Tuesday, July 22, 2008

More Wie-action

I'm on fire with wordsmithing lately. First, Open issues, then Wie-action. It's beautiful. Anyway, we're getting reaction from the blogosphere regarding Michelle Wie's opportunity to play in the Reno-Tahoe Open next week. Fortunately, I've had some links to my thoughts and I'd like to point out the thoughts of others.

First, Joe Logan in Philly says that Wie is "dumb, dumb, dumb" for doing this.

Michelle Wie, having apparently not learned her lesson, having apparently not been sufficiently humbled and humiliated by her past efforts, has decided to once again tee it up against the men, in next week's Legends Reno-Tahoe Open.

What this is is a blatant marketing ploy by the Legends Reno-Tahoe Open to steal just a little of the limelight from the WGC-Bridgestone.

"Michelle is getting her game together, she's getting back in the swing of things, and we have no problem extending her this opportunity," tournament director Michael Stearns said in a statement.

Let's be honest. Do you think the tournament director's real interest is in young Miss Wie's well-being and her budding comeback, or in selling tickets and getting his tournament on SportsCenter, Golf Channel and the 11 o'clock news?

Ironically, this latest ill-considered decision comes at a time when Wie truly seemed to be getting back on track. True, she was DQ'd from last week's State Farm Classic on the LPGA Tour for failing to sign her scorecard, but so what? That's the bad news. The good news is that she was 1 shot off the lead when it happened.
Again, I didn't really have a gripe with trying to market the Reno event. It's an event treated as a coincidence with the Akron WGC event. To get attention for it is not a bad thing - it's business. My problem is that the Wie clan appears to still not get that Wie should be focused on getting a LPGA Tour card, not side ventures.

As seen in the discussion of my initial reaction, though, there is a point to be made that Michelle has just one event left among her exemptions for this season on the LPGA Tour. That exemption is for the $2.25M CN Canadian Women's Open. (Too bad the $500K purse increase doesn't kick in until next season.) To get the money she needs to be exempt for next year and avoid Q-school, she will need either a fifth or sixth place finish to get the card outright. Of course, she could Monday qualify as well - but don't count on it.

EDIT 9:16pm - As it turns out, Michelle Wie is not actually eligible for the Monday qualifiers. I misread the exemption rules. BUT, she does have an avenue to a Tour card that is - in effect - one event at a time. If she finishes in top 10 at the CWO, she would then get into the next LPGA Tour event per the field composition rules. At a minimum then, she has to finish top 10. Not as bad as top 5 and way better than top 3.

In light of a layoff til mid-August to play in that event, The Constructivist over at Mostly Harmless argues that it will be a good tune up before that tournament. It's a good point of contention. How else will she maintain that competitive edge before a very critical event? Playing against the PGA Tour B-list is not a bad idea. In that light, it looks reasonable.

Bill Jempty summarized a number of posts on the subject and follows up on the line of logic from the Constructivist:
[W]hat is the harm of her playing in Tahoe? As I see it, very little to none if all Michelle sees this is as an opportunity to work on her game right now.
Geoff Shackelford is on my end of the spectrum.

It's really a mixed bag of reactions, but none genuinely positive. The most positive reaction appears to be "why the hell not?" That is still more resounding than the feedback from her last few attempts at the PGA and Nationwide Tours.

6 comments:

The Constructivist said...

I thought both she and Stacy Lewis could try Monday qualifying, too, but check this note from the page you linked to:

"Professionals who are not LPGA members (including PGA members or apprentices, mini-tour players and/or foreign tour players) are not eligible to enter the qualifying round."

It's a good finish at the CWO or Q-School for her, as Mulligan Stu put it.

Ryan Ballengee said...

I read that part too and interpreted that as someone who could qualify because of past status. But, re-reading it now, maybe not. My question, then, is say she finishes top 8, would she get into another tournament? I know the PGA Tour has such a rule, but I can't seem to find the same set of rules on their website. I'll keep digging.

The Constructivist said...

I wonder if the LPGA is mean enough to limit that top 10 rule to members-only I have seen non-exempt players get into the next event with a top 10, but Lewis still needed to burn one of her sponsors' exemptions post-Open.

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