Earlier yesterday, ESPN’s Jason Sobel had this little tidbit to say over Twitter:
@jasonsobel: Better with age? In her first start as a twenty-something, Michelle Wie is contending for her first win. Nice storyline for the new commish.
While pointing out that neither Wie nor Whan directly impact one or the other and both are mutually exclusive, Sobel responded to me stating that while he agreed, he still believes Wie’s first win on Tour is a good headline for Whan’s first season. Now, at the time I was pretty confused as to why this connection was even the little bit relevant (hard to believe from me, I know), but after taking some time to consider the possibilities of a more-confident Wie for the LPGA, things began to make much more sense.
Consider the following:
When a little man named Tiger broke onto the PGA Tour, fandom was possibly at an all-time low for the sport… especially among the youth of the world. Baseball was still considered America’s Pasttime (despite football quickly closing in), basketball had a few shining stars, and golf was an afterthought on the weekend for television viewers. However, once Tiger started winning… and winning… and winning, the professional golfing world was never the same again.
Now imagine if the same thing can happen for the females of the sport via the possibility of an LPGA shake-up at the hands of Michelle Wie (who, coincidentally is also sponsored by Nike).
Sure, Americans are selfish. We always want to be the center of attention, and we almost always want to lay claim to the greatest athletes on the planet (even if another young lady has been making quite some noise on the LPGA for years now… and even hosted the tournament Wie won). Does American women’s golf need a new sweetheart from Hawaii?
Or, does Mikey Whan just need a superstar of his own?