Mike Nadel: Readers have their say on Wie's woes
My e-mail inbox was bursting with reactions to Michelle Wie being disqualified from the LPGA State Farm Classic in Springfield - she didn't sign her scorecard properly - and to my sympathetic column about the subject.
From Larry Harnly, Springfield:
"The solution seems so simple. Have one person in the scorer’s tent in charge of one job: making sure all players sign their cards. Players don’t leave the area until the person has checked for a signature."
NADEL SAYS: It figures that it took an ex-sportswriter to come up with such an intelligent idea. (Larry is a former State Journal-Register reporter.) Hope the golf czars listen.
From Darryl Fox, Springfield:
"Wie dropped out of Annika Sorenstam’s tourney to practice for her next one. She has been DQ'd for (on-course rules violations). She habitually drops out of tourneys with fake injuries. She gets into tourneys on exemptions. She cost the (State Farm Classic) TV ratings, which will reduce prize money next year. Charities will suffer because attendance is down. And those who bought tickets for Sunday got screwed. Anybody she didn’t hurt?"
NADEL SAYS: Wow! What a tremendous honor to receive e-mail from the planet's only perfect person! Not only does this reader never make mistakes now, he also never made them when he was a teenager.
Little did I know that one 18-year-old girl could bring down an entire tournament. The reader forgot to blame Michelle for global warming, inflation and salmonella, too. And shame on me for not mentioning that she only plays on sponsor’s exemptions. Tiger Woods certainly didn't get his start that way. (Except, of course, he did.) Yes, let’s bring up Wie’s past to rip her for what happened Friday. Very useful.
The world would be such a better place if Michelle Wie is banned from golf forever!
From Bill Ford, Urbana:
"Michelle Wie’s potential as a golfer and her personality are a gift. She brings freshness, honesty and charisma. Michelle performed extremely well on the course, where it matters most, Thursday through Saturday.
"What happened in Springfield ... raises some ethical questions. Who authorized the volunteer from the scorer’s area to track down Michelle to sign her card? Ashley Cushman is identified as LPGA media coordinator; does Ashley’s job description include reporting supposed rules infractions? What was the response of the official scorer to this accusation? Why was (Wie) allowed to complete the third round?"
NADEL SAYS: I saw no breach of ethics. The volunteer acted on her own accord. She noticed the unsigned scorecard, saw Michelle 30 to 40 yards away and thought she was doing the right thing by tracking Wie down. Cushman’s job is to do what's right for the tour; she's no villain for upholding the rules.
The committee questioned the volunteer and other witnesses and then asked Wie for her account. Since the violation apparently didn’t come to light until after Wie began playing Saturday, committee members felt disrupting the round to question Michelle would be imprudent. That's logical, albeit unfortunate.
From Dick McLane, Springfield:
"I'm surprised at not hearing any comparison between Michelle's misfortune and that of Roberto de Vicenzo. A scorecard error cost him a tie for first place in the Masters 40 years ago."
NADEL SAYS: Nah, that couldn't have happened. See, according to her critics, Wie is the only person ever to make mistakes.
From Dan Weisman, Springfield:
"Thanks for your thoughtful column. I still have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. While I understand signing the scorecard is a rule ... you said it right: 'So sad, a damn shame.'"
NADEL SAYS: Thanks, but others are less sure of my rightness.
From Bruce Urton, Canton, Ill.:
"Dude, I guess I have no heart and I have ice water in my veins. Wie broke a rule. Everyone knows you sign the scorecard after a round. This is just another chapter of the Wie train wreck. A lot of people are tired of hearing about Wie. The LPGA majors change rules so that she can be invited. How about she earn her way in like all others? She sabotaged her own career by wanting to play with the boys when she had not won anything against the girls."
NADEL SAYS: Everyone knows to sign the scorecard properly - yet Wie, de Vicenzo, Sergio Garcia and countless others have failed to do so. Humans, sources say, are imperfect beings.
Though Wie has been coddled and has received some questionable advice since arriving on the scene, other golfers went out of their way to tell me she has matured over the last year or so. LPGA officials say she couldn't have been more humble in her acceptance of the disqualification. The bet here is she still will have a fine career - even after she once again "sabotages" it by going against PGA pros in next week's Legends Reno-Tahoe Open.
Yes, Michelle Wie messed up. Isn't the haunting memory of the mistake - and the consequences - punishment enough? I'm still trying to figure out what anybody gains from piling on.
Mike Nadel (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the Chicago sports columnist for GateHouse News Service. Read his blog, The Baldest Truth, at www.thebaldesttruth.com.