Jaime Diaz's September-issue piece on Michelle Wie has drawn a good deal of reaction, none of it more vehement than Dave Riffey's of Shell Lake, Wisconsin. Why, he asks, would we continue to devote space to a fading phenom?
Did Nike pay you big bucks to run the story of Ms. Wie? Why would anyone put such an effort into an article about a player who HAS NEVER WON A TOURNAMENT...???? You continue to promote her some great golfer. WHY?? There are some many young men and women out there who have worked hard, WON JR TOURNAMENTS, and play as good or better.... MAKE HER EARN IT FOR ONCE...SHE IS A SPOILED BRAT...!!
Easy Dave. First of all, I'm not sure Nike sees all of this publicity as a plus right now. They sure as hell aren't asking Golf Digest to do stories. Second, having met Wie and talked to the guys who cover her most....Ron Sirak and Jaime among others, I don't think she is a spoiled brat. She's a kid, a kid who is being pressured to do more at this point than she wants to. One gets the impression that she would enjoy a life of which golf is only a part, and that's just not acceptable to some of her advisers.
Your point about whether to cover her now, when she is not close to contending, is legitimate. But we probably should have asked ourselves that back when we were mesmerized by her Quixotic desire to compete against the men, let's face it.
All that said, Wie is incredibly talented. She has won a significant tournament, the 2003 U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links, the youngest player in USGA history to win one of its adult championships. She works with one of the most effective instructors in the game in David Leadbetter. If it were up to David, some of us believe, this would have been a much quieter year for Wie, and the only story you might have read was, Where The Heck Is Michelle Hiding?
Instead, she plays when she's hurt (or not ready) and struggles when she plays. We cover her struggles because we covered her "ascent". I can understand why you, and others, are tired of it all right now.
(Photo illustration by Michael Elins)