Anybody who has read my posts over the years knew this one was coming once I decided to do a series of “LPGA Watch 2013″ entries. Michelle Wie is a favorite of mine, that’s for sure. But while I was disappointed that 2012 wasn’t a better year for Sung-Mi, I am a bit conflicted about how badly I actually feel about her struggles. Simply put, I have followed Michelle through social media and what I see is a truly happy, beautiful and creative person who doesn’t define herself through golf. She has said as much, as she was asked by Mark Rolfing:
(a little low audio, might need to turn up volume)
“At the end of the day, it really is just a game. It doesn’t define who you are.” – Michelle Wie
Through her struggles in 2012, her smile still seemed genuine. Her laughter and comraderie with other players seemed genuine. She is still having a wonderful time being Michelle Wie. She even found time to give back to a program in Hawaii that helped her.
So as long as she’s comfortable in her own skin, then the golf is secondary. So if everything is sunshine, lollipops and rainbows then why am I so concerned about watching how she does in 2013? Well, because her game isn’t where it should be given her talent. That’s just a fact. Can I pinpoint the solution? No. Is it confidence? Is it time for a coaching change? Swing change? None of the above? All of the above? So many people think they know the solution to what ails her game, but I am satisfied in saying I just don’t know. The only thing I do know is that I would hate to see her squander her talent. I’d hate to see anybody squander their talent.
I’m not calling her the next big thing or the savior of the LPGA or whatever she’s been called by some. Those days are passed. There is a new crop of wonder kids, including Lexi Thompson, Lydia Ko and Ariya Jutanugarn who are either on tour now or likely will be in years to come. Still, I think a successful Michelle Wie is good for the tour. Not necessary, but good. At only 23, she still has time to rebound from 2012.
So in the end, I hope she comes back in 2013 to be the player she can be. More than that, I hope she remains the person that she has become. Great players come and go and come and go again. A happy Michelle Wie off the course means more than a successful Michelle Wie on the course. But it sure would be nice to have both.