An Adults Take on a 15-Year-Olds World


We know Michelle Wie only as that 15-year-old Hawaiian kid who excels at golf. We look at her and her coy manner of dancing around questions regarding when she will turn pro, and we say, Of course she wont go to college. Who does she think she is kidding?
Im not so sure.

Michelle tees it up with the men this week in the Sony Open. Of course, she played last year when she was just 14 and was on the verge of making the cut, missing by a single shot. But dont try to equate that with anything. She certainly isnt doing this for any reason except its what she wants to do, at this time in her life.
I'm not out here to prove anything, she said this week, negating the opinions of a whole lot of people twice or three times her age who think they have her all figured out.
I'm just having so much fun. I'm not here to say, Oh, we belong here. I'm not here to make a statement. You know, I'm just here to do stuff that no one has tried before, and it's fun.
Incidentally, count me as one of those who considered her turning pro as fore-ordained. But now Im not so sure. Why is Michelle taking all those high school courses if she didnt plan on using them someday? And she is such a brainy kid. The last semester she made all As except for a B in English. Shes taking such toughies as Algebra II, Japanese, conceptual physics, foundation art,

Conceptual physics? Foundation art? Sorry, but I dont even know what those are.
She speaks Korean, the language of her ancestors. Shes already studied the Chinese language for a couple of years and plans to take it again next year, as well as continuing her Japanese. No word yet on whether she can speak pig-Latin, but that is the only other language that most of us speak.
And conceptual physics ' for a kid still a long way from finishing high school! And, she is mesmerized by it. She actually enjoys it.
We had a chapter on power and I thought that was pretty cool, said Michelle, discussing her conceptual physics class. There's always an example of golf - the teacher is always making fun of me, but it's fun, I like it. You know, I like it because you can actually see it happen even in real life and that's really exciting.
And yet, the lure of professional golf is indeed powerful. The money that is out there ' easily a million dollars, maybe two or three in endorsements alone is incredible. Her parents are doing OK in the financial department ' he is a professor at the University of Hawaii ' but how do you turn your back on that kind of money?
Michelle concedes the obvious ' that she is weighing a prodigious amount of money in her future, and she is honest enough to say the world might lose an aspiring young physicist to the cha-ching of professional golf. But the outcome is far from certain at this stage of her young life.
I don't know yet, she says with sincerity. I mean, I don't know. There's a lot of possibilities, but I'm not real really sure yet.
Of course, she may turn pro and go to college at the same time. That has never been done before on the LPGA Tour. But everyone is trying to push her in the direction of a pro career, and Michelle insists that she hasnt yet made up her mind.
I always wanted to be known as someone who did crazy stuff, she said. I always wanted to be known as doing stuff that no one ever thought of.
I just want to push myself to the limit. I want to be known as people that changed the world and people that change how people think.
You think that isnt a different kind of young person? Be it as a scientist, a linguistics expert ' or a professional golfer ' Michelle Wie has unbelievably high aspirations. And yes, one of those aspirations is to play full-time against the men on the PGA Tour. It may be totally unachievable, but Wie can dream it. And whats wrong with having great dreams?
You know, just think (of something that never) has happened before, and maybe I'll try it, she said. I don't know, I like to do exciting things. I never wanted to do ordinary things.

Of course, there are still the totally mundane things about everyday life with which she must cope. Like, for example, learning to drive.
I'm going to learn how to drive in May, I think. Yeah, better stay off the road when I drive!
Its all from the mind of - what? ' a 15-year-old? Something tells me there is greatness lurking. And, believe it or not, it may not be in golf.
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