Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Season Opens

"Pour Me Another One" is an editorial column by Jack O'Leary that contain his musings on what is going on in the world of golf. The views expressed in his columns in no way reflect the views or opinions of Golf Marketing Services. Check back on a regular basis to find out what thoughts the golf scribe has imparted to his public.

Ah yes, it's the first week of the PGA Tour and the 2007 Mercedes Championship at the Kapalua Resort on Maui where the 2006 tournament winners congregate to divvy up another few mill.

It's similar to the Tour Championship where the rich get rewarded for getting rich over the season with a 30-player field, no-cut cash fest. Only last year, it was a 28-player field as Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson passed on the opportunity. Come to think of it, Phil never plays in that event. Usually, he's had a full pot of subglutaenous fat (read money) by then and goes home.

For the past three years this event has garnered a bit more mainland coverage then normal, because a 13, no 14, no 15-year old girl was going to play in the Sony Open the following week in Hawaii. She'll be there this week as a 16-year old as well. Rather than her appearance being considered her challenge to the men, the fourth estate looks at it as a sponsor's appearance for Sony, one of her largest benefactors.

She was amazing as a 13-year old; precocious as a 14-year old; fraught with possibilities as a 15-year old and now just another sponsor's exemption as a 16-year old. If she's going to earn her way back into the golf public's heart, she's going to have to do something positive and do it this year.

It's time for a strategic reconstruction. She's a lot closer to a beautiful woman than a little girl. It's time her schedule reflects that. She could be walking down the aisle towards her coronation as Queen of woman's golf, but it's a long ceremony and the procession has to start now.
Not only does she have the presence and the style to carry this off, she also has the perfect foil for years to come in Morgan Pressel. Judging by her snipes at Wie over the past few years, the potential for not only a rivalry highlighted by tremendous golf is possible, the cat fights would be very entertaining. It would finally give the LPGA a spotlight.

Here's a real coincidence. Golf's two names with the biggest buzz in recent vintage have been Woods and Wie. They both play equipment ostensibly manufactured by the company with the swoosh. It wasn't many years ago that Mickelson publicly marveled at Woods' record saying, "it's amazing considering he's using inferior equipment." It must be said, that that was about four, or five major championships ago for Tiger. However, in a recent pre-holiday during a golf version of a 10,000 mile checkup, it was reported by "someone who was there," that there was barely a correctly constructed club in Wie's bag. Evidently, her equipment needs a bigger makeover than Rosie O'Donnell.

This can't happen when there's the future of a real prodigy at stake. Bad equipment yields bad swing habits which in turn yields bad years. You know the rest. Diligence people, diligence.
There was a bit of to do about Wie being accepted to Stanford. After all, she can't play golf there, having turned professional and all. Also, isn't there a tremendous financial opportunity out on the fairways of the LPGA directly ahead?

Don't be taken in by her desire to go to college. Sure she wants to go, but it will be mostly by a virtual classroom that she can connect to whenever needed (most likely connected by a Sony product).

This is a great deal for Stanford. There's a veritable plethora young Oriental students who want to study in the U.S. Most of those don't have to worry about a grant-in-aid, if you know what I mean. So a letter from Michelle inviting them to join her at Stanford accompanied by an autographed picture should be well worth the free ride she'll receive. Judging from the recent talent on the LPGA Tour, the Stanford woman's golf team won't suffer from this move either.

This could be the year for Michelle Wie. A few less appearances in the John Deere Classics, et al and a few more on the regular LPGA schedule would be a very positive career move and you can believe she's in need of something positive on the golf course.

All right, she can try to qualify for the U.S. Open. If she makes it to Oakmont, than she will have earned the headlines against the men. Until then, become a golfer and not just a story.
By the way. You don't have to pour me another this week---the holidays, you know (I need a little break).

See you soon,


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