“Michelle v The Men” was fun for a while but the novelty has worn off and there are definite danger signs that golfing phenomenon Michelle Wie could suffer long-term harm to her career if she keeps running headlong into a PGA brick wall.

We’re talking about the 16-year-old Hawaiian golfer’s latest attempt to take on the men, this time at a PGA tour stop in Pennsylvania. Wie shot a second round 81 to be dead last, at 14-over 158. She didn’t so much miss the cut as fail to be in the same postcode as the cut.

Those watching were a long way from impressed, with one observer telling the press: “She’s shorter (off the tee) than probably everyone out here except perhaps Corey Pavin, and she can’t putt.”

Wie has vowed to continue but surely this is when a teenager needs good advice from those allegedly guiding her career?

We don’t happen to believe for one minute that the LPGA tour is a second tier competition, compared to the men’s version. It’s hard to think of the likes of Karrie Webb and Annika Sorenstam as anything but tough, professional golfers, so there would be no shame in Wie actually competing against these women and maybe winning a tournament or two before returning to her goal of competing in the men’s Masters.

This is not even about gender. As golfer Scott Verplank said after her latest disastrous outing:

I’m sure there are some very fine 16-year-old boys who can play, but I think it would be awful hard for them to come out here and make much of a scratch.

If I was her adviser, I’d tell her to go kick all the ladies’ tails around for about four years and then if she wants to try again when she’s 20 or 21, and grown up more and maybe a better player, come on back. She’s certainly not scaring anybody around here.

Exactly. Maybe she should even talk to Australia’s one-time wunderkind golfer, Aaron Baddeley. He didn’t attempt to climb the PGA mountain until he had a couple of precocious Australian Open victories under his belt and even then has had to endure years of unglamorous hard yards to make a mark on the tour.

Wie needs to take a deep breath, learn her trade and guard against burning out, pushing too hard, too fast. It would be a great shame if she was allowed by her alleged advisers to fall out of the sport.

Peter Fray

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