Here are mine in the form of 11 questions and 11 answers regarding the best 15-year-old female golfer on the planet who, unless something very strange happens between now and Wednesday, will announce Oct. 5 in Hawaii that she is turning professional.
1: IS MICHELLE WIE DOING THE RIGHT THING?
A: Yes. The white heat from the bonfire of questions that were only going to increase in volume was going to get hotter still. By turning professional, Wie and her family can get back to focusing on what brought her to our attention in the first place: Her golf game. Plus, the estimated $10 million she will sign for in endorsement monies, many experts believe, will never be higher than it is right now.
2: HOW GOOD IS MICHELLE WIE?
A: Not as good right now as she will be in five years. But good enough, right now, to win majors on the LPGA and good enough, right now, to make occasional cuts on the PGA Tour.
3: HOW GOOD CAN SHE BE?
A: Before all is said, and done I believe Michelle Wie will win at least 10 LPGA majors and probably closer to 20 (a lot depends on how much womens golf she plays.) I also think she can become good enough to earn her card on the PGA Tour.
4. WILL MICHELLE WIE EVER PLAY IN THE MASTERS?
A: Not, it is now obvious, as an amateur. Nothing she does in womens golf will get her an invite to Augustas rite of spring, either. That leaves the PGA Tour. It will be exceedingly difficult. But she is exceedingly extraordinary. Right now I will leave it at never-say-never. But its a long shot.
5. WILL MICHELLE WIE EVER WIN A PGA TOUR EVENT?
A: I believe she will finish in the top 10 more than once in a PGA Tour event before she is finished playing. If, on any of those occasions, she makes every putt she looks at on the back nine Sunday, yes, she can win a PGA Tour event.
6. BUT WILL SHE?
A: I cant bring myself to say yes. But that doesnt mean I wont be rooting for the story. And a Wie win on the PGA Tour would be a cover-of-Newsweek-and-Time Magazine type story.
7. WILL MICHELLE WIE ATTEND STANFORD?
A: We will find out more about this at the Wednesday press conference. But I believe the answer is, yes. My hope is, the answer is yes. This is something she says she wants and she ought to be able have the chance.
8. WILL SIGNING WITH THE WILLIAM MORRIS AGENCY TURN OUT TO BE A GOOD MOVE?
A: Much will depend on how good the sports marketing people recently hired by Morris turn out to be. It would have been less risky for Wie to sign up with powerful and experienced golf uber agency, IMG. But the Wie family has been thinking outside the norm for years now.
9. WILL MICHELLE WIE BURN OUT?
A: You hope she doesnt. And you find it easy to say you wont be surprised if she does. But I think Wie, even at the tender age of 15, is intelligent, assertive, perceptive and grounded enough to take a few years off if the competitive thing makes her toasty. She may marry. She may bear children one day. But I dont think she will ever divorce golf and I dont think golf will ever turn out to be a chore for her.
10. WHAT WILL MICHELLE WIES SCHEDULE LOOK LIKE IN 2006?
A: It will be a boutique schedule of LPGA and PGA Tour events into which she will gain entry through sponsors exemptions. She can play in up to eight LPGA events without being a member and seven PGA Tour events without having her card in that association. Not being a member, by the way, means she doesnt have to get releases to play internationally whenever the offer or opportunity is too good to refuse.
11. WHAT KIND OF APPEARANCE FEE MONEY CAN MICHELLE WIE COMMAND IN ASIA RIGHT NOW?
A: I am told by a veteran LPGA player who knows, that Wie is worth a million dollars per tournament at the moment in Asia. Thats a staggering amount of money. But the fact is, Wie, with her Asian extraction, is more of curiosity right now in places like Seoul and Tokyo than she is in New York or Chicago.
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