DUBLIN, Ohio - You can say this for Michelle Wie. She's only 17 years old, albeit a worldly 17, and she can already look you straight in the eye and sling bull with the best of them.
Wie withdrew from the LPGA's Ginn Tribute in South Carolina on Thursday, two holes and two bogeys short of a round of 88.
That's the magic number that goes with a rather obscure LPGA Tour performance rule that bans non-tour-member players from competing in any additional tour events for the remainder of the calendar year.
Chris Higgs, the LPGA's chief operating officer, just happened to pull up on a cart and have a quick word with Wie's agent, Greg Nared. After Wie walked off the green at No. 7, her 16th hole of the round, Nared huddled with his client. Moments later, Wie walked to the eighth tee, shook hands with her playing partners, and quit.
Higgs reportedly said there was "no particular reason" that he found himself on the same hole as Wie and in conversation with her agent.
Mary Ann Chastain / AP Enlarge
Wie said she had "issues with my wrist. Shooting 88 is not what I think about."
I'll buy the latter because I'm guessing that prior to the conclave with her agent, Wie never knew of the Rule of 88.
"She wasn't holding her wrist," playing partner Alena Sharp told the media. "I think she just had a bad day. I think she withdrew because of the high score. If it was her wrist, why wait until the last two holes?"
What ever happened to telling the truth?
Why couldn't Wie have stepped in front of the cameras and said: "This was a big mistake. I haven't played in a tournament since January because of my wrist injury and, while the doctors cleared me to play, I hadn't had time to properly prepare and get my game in shape. I should not have rushed it. As a result, I stunk. And I wasn't going to jeopardize next week's LPGA Championship or the other tour events I'm scheduled to play the rest of the year because I made this mistake. So, yeah, when I learned about the 88 rule, I was out of there."
Why couldn't Higgs have said:
"I absolutely made sure Michelle's people knew about the rule. I was looking out for the best interests of the player and the tour. She's a hot property. She sells tickets. If you don't like what I did, that's tough."
Isn't the truth refreshing?
Here's some more truth. It's time for Ms. Wie to tell her parents to back off. Thanks mom, thanks dad, for everything you've done and for all your sacrifices so that I could travel around the world playing a game when most girls my age are working summer jobs at The Gap. But I can't be your meal ticket. Here's a couple million. We're even now. So get lost.
B.J. and Bo Wie have been suffocating their daughter and calling every shot for years. Every aspect of her career has been orchestrated. The dollar decisions have paid off fabulously. Scheduling decisions have not. The constant forays into men's golf probably keep her sponsors happy because of increased exposure, but her game has been adversely affected and her repeated inability to make cuts, forget winning, has led to ridicule.
It's time for Michelle to grow up and rely on instructors and advisors whose interests lie in her physical health and her development as a golfer into, perhaps, a champion.
And that's the truth.
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