LPGA Future Bright and Young


Pretty soon the LPGA will be back on the radar screen. The first official event on its tour is the inaugural SBS Open at Turtle Bay next week.
Pretty soon after that'three events later to be exact'the women will be teeing it up at their seasons first major'The Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Grace Park will attempt to successfully defend. But much of the hype will center around the presence in the field of Hawaiis Michelle Wie and Japans Ai Miyazato.
Wie is the 15-year-old American sensation who finished fourth in this event last year as a 14-year-old. Miyazato is the 19-year-old who won more than a million dollars in her country last year as an 18-year-old and led Japan to victory in the Womens World Cup of Golf in South Africa last week where she was trailed by no less than 45 Japanese media members.
If you are looking for candidates for a team picture for the future of womens golf, Wie and Miyazato are where you should start.
Michelle has lately heard of Ai Miyazato, said Wies father, B.J., earlier this week. Her brother played the practice round with Michelle during the 2004 Sony Open. It is great that Miyazato will bring more excitement to the 2005 Kraft Nabisco. More Japanese golf fans will watch the event on TV.
Throw in the name of Florida teenager Paula Creamer, 18, and you have a Young Three in womens golf that could soon become its Big Three.
Im sure you have already sensed that there will be an influx of young golfers onto both the PGA and LPGA tours in the next five years, B.J. Wie told me. Michelle happens to be one who has received most attention.
I think there are a number of factors to explain the trend, including the advancement in training and equipment technology and the development and growth of highly competitive junior golf tournaments. These young golfers have started playing golf from a very young age.
And, alas, they seem to be growing up very fast. According to the elder Wie, daughter Michelle has been a ferociously quick study at the Texas hold em version of poker so popular on American television of late.
She is so good that her playing partners, who are my friends, are scared of Michelle, B.J. said.
Does Michelle live for these rivalries, real or imagined, with players like Miyazato or Creamer?
The media must understand that Michelle plays golf'mostly professional events'as her hobby and extracurricular activity after school, said B.J. Wie. All of her close friends are as busy as Michelle in swimming, horseback riding, Karate, volleyball, piano, violin, etc. They are always seeking an opportunity to get together on the weekend for shopping, movies, eating, etc.
Bo (Michelles mother) and I are so happy to see Michelle enjoying her school and life in general. After she turns professional, it will be important for her to think about rivalries and other players.
Ai Miyazato, it says here, will be one of those players.
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