Monday, November 16, 2009

Wie's win likely the first of many

Now that Michelle Wie has had a few hours to celebrate her first victory on the LPGA Tour -- the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, in case you haven't heard -- it's time to ask the next question:

How many more will she win?

Hopefully, many, many more.

Though Wie's victory was buried in a mid-November avalanche of football, it was a huge moment for the LPGA Tour, which needs her the way fish need water. In a year when most of its news has been negative, the LPGA Tour finally got the image it's needed -- Wie smiling and holding a trophy.

The 20-year old -- she didn't win as a teenager, it turns out -- can't solve all the LPGA's problems but she help minimize them. Professional golf is driven by stars. Just ask the PGA Tour about its muffled bang last year when Tiger Woods was on the shelf after knee surgery.

Wie is the biggest star on the LPGA tour. Ochoa may have a tournament named for her but Wie makes people pay attention. Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel and Jiyai Shin are talents with some personality but they're not Michelle Wie.

It took Wie 65 starts on the LPGA Tour to finally win. Is that longer than expected?


What does it mean?

It means she's just getting started. She's already been through the classic celebrity/sports cycle where she has been adored then criticized, tossed aside as a disapppointment and a bust.

Now she's back with a game that's growing up with her. Wie has refocused, concentrating on succeeding on the LPGA Tour rather than making the cut in a men's professional event. To me, a win on the LPGA Tour is far more impressive than making the cut at a PGA Tour event with a mediocre field would be.

Wie has already shown she can contend in major championships. What she hadn't shown was that she could win -- it had been years since she'd won a trophy of any kind -- an LPGA Tour event.

She proved that Sunday.

It's what Wie -- and the LPGA Tour -- needed.


diggndeeper said...

It was very sad to see the way Michelle was handled in her early years. Instead of becoming a "master" at levels progressing to the "big show", her mom and dad tried to get her on the PGA tour and into the Masters. This atmosphere created a wall around her. Yes she has the potential to be a great golfer but a few years in college golf would have been great for her. She is only 20 and this has been her first full year on the tour. I hope her parents are out of the way now and David Ledbetter is handling her coaching and caddy assignments.

rakeback said...

Michelle is only 20 years old and Tiger Woods didnt win his first tournament until he was that age. I think we need to give her a few more years before we make an assessment on whether she lived up to her potential.