The Only Criterion - They Will Watch

By George WhiteJuly 6, 2005, 4:00 pm
Todays sermon revolves around a 15-year-old girl, a golf tournament, and peoples hot-button reaction to it. If ever there were a polarizing event in golf, Michelle Wie and the John Deere Classic has to be it.
 
Let me see if I can sum up the negative e-mails concerning this kid and her attempts to play in a mens professional golf tournament (her third PGA Tour event, by the way) first of all, shes a female ' thats obvious; shes taking up a spot that should go to a tour player ' shes not, she got in on a sponsors exemption which most likely would have gone otherwise to a local PGA pro; or, why in Hades name does a girl want to play with the men, anyway?
 
Michelle Wie
Michelle Wie looked right at home talking to the media at the John Deere Classic.
But in the final analysis, I can tell you that all the wailing goes for naught because of one all-important factor: strip the PGA Tour down to its most basic element, and its only reason for being is because people want to watch it. People PLAY golf because they enjoy the experience of competing, be it against the golf course or other people. But they WATCH golf because they want to be entertained.
 
If they didnt care about watching golf, there would be no reason to have a tour. Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh and Annika Sorenstam would be unknowns then, much like, say, a world champion lawn bowler.
 
Ergo, professional golf. Ergo, the PGA Tour. And ergo (which is a fancy way of saying therefore), the John Deere Classic. You can yelp all you want to about the tour being meant for men only, or for professionals only, but in the end it exists for only one reason ' because people enjoy watching it.
 
So, it boils down to one simple question: do people enjoy watching Michelle Wie? The organizers of the John Deere Classic emphatically proclaim that they do.
 
Jim Furyk reacted quickly to the argument that shes taking somebodys spot at the Sony Open this year. I have a problem with that argument in that it's a sponsor's spot. It's not really their spot, he said.
 
When I was a mini-tour player, I liked sponsor's exemptions to go to golf professionals, because those guys were trying to make a living. But its an exception where a guy has won the U.S. Amateur or an exception like Michelle Wie. I don't care who you put in this field as a sponsor's exemption, no one will gain one-third the attention that she's going to gain with her sponsor's exemption. ... Will it bother some players if she got an exemption somewhere else? I'm sure it would. I'm not one of those people.
 
Does Wie belong? Zack Johnson says there is no question ' she belongs strictly on the basis of her ability.
 
Oh, yeah, he said. I think she can maybe be in contention. I don't think there's any doubt. She's good. I mean, she's a phenom. I've said it a bunch. When you have a phenom like that, regardless - male or female - you've got to showcase it in some sort of fashion. However that arena is set up, it doesn't matter.
 
Ernie Els is a believer. He played with Wie at the Sony in her native Hawaii. And he sees a young woman who is very driven.
 
I think her goal is to be out here. She wants to be out here as soon as she can.
I don't think anybody compares to her at 15, says Els. So for her to go back to her age group and compete against those people, it just doesn't make sense for her. She wants to push herself to a different level quicker.
 
Wie has read the negative comments, heard all the talk. She knows that some people are not going to approve of her actions, regardless of how she succeeds.
 
I know they're always going to be there, Michelle said, and there are some people that are always against me. But, you know, I just have to realize that I'm having a lot of fun, and this is what I want to do and I'm not going to stop just for them.
 
Johnson played with Wie in a practice round Tuesday, and he came away a believer, too. This, he said, is the real deal. Regardless of how she does this week, he is proud to be in the same field with her.
 
I mentioned that to some of the other guys today, said Johnson. She walks high, her mannerisms are very mature. She's very, very classy, very professional. She's funny. She's generous, she's nice. She was just the epitome of a very happy and appreciative sponsor exemption.
 
And like I said, she's only 15. It's scary. She definitely acts beyond her years.
 
Win, lose or draw, shes going to play. Some people ' and that includes some pros ' are extremely unhappy about it. But I guarantee you ' people will be watching.
 
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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

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Rory faces criticism

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President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

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Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


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Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

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Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm