The Comm and Gender Spot

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Newest Pro Golfer?

In an interesting turn of events in the world of professional golf, 15 year old Michelle Wie (seen in the accompanying photo with her dad B.J.) will announce her intention to move into the ranks of professional golf. She will be doing so before October 11th of this year, which is when her next scheduled LPGA event is (the LPGA Samsung World Championship).

This move will make Michelle Wie the highest paid female athlete in the world of golf, surpassing the endorsement deals held by the world’s number one female golfer Annika Sorenstam. Wie’s Nike deal alone will be worth 5 million dollars per year.

While many expected Wie to turn pro sooner rather than later, many are critical of her father and his business sense. They believe that he is looking too much in the present and not enough at the future. But there are supporters out there saying that B.J. Wie really is doing what is best for his daughter and is much more savvy a business man than he his given credit for.

Over the past couple of years I have done an extensive amount of research on professional golf, specifically the LPGA. This was a sport that I had very little interest in beforehand, but am now a bit of a fan. I believe my fandom can be attributed to the performances of three golfers in particular: Annika Sorenstam, Grace Park, and Michelle Wie. Wie is a phenom and a prodigy upon which many new fans will be brought to the sport that would not have actually watched golf.

I just wonder if it will be too much too soon. Is this too much to put onto the shoulders of one adolescent? While Michelle Wie is one of the best female golfers in the world, and appears to be a very mature 15 year old, will all of this pressure turn out to be too much for her to handle? Hopefully she won’t follow the path of tennis’ Jennifer Capriati, who was considered to be a prodigy in her sport, turned pro in her teens, burned out, was arrested for drug possession, and only later in life turned into the great tennis player that she had the potential to be.


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