Dont Judge Wie By Her Numbers

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Michelle Wie opened Thursday at the Sony Open in Hawaii with a 5-over par 75. Naysayers ' theres your ammunition if you so desire. I sing a different tune about the Sony, however. Wies 75 in windy conditions was more impressive than last years Thursday 72 when the wind took a personal day and called in sick.
 
Frustrated that Wie tees it up with the men in the first place? Michelle Wie should not be the focus of your frustration. Dont blame her for the attention shes received this week. And dont attack the PGA Tour for her presence at the Sony Open in Hawaii. The tournament itself has the opportunity (within tour guidelines) to offer its limited exemptions to players of its choice.
 
Last year, Wie fired a Friday round of 68 at the Sony, missed the cut by a single shot, beating a catamaran-full of seasoned PGA Tour professionals along the way and was still the target of more than her fair share of criticismmisdirected criticism, in my opinion.
 
Last year, Wie proved herself a worthy competitor and a great draw at the gate for a tournament that until recently had really struggled for an identity. Bottom line, she proved that she was worth the risk.
 
This week, shes stealing more headlines and receiving even more accolades. David Toms, winner of a PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club, is as intrigued as anyone about the weeks obvious storylines.
 
To me, the two stories are: Can Ernie win three in a row? And Michelle Wie, how is she going to play? ... I think its good for this golf tournament.
 
Michelle Wie is more than just good for this golf tournament. Shes good for golf. Shes good for girls who aspire to play golf. Shes good for girls who dont aspire to play golf.
 
Michelle is good for moms and shes also good for dads. As a father of three myself (two girls included), Michelle Wie gives me a weeks worth of show and tell. Find something you enjoy, practice hard at something you enjoy and enjoy the benefits of working hard at something. If youre a believer in the benefits of a role model ' she fits. If youre simply looking for a model young citizen ' shes more than qualified.
 
Now 15 years old, Michelle Wie will soon have to make official decisions on college and perhaps even professional golf. She told us as much last week at Kapalua where she played in the pro-am at the Mercedes Championships. While not yet the perfect sound bite, her innocence is still charming. And her maturity grows on everyone.
 
Its amazing what she is doing ' a 15-year-old girl playing in a PGA Tour event, two-time defending champ Ernie Els said. Shes doing a hell of a job, and she believes she can play with us, which is great. I think from last year to this year, I could see her developing as a person now.
 
Ernies right. And I find it comforting that the biggest names in the game are paying attention and paying compliments.
 
The fact that last years 68 was the lowest round posted by a woman in a mens PGA Tour event speaks volumes about her ability in the game.
 
But dont judge Wie by her scores this week. Whether she shoots 75, 68 or 88, shes already scored big. And so, too, has golf. We are lucky to have Wie to watch, emulate and talk about. Shes got the right gifts, and because of that, so to do we.
 
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann