Wednesday, July 30, 2008

LPGA stars slam Wie, Norman takes a break

I hate to repeat subjects, but sometimes they just won’t go away. This week instead of Greg and Michelle it’s going to be Michelle and Greg.

Until this week, LPGA stars have been mum when discussing Michelle Wie. You know, it’s the old deals that if you can’t say something nice about someone, say nothing at all. This week at the Women’s British Open the gloves came off with a vengeance. Perhaps if it was a Jong, Lee, or any of the non-English speaking golfers who have won this season, it might have been dismissed, but that’s not the case.

Stepping into the ring this week was Annika Sorenstam, Helen Alfredsson and Paula Creamer.

A composite of their reaction includes, “This is a major for us and she should have been here qualifying instead of accepting an invitation to play against the men.”

“She’s got to concentrate on playing on the LPGA Tour. She has the talent, but she’s not going to develop it playing on the PGA Tour.”

“This sounds like her parents meddling again. She has to find someone to rely on and who is looking out for her best interests.”

The remarks aren’t just damning on their own, but are magnified by who is saying them. These three represent a powerful cross section of the LPGA. Let’s just say that when the day comes that Wie decides, or is allowed to sample reality and try to be the best player on the LPGA, she won’t be welcomed with open arms. No one needs the animosity. She may be strong, but no one’s that strong. It’s a tough job out there and team Wie has just made it tougher.

By the way, in the article that we’ve randomly quoted here, it was mentioned that Michelle’s parents are managing her career. First, when they decided to get her an agent, they went to the Morris Agency and because they wanted to earn an entrée into golf, were willing to give the Wies a heavily discounted representation deal. They first tried IMG, but they wanted to actually be paid. The elder Wies thought that just having the honor of handling Michelle’s career was payment enough. Yeah, right.

As a result, the first person assigned to the Wies resigned out of frustration in dealing with the elders. As did the second, etc. Realizing that no one was going to fit the pro forma they’re looking for have taken the reigns themselves. Unfortunately, watching a career plummet to the depths of hell isn’t attractive.

At age 13, Michelle is wonderful story as she tried to make the cut at the Sony Open. At age 18 trying to make the cut at the Reno Tahoe Open is a stale story. It’s not a big deal anymore as Michelle is on the border of irrelevance. Someone whose expertise is resurrecting careers could reverse this. Instead, she’d being guided by people whose only expertise shown thus far is ruining them.

Greg Norman refused an invitation to play in the PGA Championship. Good for him. Norman is a part-time senior golfer. He knows what he can and can’t do. His remarkable run at the Open Championship and strong finish at the British Senior Open are enough for a while.

Norman says he’s tired and also has a lot of business situations that have to be tended to. You’ve got to believe him on all counts. He says he’ll play in the U.S. Senior Open. He hasn’t ruled out a return to the Masters next year and who could blame him if accepts the invitation.

Although the added length to Augusta National might not work in Greg’s favor, no one has had as much heartbreak at any one tournament. Although premature, we’re wondering which would be the least tasteful scenario. Greg miraculously is given three doses of water from the fountain of youth. As in the past he needed four and shoots 76 on Sunday to finish second by two shots. Of course he bogeyed 17 and 18 on Sunday.

The other is that he plays to his age and shoots a pair of 78s and vows never to return the former nursery.

In truth, it would be great just to see him roam the fairways with his swashbuckling swagger again. Like Greg or not, no one in the history of golf can buckle his swash as he does.

Hopefully, this is the last we’ll hear from Michelle and Greg for awhile.

Bartender, pour three tumblers of Red Bull please. The two for Greg and I should be self-explaining. We’re old. As for Michelle, hopefully it will give her the energy to put her foot down and make her own decisions before her career ends up in an abyss.

See you on the first tee,


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