Wie Team continues on path to disaster
It's easy to pile on the Wie Team. Nobody will bother to throw a flag for unnecessary roughness, unsportsmanlike conduct or personal foul.
This last year was a how not to do things in the high profile world of the LPGA and PGA tours. The threesome caused quite a ruckus at nearly every golf tournament Michelle entered in 2007, even drawing a frosty retort from former world No. 1 Annika Sorenstam.
Still, they went through golf events with a style reminiscent of Tom and Daisy Buchanan, from "The Great Gatsby," leaving representatives of the William Morris Agency to clean up the debris. These days, the Wies would have us forget all that if we'd let them; but our memories aren't programmed to remain only in the present.
Hearing Michelle in an interview session is like listening to a robot that's been told what to say. What made her so charming as a young girl, before the handlers stepped in to screw it all up, is you never knew what might fly out of her mouth. She was a natural.
Now, some folks in the media room look at one another and smirk or shake their heads in disbelief as Michelle reels off statements like, "It's not a sprint, it's a marathon. ... I felt like I accomplished my goal of staying in the present. ... My goal is not to think about last year. ... Like I said, I'm not going to think about last year. ... Like I said, my goal is definitely to stay in the present."
Yikes. It's enough to make you want to get up and run out of the room screaming, "Who is responsible for this?"
Unfortunately, it's not any more imaginative on the golf course. After opening with a 69 on Thursday -- that should have been six shots worse -- Wie's game of the recent past didn't let her forget a thing. The once-fluid swing that earned her the nickname "The Big Wiesy" by Tom Lehman, is gone.
The replacement has some kind of hitch in the giddy-up at the top of the back swing that has turned her into a NASCAR driver -- always going left. Galleries on that side of the fairway had best watch the heck out or an errant golf ball just might land on their head.
GRANTED, IT would be unfair to expect Wie to walk off the Stanford campus and swing with Paula Creamer from Day 1. She is not in tournament shape, as her final two rounds at the Fields Open clearly suggest. And you'd expect it to be that way.
But the reason why Wie was able to cash a $20 million check in the first place several years back, was her ability to compete without the benefit of daily competition on the two major tours. Almost making the cut at the Sony Open as a 14-year-old led to a whirlwind tour toward disaster.
Of course, it's easy to say that now, but many have been all along. A child prodigy who once filled the concert halls is now banging on the piano like a first-year student. Balls are flying all over the place. Family and friends offer their support, but this has become the classic case of too much, too soon.
Sad as it is, it is what it is and it isn't good. If you can't do any better than finish near the bottom on your home course, it's time to reevaluate and learn from the past, not forget it.
Sports Editor Paul Arnett
has been covering sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1990. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org