Higher Standards, Once Again.

Michelle Wie is all of 16 years old. She’s a pro golfer, and she’s been trying for a year or so — since she was 15 — to qualify for a number of professional men’s tournaments. She just failed to qualify for the John Deere Classic, which makes her 0-5 in her bids for spots on men’s tournaments.

She also hasn’t qualified for any LPGA tournaments, something which her critics point to when they gripe that she doesn’t belong in pro golf, certainly not the men’s tour.

“She just said, ‘I’m going to withdraw,'” said Jeff Gove, one of Wie’s playing partners. “Which was good because she was holding us up again.”

People like Gove – and there are plenty – simply don’t get it. Yes, Wie missed yet another cut on the PGA Tour when heat exhaustion forced her out of the John Deere Classic on Friday, making her 0-for-5 when she plays with the big boys. And no, she hasn’t won on the LPGA Tour yet.

Gove, frankly, sounds a lot like that guy who pissed and moaned about Danica Patrick‘s Indy 500 run last year — even though she beat his ass fair and square. She didn’t win, but she outdrove her critic, placing fourth overall (that didn’t stop his whinging).

But here’s the thing: Wie is 16 years old. 16. And for all the salivating over Tiger Woods, he didn’t qualify for a pro tournament until he was 19 (and he just lost out of one major tournament or another). So, already we have her being held to a higher standard than Tiger Woods, who was undoubtedly held to a higher standard than white players (and certainly wasn’t immune from stupid “fried chicken and watermelon” cracks from commentators and the golf old guard).

But Wie, by all accounts, is even better at 16 than Woods was.

Like Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan and LeBron James, Wie is one of those spectacular talents who comes around once in a generation. She has a naturally sweet swing that other pros spend hours trying to master, and the length to hang with the men. Her irons and short game are coming along nicely, though her putting still needs some work. When it comes to composure and steely focus, she could teach men and women a decade older a thing or two.

. . .

“She’s better than Tiger was at 16,” said Joe Ogilvie, the second-round leader at the Deere Classic. “I played with Tiger, and Tiger wasn’t this good.

“Everybody is like, `Win, win, win,'” Ogilvie added. “She’s 16. Chill out. Once she gets to winning, you’ll get sick of her winning.”

And, again, she’s still younger than James, Jordan or Woods was when they broke out (though someone who knows more about basketball than I do can tell me whether Jordan could have played in the pros while he was in college, since drafting right out of high school wasn’t done then). She might not be getting this kind of pressure if she had stayed in the juniors or the LPGA tour, but she’s daring to challenge men, so she’s held to a higher standard.

What’s interesting is that her presence on the men’s tour is stirring up interest in even the relatively obscure tournaments, which — despite what critics like Gove have to say — is good for the sport at a time when Woods is, well, a bit disappointing.

She also has a different way of doing things. Instead of learning to win on the junior circuit or staying put on the LPGA Tour, Wie has carved out her own niche. She wants to hone her game against the best and become a global icon, and the surest way to do both is by playing a mixture of men’s and women’s events.

That has rankled plenty, though. Many LPGA Tour players resent the attention she gets and what they see as free passes. Some on the PGA Tour think she’s taking spots away from a deserving journeyman or up-and-comer.

All of which misses the point. No matter where she plays, Wie is good for golf.

Played the week before the British Open, the Deere Classic is a smaller tournament that could easily go by unnoticed. Most of the big names are either in Europe or on their way there, leaving a field full of mostly anonymous guys scrambling to climb the money list.

Bring Wie in, though, and suddenly everybody pays attention.

“Having her brings the avid golf fan who understands she’s doing things no 16-year-old, certainly no woman has ever done, and the casual golf fan who knows her as one of the famous people in the world,” tournament director Clair Peterson said.

“She does what any event wants, and that’s bring more people.”

She’s even got male fans who’ll do body paint. I’ve seen this kind of phenomenon before, where female athletes capture the attention of male fans who appreciate the way they play the game. I went to UConn, where the men’s and women’s basketball teams began to gather national attention around the same time. They always had a local audience, and a rabid one at that (other than the Whalers, who blew out of town, Connecticut has no pro sports teams, and with something like 70% of UConn alumni living within an hour and a half of the Hartford Civic Center, there was a built-in audience). But still, the women’s team didn’t attract nearly the attention that the men’s team did — until they won the NCAA tournament in 1995. I graduated law school the next year and lived at home for a while, taking the bus into Hartford. During basketball season, the men on the bus would discuss the women’s game, since the women were having a far more electrifying experience at that point — the men in the mid-90s were a bit disappointing after their early 90s breakout (and prior to their late-90s success, where they caught up to the women).

So quitcher bitchin’, boys. Women are good for the game.


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43 comments for “Higher Standards, Once Again.

  1. Norah
    July 15, 2006 at 10:20 pm

    “She just said, ‘I’m going to withdraw,’” said Jeff Gove, one of Wie’s playing partners. “Which was good because she was holding us up again.”

    Oh, boo fucking hoo. This dude wishes he could be a 16 year old prodigy.

  2. Marksman2000
    July 15, 2006 at 10:25 pm

    Who was the Indy driver who pissed and moaned? I must have missed that.

    Sounds like something Jeff Gordon would do–but he drives NASCAR.

  3. randomliberal/Robert
    July 15, 2006 at 10:26 pm

    While she hasn’t officially qualified herself for a tournament, Wie actually has made a great many cuts on the LPGA tour, and if memory serves, she finished in the final group at one of the LPGA majors last year (i could be wrong there, though). Anyone using the crap excuse that she is using exemptions to get into tournaments, and therefore isn’t to be taken seriously, is a moron.

    It’s only a matter of time before she makes a PGA cut.

  4. Bruce from Missouri
    July 16, 2006 at 1:11 am

    The problem with Michelle Wie is not that she is a girl. The problem is that she is being pushed too far too fast by her father.

    I am fully confident that she is eventually capable of making cuts in men’s tournaments, but she needs to get a few wins in the LPGA under her belt before she does. She needs to develop mental toughness, and stop her late round collapses. I worry she will burn out constantly getting her ass handed to her by experienced male pros.

    If she gets a couple of years on the LPGA under her belt, she will hopefully develop more mental toughness, and have some wins under her belt., and generally be more ready. What she is doing right now is like signing a baseball player out of sophomore year high school, and sending him to start in the majors. It’s a recipe for failure.

  5. July 16, 2006 at 2:18 am

    There may be value in the individual golf tournaments exploiting her prodigy status, but certainly no professional value for her getting bounced after the second round. I’m sure that she is closer to the top of the woman’s game at age 16 than Tiger Woods was, but Tiger progressed semi-naturally, winning 3 (?) amateur championships before turning pro.

    I would take Annika Sorenstam, assuming I spelled her name correctly, seriously, in that she’s won 10 or so LPGA major tournaments; not because I see the LPGA as a minor league, but because there’s something organic to the process of winning (just ask Phil Mickelson).

    And I am aware of being in a sports town where some women’s sports eclipses men’s sports; for 20 of the last 25 years, under the stewardship of Jody Conradt, Texas Women’s basketball was a much bigger draw than men’s basketball. In addition, UT”s most dominant single player in any sport has probably been softball pitcher Cat Osterman.

  6. July 16, 2006 at 8:20 am

    Gove, frankly, sounds a lot like that guy who pissed and moaned about Danica Patrick’s Indy 500 run last year — even though she beat his ass fair and square. She didn’t win, but she outdrove her critic, placing fourth overall (that didn’t stop his whinging).

    But here’s the thing: Wie is 16 years old. 16. And for all the salivating over Tiger Woods, he didn’t qualify for a pro tournament until he was 19 (and he just lost out of one major tournament or another). So, already we have her being held to a higher standard than Tiger Woods, who was undoubtedly held to a higher standard than white players (and certainly wasn’t immune from stupid “fried chicken and watermelon” cracks from commentators and the golf old guard).

    But Wie, by all accounts, is even better at 16 than Woods was.

    Wie is not better at 16 than Woods was. Tiger chose to maintain his amateur status until he could come onto the PGA and win, beause he expected to earn his paycheck for playing golf on the PGA Tour. Wie has other sources of income. In May, she played in an Asian Tour event in South Korea, and made the cut, which is a remarkable accomplishment for a woman in a men’s event. She got $700,000 for appearing, and the total prize purse for the tournament was $600,000.

    Wie was able to obtain lucrative endorsement contracts because she is a 16 year old girl who can drive a golf ball 280 yards, and the interest in that stems in large part because she is a girl, and in another large part because Tiger Woods raised the profile of golf to a level where multimillion dollar endorsement contracts are now something that is given to golfers.

    She’s not a pro earlier because she’s better than Tiger. She’s a pro earlier because nobody asks her to win a tournament to get a big check. Also, Wie can play on the LPGA where she can get onto the money list.

    The LPGA is a very different game than the PGA. The courses are shorter and the grass is maintained to gentler specifications. The difference in the condition of the course alone is a huge factor. An experienced golfer playing a course in the condition it’s ordinarily maintained for for its members will find his score much increased if he plays the same course in PGA condition. PGA golf is a much harder game.than golf under any other circumstances.

    Anyone who qualifies for a PGA Tour event is entitled to play in a PGA Tour event, but getting to play in the tournament is a different thing from winning.Tiger Woods could have qualified when he was 16, but there wasn’t the same incentive for him to do so.

    Wie is a woman over six feet tall, which means she has the size, strength and leverage to drive the ball as far as a man, and she has outstanding fine motor control for a very large person, and can play a professionally competitive short game. I think she’ll eventually be able to make PGA cuts and even win PGA events. But there’s no way she’s better than Tiger Woods.

  7. Nancy
    July 16, 2006 at 10:05 am

    Most of the men who play PGA events earn their spots by qualifying for them. Wie entered the Deere tournament using a “sponsor’s exemption.” She did not qualify for the tournament via her play. If she were not offered such an exemption, someone else would have been, someone else who did not qualify through play. The unfairness is in the exemption itself, not who it is offered to.

    Part of play is managing hydration and the physical demands of the course to avoid heat exhaustion. Her leaving sounds like an excuse to many golf fans, just as Tiger often claimed some vague injury or malaise whenever he was playing poorly.

    I admire golfers who show character. Wie does not, nor does Tiger. For them it is about the money and about their parents’ ambitions. Wie seems to have no clue that there is a difference between earning one’s way into a tournament and being given a shot for the publicity.

    The iditots who report golf on the evening news focus on Tiger no matter what his score, often omitting the name of the person actually leading a tournament. They do the same with Wie because she is no more than a celebrity like Britney or Paris Hilton. In golf, you are generally only as good as your latest performance and most players are not even shown in TV coverage unless they are among the leaders, despite past accomplishments. Not so for tiger and now Michelle Wie. This is not about golf but about celebrity and it is unfair to all of the golfers who work hard and play well. Wie may have POTENTIAL but it remains just that until she wins on any tour.

    Those who do not regularly follow golf may not realize that there are many highly talented young players, each touted as the next Tiger (and before him, the next Nicklaus or Palmer). They do not realize their talent because golf is more than just physical skill. The mind game affects play, perhaps more than in any other sport. Wie cannot win yet because she is immature. She may not have the chance to become capable of winning if she doesn’t stop messing around this way and focus on the demands for self-control and emotion regulation that come on the last day of a tournament. Until she does, there is little point in watching her play on any tour.

    Annika Sorenstam has dominated the LPGA tour more than Tiger has dominated the men’s tour, with little attention from the media because she is not as attractive as Wie (and perhaps because she has not publicized herself in the same manner). If you care about women in the sport, support Annika, not Wie.

  8. July 16, 2006 at 10:48 am

    Most of the men who play PGA events earn their spots by qualifying for them. Wie entered the Deere tournament using a “sponsor’s exemption.” She did not qualify for the tournament via her play. If she were not offered such an exemption, someone else would have been, someone else who did not qualify through play. The unfairness is in the exemption itself, not who it is offered to.

    I was wondering how she got in. She’s legitimately talented though. People put a lot of emphasis on winning tournaments, but Wie is very successful on the LPGA. She gets a lot of attention because she will be successful as a woman in a male dominated sport.

    Zuzu is just wrong that she’s being judged on a higher standard, but it is incredible that she will probably be able to compete on the same standard as the best male players in an elite professional athletic sport. When she does, she will be the only woman capable of doing so.

    I admire golfers who show character. Wie does not, nor does Tiger. For them it is about the money and about their parents’ ambitions. Wie seems to have no clue that there is a difference between earning one’s way into a tournament and being given a shot for the publicity

    You’re wrong. Tiger’s very way of playing imposed an athletic rigor on the pro game that hadn’t been there previously. Golfers played a lot of golf, but they didn’t turn themselves into golf machines the way Tiger Woods did. The guy dedicated the whole of his existence to the sport from the time he was potty trained until he was 26 or so. He asserted his dominance in a way that was absolutely irrefutable.

    His self-assuredness may make him an attractive guy to root against, but he earned it honestly. He really is that good.

    And yeah, maybe he’s not about entirely about the love of the game. But he lived, ate, drank and breathed golf for most of his life, and he took the game apart and reduced it to a science in a way few others have. And then he fucking dominated it. Then he married a Swedish model and decided to spend some quality time with his mountains of cash. I don’t blame the guy.

    Wie won’t be able to fill a closet with green jackets like Tiger probably will before he’s done with this game, but she’s an odds on favorite to be an uncontested best-woman-ever-to-play-the-game.

    Both of them will probably get better appearance and endorsement deals than fantastic golfers like Phil Mickelson, who is an objectively better golfer than Wie will ever be and is amply competitive with Woods, because Wie and Woods are familiar to people who don’t actually know anything about golf. Phil’s presence on top of the money list is relatively immaterial.

    They do the same with Wie because she is no more than a celebrity like Britney or Paris Hilton. In golf, you are generally only as good as your latest performance and most players are not even shown in TV coverage unless they are among the leaders, despite past accomplishments.

    The interest in Michelle Wie right now is like the interest in LeBron James before he was drafted. Wie is the female golfer who will make it on the PGA Tour.

    Right now, she’s being paid for her recognizability, and given her endorsement deals, that will probably be her primary source of income for her whole career. But she’s not Anna Kournikova.

    Annika Sorenstam has dominated the LPGA tour more than Tiger has dominated the men’s tour, with little attention from the media because she is not as attractive as Wie (and perhaps because she has not publicized herself in the same manner). If you care about women in the sport, support Annika, not Wie.

    Yep, and after over a decade of dominating the LPGA money list, Annika is just shy of $20 million in total earnings. Michelle Wie’s endorsement deals with Nike and Sony aloneare worth $10 million a year.

    Annika Sorenstam is a fantastic golfer, but Michelle Wie is an athletic anomaly. It’s nothing to do with sex appeal; most men aren’t salivating after six-foot women. It’s about that 280 yard drive.

    Michelle Wie will be able to make cuts on the PGA Tour, though, and Annika probably won’t, and being the only woman on the PGA Tour will be worth more than dominating the LPGA in endorsement potential, even though winning LPGA events pays better than mediocre performance in PGA Tour events. Both Annika and Wie are excellent golfers, but Wie will become a symbol of something.

  9. Nancy
    July 16, 2006 at 2:20 pm

    A 280 yard drive does not make Wie competitive with male golfers. Mickelson and Woods drive 320 yards. It makes her comparable to mediocre male golfers. She is not dominating womens golf, despite her drives, because she has no skill at maintaining a consistently strong performance across 72 holes. That’s because she is inexperienced. It is the reason why the unknown guys who are always found at the top of the leaderboard on the first two days of a tournament don’t wind up winning. They have a lucky round but can’t keep it up.

    Yes, Tiger has devoted a great deal of effort to his game, but you are wrong if you think others have not done the same. Tiger is a great athelete. He doesn’t love the sport, by any measure. He plays as little as possible, has no use for his fans, avoids the other players, and shows no pleasure in playing, only pain at losing. His father did a job on him and I sincerely hope he will sort out his psyche and find out what he really wants to do with his life. Mickelson is the obvious contrast, and if you think he hasn’t practiced every bit as hard as tiger from age 2 on, you don’t know much about him. His style of play is very different and his desire to play creatively has worked against winning, something he cares about but isn’t obsessed with. Mickelson loves golf and that makes him fun to watch, win or lose.

    It strikes me as silly to make a fuss over Wie when she has yet to do anything worthy of it. She may become wonderful or she may not. Annika Sorenstam already is wonderful. Why is there not the same interest in her career? I think it is about youth and looks and I find it confusing when feminists do not recognize the basis for her attention. Perhaps it is unfamiliarity with golf.

    I’d be willing to be that Wie never makes a cut in a PGA tournament. It takes more than driving distance to play well. Most of the men who never make the cut can drive 280 yards. She isn’t the right symbol for women in golf — Annika Sorenstam is, because of what she has already done. She regularly plays with Tiger informally and she held her own when included in the Skins games. She deserves to be heralded as an amazing golfer — not Wie who is mostly a child with upper body strength and a pretty face who might become a real golfer some day if she isn’t distracted by the circus around her.

  10. nik
    July 16, 2006 at 3:32 pm

    I know this is a stupid question: but why do they call them professional men’s tournaments if they allow women to play? Surely they’re just professional tournaments?

  11. July 16, 2006 at 4:36 pm

    I know this is a stupid question: but why do they call them professional men’s tournaments if they allow women to play? Surely they’re just professional tournaments?

    There called men’s tournaments to distinguish them from the women’s tournaments.

    They aren’t technically exclusive, but if you’ve ever played on a course, there tend to be red tees that many women play from, white tees that most men play from, and then tournament tees. If a PGA Tour event and an LPGA event held on the same course, the PGA tour setup will often be hundreds of yards longer than the LPGA configuration.

    That means that, on the par 4 and 5 holes, you have to be able to drive very far and with great precision to score the low scores that make the cut in a PGA Tour event. The best female golfers are stellar players, but they simply can’t compete with the best male players on a tournament course.

    Wie is exciting because she has the size and power to play that kind of game.

  12. Brian
    July 16, 2006 at 5:52 pm

    I guess I don’t have as good of a memory as the writer. I don’t seem to recall any “fried chicken and watermelon” cracks from any commentators or from the so-called old-guard.

    Perhaps you could show me an example of one.

    Maybe this is something that just conveniently fits your world view, but may not have neccessarily happened. Again, if it did, and you can show me an example, I’ll be the first to admit you’re right.

  13. July 16, 2006 at 6:15 pm

    I’m utterly unqualified to enter into the “Wie is/isn’t a golf phenom” conversation. There is, however, another reason that she’s important: she’s an Asian American female athlete, in a game that requires a lot of power and skill. That’s just not something we see in public very often (or at all, in my limited experience). So, I’m all for Wie making it into the public eye as often as possible.

  14. zuzu
    July 16, 2006 at 7:07 pm

    Brian, where your memory fails you, Google is your friend.

    If you googled, you would find out that Fuzzy Zoeller made a “joke” about the dinner that Tiger Woods would request for the banquet for the Master’s Tournament: fried chicken and watermelon.

  15. July 16, 2006 at 7:59 pm

    If you googled, you would find out that Fuzzy Zoeller made a “joke” about the dinner that Tiger Woods would request for the banquet for the Master’s Tournament: fried chicken and watermelon.

    Fuzzy’s quote was:

    “He’s doing everything it takes to win. So, you know what you guys do when he gets in here? You pat him on the back and say congratulations and enjoy it and tell him not to serve fried chicken next year. Got it?”

    and then he said

    “Or collard greens or whatever the hell they serve.”

    He’d shot a 78 that day and finished 34th, and was already hitting the sauce when he made the comments. Zoeller is known for having a fairly ribald sense of humor.

    The previous champion picks the menu for the banquet. in 1998 Woods chose cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, french fries and milkshakes.

    For the 2002 banquet, he served chicken and porterhouse steaks and a sushi appetizer.

    In 2005, he picked stuffed jalapenos and quesadilla appetizers and steak and chicke fajitas with rice and beans, and ice cream for desert.

    There was a chicken option every time; not sure if that’s some sort of tribute to Fuzzy or just a concession to those who don’t eat mammals.

    Fuzzy would have been allowed to order from the Augusta menu if he disapproved of Tiger’s choice because he was a former champion who won the Masters in 1979.

    Personally, I think that in an era where “urban” is used as a synonym for “black,” references to stereotypes about collard greens and watermelon are such anachronisms that it’s hard to take them seriously. I don’t think Zoeller meant anything by it; the Masters menus are something of a long-running joke among golfers, and ethnic or international golfers often choose foods representing their home countries. Somebody once served haggis.

  16. July 16, 2006 at 8:34 pm

    I got to see Wie tee off Friday at the John Deere Classic. That was about all I saw, as I was suffering from the heat as well. It was a very hot day in Iowa.

  17. Mark
    July 16, 2006 at 8:36 pm

    Oh, boo fucking hoo. This dude wishes he could be a 16 year old prodigy.

    In your feminist dreams. “This dude,” Jeff Gove, has already overcome significant obstacles on his way to becoming one hell of a good athlete. Sorry, Norah, but I doubt Jeff Gove wishes he could be a 16-year-old girl.

  18. Mark
    July 16, 2006 at 8:39 pm

    Personally, I think that in an era where “urban” is used as a synonym for “black,” references to stereotypes about collard greens and watermelon are such anachronisms that it’s hard to take them seriously. I don’t think Zoeller meant anything by it; the Masters menus are something of a long-running joke among golfers, and ethnic or international golfers often choose foods representing their home countries. Somebody once served haggis.

    True, but it’s so much more “progressive” to hurl baseless charges of racism, don’t you think?

  19. zuzu
    July 16, 2006 at 9:27 pm

    Oh, yes, I made up the racism charge. I’m the one who saw it.

    Zoeller didn’t take any heat at all, whatsoever, at the time.

  20. Norah
    July 16, 2006 at 9:50 pm

    Sorry, Norah, but I doubt Jeff Gove wishes he could be a 16-year-old girl.

    I said prodigy, Mark, not girl. Reread, and this time for content.

  21. Mark
    July 16, 2006 at 10:04 pm

    Sorry, Norah, but I doubt Jeff Gove wishes he could be a 16-year-old girl.

    I said prodigy, Mark, not girl. Reread, and this time for content.

    Despite your condescending and catty attempt at an insult, I don’t need to reread for content. Perhaps I ought to lecture you about stripping off the feminist blinders you have so mindlessly chosen to wear.

    I said ‘girl’. I get to choose my own words. I notice you didn’t reply to my comment about Jeff Grove’s accomplishments. That’s because he’s a mere man, right? He’s not animated by grrrrrl power, so he doesn’t count, does he?

  22. July 16, 2006 at 10:12 pm

    Danica Patrick was actually welcomed surprisingly well, compared to how women who start beating men are usually treated. I think it’s because racing is an unusual sport, actually, since the drivers often feel secondary to the car. To downplay her skills is to insinuate that the driver is not important, and they didn’t want to walk into that trap.

  23. Brian
    July 16, 2006 at 11:45 pm

    Wow. Great detective work there. You were right. One guy made a fried chicken and collard greens comment.

    Phew! What a relief. For a second there, from how you set it up, I got the impression that actual TV commentators were making those comments on the air. Alas, I was just one drunk prick of a has-been making a dumb-ass comment that cost him his own endorsements.

    Now, as for being held to a “higher standard.” Is she made to play blind-folded or with left-handed clubs or something? What exactly is this higher standard that she is supposedly being held to? SHE was the one that decided to play with pro men.

    If I recall, when Tiger went pro, he actually won a tournament every so often.

  24. Alby
    July 16, 2006 at 11:45 pm

    “She just said, ‘I’m going to withdraw,’” said Jeff Gove, one of Wie’s playing partners. “Which was good because she was holding us up again.”

    I know this is a small point. But wasn’t she sick? Like–throwing up in the bushes sick–and that is why she withdrew…

    Isn’t this what he is talking about? I’m confused.

  25. piny
    July 17, 2006 at 12:48 am

    Personally, I think that in an era where “urban” is used as a synonym for “black,” references to stereotypes about collard greens and watermelon are such anachronisms that it’s hard to take them seriously. I don’t think Zoeller meant anything by it; the Masters menus are something of a long-running joke among golfers, and ethnic or international golfers often choose foods representing their home countries. Somebody once served haggis.

    …Yeah, but those foods aren’t shorthand for a home country–especially not the home country of a guy who grew up in a suburb in Southern California.

  26. July 17, 2006 at 2:36 am

    I think we need to lay off Gove. He actually said “She didn’t complain about anything; she just said, ‘I’m going to withdraw,’ which was good…” Sounds like a compliment, if anything.

    As for why it was good that she withdraw: Players get fined for slow play.

    Other pertinent Gove quotes:

    “[On Friday], we did better because I mentioned something to her at the start about the fines we receive out here, and she had no idea,” Gove said. “She said, ‘I’ll speed up, then.”’…

    While conceding Wie has “a beautiful swing,” Gove said she has other shortcomings.

    “She has to learn to play faster and be more respectful of other players and things of that nature,” he said. “It’s just being ready to go, ready to play and realizing [Thursday] that we were behind and not doing anything about it. If she has her name on her bag, she needs to be professional, and she’s not there yet.”

    Gove said he wondered what the problem was when play slowed down again Friday.

    “I saw she was hurting, but she never said anything,” he said. “She was walking real slow, which I thought was very inconsiderate again because we were trying to keep up. I know she’s 16, but if she wants to play pro golf, she needs to learn how to act and what to do.”

    …Gove said the media were in part to blame for Wie’s slow play.

    “The media got in her way a little bit, especially the cameras taking pictures of Michelle,” Gove said. “They were forgetting that there were other players out there. Some [of the problem] is [the media’s] fault for giving her too much attention too early, but that’s how it goes. We had a rougher go than the rest of the guys, which wasn’t fair.”

    I’m looking hard to find some sort of gender-specific criticism here, and there just isn’t any. In fact, Gove is pretty much making your point for you: She’s too young and inexperienced to be this highly touted.

  27. July 17, 2006 at 2:38 am

    Oh crap I was going to mention this: I removed a bracket from the last quote of Gove that implies he was talking about just himself and his male partner – I don’t think it’s a good assumption considering the tenor of the rest of his remarks regarding the media etc.

  28. July 17, 2006 at 4:51 am

    …Yeah, but those foods aren’t shorthand for a home country–especially not the home country of a guy who grew up in a suburb in Southern California.

    Yes. Fuzzy Zoeller, half in the bag during the post-tournament celebration made a joke about how a black guy might like soul food. That’s only like half a step below burning a cross.

    Seriously, even the watermelon thing is a little more justifiably touchy, even though it is mostly based on a stereotype about rural black communities that largely ceased to exist a century ago, because the “n****r in the watermelon patch” was a commonly evoked character in minstrel shows, which also vanished about a hundred years ago, but which are still toxically offensive.

    But, come on. a “black people like chicken” joke is not a horrible adversity for Tiger Woods to overcome.

    And, Zuzu, it was covered at the time, widely, as soon as it happened. It was rightly overshadowed by the fact that Woods, the only black man on the Tour, and only 21 years old, had won the Masters, but it was definitely reported upon. It cost Zoeller a number of endorsement contracts and he later apologized for it.

  29. Jim H from Indiana
    July 17, 2006 at 8:53 am

    I don’t follow golf at all so I’m unaware of Michelle Wie’s “pull-out” from the tournament. But I do follow auto racing very closely and have a daughter involved (as a driver).

    I do believe Wie is in the exact same boat as Danica Patrick. That is, because they’re “girls,” the standards of success are different. Especially since they’re playing in the “men’s” league.

    Look, when you play in the upper levels of any professional sport, it takes experience, practice, preservence and just plain luck. Forget the gender or the sport; it’s the same for all!

    In Indy Car racing, a typical driver does not win until somewhere between their 36th and 50th race. Which for Indy Cars is somewhere between the end of their third season and the end of their fifth season of competition. And now we’re being told that because Danica hasn’t won yet, she might be a bust.

    Puh-leese! She’s in her second season with a team that started out this year with the wrong chassis (wrong as in it didn’t work and was technologically behind the other brand of chassis). Marketing wise, she is amazing. Talent wise, she is amazing. A bust — let’s talk in three years before we make that judgement.

    Funny, but I sure don’t remember this discussion with Sam Hornish (current) or Tony Stewart (years ago) in Indy Cars. And for those NASCAR types, I don’t believe they’re saying those things about Casey Mears (current) or Kasey Kahne (who won for the first time just this season).

    Michelle Wie is being held to the same, unaccountedly “unreal” standards for one reason and one reason only: She’s challengine men on “their” court using “their” rules. I hope she hangs in there. I hope she’s gives ’em hell. And I hope she wins. (But I certainly won’t be expecting a win until she’s ready, whether that’s this year or ten years from now!]

  30. Q Grrl
    July 17, 2006 at 10:23 am

    Well, I’m a big Retief Goosen fan, so I’m in my own special corner I guess. :)

    I like watching Wie, and simultaneoulsy I like supporting Anika. I don’t see that they are exclusive interests. I’m drawn to Wie’s talent and her unfinished approach — my mind boggles to imagine being so young and taking on the challenges she’s approaching, whether she’s being pushed by her dad or not, or whethere they are appropriate challenges or not. It’s her life to live and she’s doing things I could only daydream about.

    kfluff wrote: “There is, however, another reason that she’s important: she’s an Asian American female athlete, in a game that requires a lot of power and skill. That’s just not something we see in public very often (or at all, in my limited experience). So, I’m all for Wie making it into the public eye as often as possible. ”

    There are many talented Asian and Asian American women in the LPGA — however, with focus on both Wie and Sorenstam they seldom receive TV attention or airtime.

  31. July 17, 2006 at 11:39 am

    Thanks for the response, Q Grrl. You’re right–Wie and Sorenstam do, as media darlings, absorb much of the press that could go to other qualified athletes. I still can’t help thinking that outside the rarefied halls of golf fans, it’s useful to have that attention on Wie–instead of, say Kelly Hu and her second Maxim cover, for instance.

    As to the Tiger Woods Masters Dinner debate, it might be useful here to think about Woods as a golfer who does not define himself as black. Or not only black, but a multitude of ethnicities.

  32. piny
    July 17, 2006 at 11:45 am

    Um, Q? Can you do me a huge favor? I can’t tell if I’m just being paranoid, but I’d really, really appreciate it. Could you please check out this trainwreck and tell me if this person seems a little, um, familiar? No mention of epistemiology yet, but otherwise, man.

  33. Q Grrl
    July 17, 2006 at 1:32 pm

    Oh, Piny!

    Congratulations!

    Yes, you are correct. And I find it sad that I know so much of the narrative by now that it only took me one half of one post (Barbies, brutish father, the book-on-sex, separtism, and dresses) for me to recognize our dear, dear friend. The epistemiology might not be there yet, but it lurks Piny, it lurks.

  34. Q Grrl
    July 17, 2006 at 1:35 pm

    Oh, I read to the bottom of Stacey’s post #156, and the refernce to the Furies clinches it, although it’s more fun to gag on her covert (?) grooming of Kate in her posts above-thread.

  35. Q Grrl
    July 17, 2006 at 1:36 pm

    oops, I mean Sandra. Too many S’ssssss

  36. piny
    July 17, 2006 at 2:11 pm

    I knew it! Thanks for wading in.

  37. piny
    July 17, 2006 at 2:12 pm

    Oh, I read to the bottom of Stacey’s post #156, and the refernce to the Furies clinches it, although it’s more fun to gag on her covert (?) grooming of Kate in her posts above-thread.

    Don’t forget KnifeGhost. Anyway. I’m just gonna leave her on ignore now.

  38. StacyM
    July 17, 2006 at 2:21 pm

    No. I am not Sandra. I’ve been Stacy for a while now. ;-)

    I take it you have encountered Sandra before, Q Grrl?

  39. R. mildred
    July 17, 2006 at 2:47 pm

    Oh my gawd, Teh Trans are talking in code among themselves!

    They must be plotting, plotting against the LPGA!

  40. piny
    July 17, 2006 at 2:51 pm

    *chuckle*

    Arn-day. Ow-nay e’ll-way ave-hay oo-tay ill-kay Mildred-ar-nay.

    Don’t be ridiculous. There’s no secret tranny cabal.

    I take it you have encountered Sandra before, Q Grrl?

    We both have, although I’ve been lucky enough not to have interacted with her much directly (I think). I don’t want to rehearse the whole epic saga, but she’s a troll of a particularly irrational and frightening sort. Nothing she says is in good faith. All of it is either false or misleading. For the sake of your sanity, you should really just ignore her. I’ve placed her in the special moderation cue, and I’m not gonna approve any more of her posts.

  41. StacyM
    July 17, 2006 at 3:04 pm

    Nothing she says is in good faith. All of it is either false or misleading. For the sake of your sanity, you should really just ignore her. I’ve placed her in the special moderation cue, and I’m not gonna approve any more of her posts.

    Ahhh. Good to know. Alrighty then. I’ll just go eat lunch.

    I was beginning to find the whole thread to be a bizarre kind of therapy, though. After being called a man and an usurper of women’s/feminist space so many times, I’ve become strangely inured.

    That’s an improvement over a few months ago when it really began to hit me that a number of folks at some radical feminist blogs think transpeople are eeeeeeeeeevil. I hit freak out mode for a bit, but now I’m fine.

  42. raging red
    July 17, 2006 at 3:25 pm

    Not to derail another thread with all of this nonsense, but Sandra seems to have much more contempt for trans-people in feminist spaces than for men in feminist spaces, so her bigotry is pretty transparent. Hell, didn’t she congratulate Amp (a man) for keeping some transperson off of the posts he labels “feminist only?”

  43. Amy
    July 17, 2006 at 11:59 pm

    zuzu, you should know better. Racism doesn’t exist unless actual murder victims are involved, and even then it’s probably just a big misunderstanding. Now reverse racism, that’s ubiquitous, and that’s a huge problem. So get right on that. Plus, you need to realize that, as was noted, when Tiger went pro, he actualy won a tournament or two. This girl has been playing for all of 3 weeks, sorry, a year, and she hasn’t yet. And she’s not 13 anymore. So there.

    Q Girl, word. I don’t understand why people, even fans of particular sports, get into this mentality that there’s only one talented woman per sport, and the rest suck. It’s like if something positive is said about another woman, then their favored woman, “The Greatest Woman in the Sport” is being attacked, or something. I was reading this book about poker yesterday, and the author was obviously a big Jen Harman fan, and was doing everything he could to tear down Annie Duke, because there can be only one good woman and she’s got to suck. But there was a guy who was another subject in the book, and it was just assumed that he was a great player. If Duke stopped playing cash games, the implication was that she couldn’t hack it, even though it would be hard for her to play after her husband made her move to MT, not to mention the fact that she has 4 kids to care for. With the guy, he rarely played cash games while living right in LV, but that didn’t prove anything because he was just busy taking care of his real estate interests, or lazy, or playing in lower stakes games not because he couldn’t hack it, but just because those games are more fun, or something. Duke’s only won one bracelet, this guy hadn’t won any, but that’s okay because men get the benefit of the doubt and the Greatest Woman is an honorary man. Pretty amazing stuff.

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