--but at that point Wie wasn't going to give them the chance to turn her down again. Basically, Wie might have been able to use precedents to force the LPGA to accept her for 2007. but that was not what she wanted.

SJC said...

>>>Pressel did not get a special exemption into Q School. But after Q School, LPGA rules would not have allowed her to begin membership until her 18th birthday in May.<<<
Have they changed the rules since then? These days you need a special exemption to enter Q-school if you are under 18 (the rules say you must apply for the exemption by July 1).