Wie 1-Up For Now


I've often wondered what Michelle Wie would be doing right now if perhaps Jack Nicklaus and Steffi Graf were her parents and thus helping her in choosing her path in life.
And thats what it is, isnt it? Its a path in life, not just golf.
Michelle Wie
Will Michelle Wie be gaining or losing by turning professional?
By now youve read the reports or heard the reports of Michelle Wies impending leap into the ranks of professional golf ' as a professional.
Wie turning pro before her 16th birthday, Oct. 11th, now seems a lock. And with the jump will come millions. Some are estimating a first-year cash haul of about $10 million. Good for her.
Some of you have written, saying that her parents, specifically dad B.J., whos been the most visible, are pushing her too hard, too fast.
She hasnt won anything, youve said.
Theyre promoting their own financial interests, youve maintained.
Nicklaus and Graf are two of the greatest champions in any sport. Each has won major titles, each has played with class and honor and dignity. Would they be telling their 15-year-old daughter - who couldnt even drive to meet with her agent-to-be William Morris - to sign away her life so soon?
Would they be telling their child to lose the innocence and gain the incredible? Would they tell her to go get after it or let it come to you?
Who knows what theyd say?
Im a father of three under the age of 9, including two daughters. For my money ' and Im not hauling in $10 million this year ' theres nothing wrong with Michelle calling it a career as an amateur and going pro.
Ive met B.J. Wie on a few occasions. Weve had the Wies to our set on the 'Sprint Post Game.' Ive interviewed Michelle on a handful of occasions. I see them as a very grounded family. And I see no reason in telling them to hold back the inevitable.
I said theres nothing wrong with Michelle turning professional at 15 or 16, depending on the official date.
For my money, I wouldnt be advising my daughter to do the same thing. To me, theres too much to miss.
By all accounts, Wie plans to bank the money and still go to college at Stanford while playing a schedule to her liking using special exemptions at her disposal.
But college, from what I recall, is meant to be a full-time thing. Full focus on the books, full focus on the experience of being a college student and an adult-in-the-making. For me, college was far too great an experience to give up so quickly.
Id tell my daughter that no amount of money can make up for a four-year lesson in learning.
Is there a chance that she could lose her game in four years? Sure. Is there a chance shed lose her appeal among the masses? Sure. Is this the best chance to capitalize on $10 million? Perhaps.
Matt Kuchar spent four years at Georgia Tech and probably lost out on a big payday with endorsers running toward that megawatt smile and U.S. Amateur game. But remember, Kuchar graduated and eventually made it on the PGA Tour ' and won a tournament.
The Honda Classic was there for Kuchar to win at 18 and it was still there to win as a fresh-faced PGA Tour pro in 2002.
Its tough to turn down the money for the unknown. I understand why some cant do it. And I cant and wont fault Wie for doing the same. Her choice, her life.
Paula Creamer didnt go to college. She barely wore the high-school graduation gown before turning golf on its ears at the Solheim Cup. Nobodys criticizing or questioning her.
Can you go back to college later to get the degree? Sure. But I just cant see it being the same as a 30-year-old as it is as an 18-year-old.
What would Nicklaus and Graf say?
Right now, Womens Public Links aside, Michelle Wie hasnt amassed a resume full of victories. However, shes soon to amass a bank account most of us could only dream of.
The bank account and endorsement deals with Nike and others have guaranteed her something only Tiger Woods can really relate to.
Her financial future is set. In that regard, Wie is 1-up on everyone else. But when the tournament career is over, and the golf isnt the most important thing, does she feel 1-down?
Her choice to make. Her life to live. I firmly believe there is no wrong answer, but there is a right to wonder about what youd do if you had an impact.
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann