Why Michelle Wie has few friends on the LPGA Tour
Michelle Wie finished 12th at the Canadian Open this weekend, which wasn’t good enough to earn her an LPGA card for 2009. If she wants to earn the respect of full-time LPGA Tour players, she needs to go through qualifying school this year and stop relying on sponsors' exemptions.
LPGA players view Michelle with mixed reactions. When she first appeared on the scene, many were in awe of her ball-striking and playing ability. She was welcomed with open arms. The LPGA, in fact, modified a rule to allow her to play with more exemptions. But the tide turned when she made multiple attempts to play with the men at PGA Tour events. To some, it felt like she was snubbing the validity and competitive quality of the LPGA Tour. To make things worse, Michelle got on Annika Sorenstam’s bad side when she withdrew from the Ginn tournament last year after almost breaking the 88 rule. (The LPGA's 88 rule stipulates that any non-LPGA player who doesn't break 88 in a round is not allowed to finish the tournament or play in any other tournaments for the rest of the season.) That is when many of the players started feeling resentment.
While most LPGA players respect Michelle’s ability, it is her career decisions that have hurt her reputation, and many players blame her parents. Helen Alfredsson recently said she felt sorry for Michelle and believes that the people managing her (in other words, her parents) have created the problems.
Michelle now claims she is making her own decisions but hasn’t give any clues as to her desires and goals for the future. The LPGA will welcome her only if she goes through the qualifying process and becomes a full-time committed member. Otherwise, she will lose fans and support by the minute.
(Photo: Michelle Wie during the final round of the Canadian Women's Open/AP)