Thursday, July 07, 2005

Cool Article on Michelle Wie by Ferd Lewis

Ok, ok, this is not about jazz, but this is real cool and because Michelle Wie's from Hawaii it's tropical. Just like "Meatloaf" the singer once sang, "two out of three ain't bad", so I'm not feeling bad about including something about Hawaii's fifteen year phenom on this blogger. My nephew who's also fifteen and a good golfer and his parents know Michelle and family from playing in amateur tournaments from the time they were just starting. My nephew who is really good is developing kind of in the normal way whereas Michelle has become "Michelle" who everybody and his nieces cousin's brother's uncle knows on a first name basis. Michelle, you go girl, just do it!!!!! So, that being said I've included a column written by Honolulu Advertiser columnist Ferd Lewis on the topic that's the buzz all over this planet.
Posted on: Thursday, July 7, 2005

She's got a million reasons

By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Columnist

So, what is Michelle Wie doing in Silvis, Ill., anyway?

While her soon-to-be 11th-grade classmates are at the beach or the mall today, Wie is scheduled to tee off as the only female at the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic.

Be assured she is not there hoping to win a shiny new tractor.

As an amateur she wouldn't be allowed to keep it — or any prize money she might earn — even if she did update history as the first woman to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event since Babe Didrikson Zaharias in 1945.

But make no mistake, this is about bucks, harvester loads of them, even if she likely won't see any for a year or more.

Her appearance in the Quad Cities area of Illinois-Iowa, along a bend of the Mississippi River, is an investment in the not-so-distant future, an opportunity to raise her profile, burnish her brand and get positioned for the mega bucks endorsement deals that will surely come the moment she does turn pro if she carves a PGA niche.

While irrepressible Morgan Pressel, a 17-year-old rival, is in Toledo, Ohio, for an LPGA event, the adventurous Wie is not only taking aim at bigger game on the men's tour but heftier future rewards, too.

Sure, there is the extreme long-shot potential of a berth in the Masters or the British Open, the first if she won the Deere Classic and the latter only slightly less distant should she be the highest not-exempted finisher in the event. And, yes, there is the challenge of competing against the best golfers on the planet. Well, the ones that haven't already packed up their sticks and crossed the pond to prepare for the British Open.

This, though, is about a bigger picture, a heretofore all but unimagined and unattempted one. Team Wie and those upon whose counsel (International Management Group?) they rely have connected the dots on the future and envisioned a payday beyond what the traditional outlet for women golfers, the LPGA, can provide.

Annika Sorenstam, the best female golfer of her generation, sets the earnings standard in the LPGA. And while it is far from insignificant, it is not what someone who has the barrier-busting ability to step across both tours, ages and genders could command.

To watch the industry representatives trailing Wie at tournaments, not to mention the IMG guy in a cart, is to imagine the cash register already ringing.

Mark Hensby, defending champion of the Deere Classic, suggests, as USA Today reported, Wie "should be playing girls her age." Others among us believe she should make her mark on the LPGA Tour first.

So, why play the PGA this week and as the exemptions permit? Because, the moment she shows she's up to the task, that's where the real money begins for Wie. Not this week, but maybe soon.

Reach Ferd Lewis at or 525-8044.


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