Right now, Michelle Wie's golf career is in jeopardy.
That is not an exaggeration.
It's not because she can't hit quality golf shots. It's because the menagerie of parents, agents, coaches and media that have enabled her along the way aren't likely to start giving her GOOD advice now.
Watch. Unless she fires everybody and divorces her parents, the mountain of bad advice that she's been given to date will almost surely be followed by even worse advice. It always happens this way. Do you go back to somebody who gave you bad advice and ask them for a second opinion?
You can say "hogwash" all you want, and point to her three top-five finishes in LPGA Majors last summer as evidence. I counter with the fact that her last actual "W" was back in 2003 against public-course-playing women.
I counter with just how badly she's spraying the ball now. Even if you want to believe the convenient "Look At My Wrist, It's Bandaged!" excuse, it doesn't explain what a train wreck she was last week. A bum wrist doesn't explain total ineptitude.
Playing partner Alena Sharp said she thought Wie would withdraw at the turn. "She didn't look like she was there," Sharp said. "She didn't focus like usual."
Chris Baldwin of Travelgolf.com makes an excellent point: "If your wrist is so hurt that you cannot play two more holes, do you immediately start talking about playing 72 the very next week?"
Robert Thompson of OntGolf.com noted Wie's cryptic -- if not dishonest -- answer to a legitimate question at that week's press conference about the comeback from her injury. When asked when she had recovered sufficiently to resume playing, Wie claimed not to remember. "I don't really want to go back into the past and talk about the injuries," she said.
Except when you need that injury to avoid a one-year ban from the LPGA Tour; then, she'll be happy to tell you all about it.
There hasn't been an injury this convenient since Al Czervik in the big money match at Bushwood: "Oooh, my arm! I think it's broken!"
The pressure this kid is under must be enormous. And, I'd be willing to bet anything that on the range, she's positively striping it. I'd bet in practice rounds, she's breaking 70 all the time. But when you know your next competitive round will have no less than a half-dozen "SportsCenter" highlights devoted to it, every involuntary muscle starts to pucker.
The choice not to dominate junior ranks first, amateur ranks second, college ranks third, the LPGA next and then -- only then -- take a stab at making a PGA Tour cut is a disastrous decision the full effects of which are just now beginning to be felt.
Great golfers at some point learn to hit the shots that are easy on the range, in the furnace of competition. They learn how to close.
Wie skipped all of that. And there's no turning back. It would be like building a house with tainted cement, and sub-grade lumber. From the outside, it'll look like a nice house. But, nothing will be right inside. Nothing.
Golf has had a lot of great talents who became head cases and vanished. Names like Clampett, Baker-Finch, Beck, Duval and more. You want a horror story? Read up on how former Players Champ Craig Perks is doing these days. He's missed 85 cuts in the 127 starts he's made since, and is ready to quit the game.
And somehow Wie is supposed to be immune to this possibility?
If you would lay me some odds, I'd bet she's not even playing golf in 10 years. Disillusioned, unable to live up to the hype or the endorsements and fully aware of how poorly she was managed as a teenager, she'll be like McCauley Culkin, Brien Taylor, Todd Marinovich, and Lindsay Lohan all wrapped into one.
Right now, the Wie family has produced a young woman who is totally lost in her game, smothered under the weight of her contractual obligations, a pariah among her peers on the LPGA Tour and increasingly the subject of media scorn.
Good job. At least I hope the money has been invested wisely.
Steve is a native Washingtonian and has worked in sports talk radio for the last 11 years. He worked at WTEM in 1993 anchoring Team Tickers before he took a full time job with national radio network One-on-One Sports.
A graduate of UC Santa Barbara, Steve has worked for WFNZ in Charlotte where his afternoon show was named "Best Radio Show." Steve continues to serve as a sports personality for WLZR in Milwaukee and does fill-in hosting for Fox Sports Radio.