Michelle Wie ja golfin suuri tulevaisuus

Avokatsomossa sunnuntai jatkuu nuorten urheilijoiden parissa, kun tennis ja Maria Sharapova saavat jatkoa golfista ja Michelle Wiestä.

Michelle Wie on 14-vuotias hawajilainen golffari, jonka arvon lajille SporsBiz-kolumnisti Chris Isidore arvioi olevan jopa Tiger Woodsiakin suurempi: ”Wie could be bigger than Tiger in dollar impact”. Jos hänestä tulee naispuolinen vastine Tiger Woodsille, hän saattaa houkutella golfin pariin enemmän naisia (ja heidän rahojaan). Golf-markkinan kasvumahdollisuudet uskotaankin olevan nimenomaan naisissa.

She’s become the type of media sensation that few in sports ever become. That positions her to have an even greater economic impact on golf than any other player — including Woods.

Only about 25 percent of golfers currently are women, according to market research of the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. A positive example like Wie could push that number up.

”If there’s a growth opportunity in golf, it rests primarily on the women’s side of the game,” said Ty Votaw, the LPGA commissioner. A charismatic prodigy like Wie ”will ultimately have an impact on future participation rates among young women.”

Wie on 14-vuotias, kuten jalkapallon puolella vastaavanlaista huomiota herättävä Freddy Adukin. Mitähän tällaiset nuoret — vai ihanko lapset? — ajattelevat julkisuuden mukanaan tuomista ilmiöistä. Wieltä esimerkiksi kysyttiin Yhdysvaltain naisten avointen yhteydessä, mitä mieltä hän on korealaisen panttivangin kaulan katkaisemisesta:

The question came suddenly. Michelle Wie had already handled every post-round inquiry from the American press about her exasperating double bogey on 16 and her tricky punch from the poison ivy on 14. Then a reporter from the Los Angeles-based Korean Daily News hit her with a curveball.

The reporter, Michael Won, asked the 14-year-old phenom if she had any reaction to the beheading of South Korean hostage Kim Sun Il.

Wie blanched. Her perpetual press conference smile vanished. Her eyes widened in disbelief and sorrow. It was as if the reporter had just informed her about the incident.

Jutussa kirjoittaja Eric Adelson kertoo lisää Wie-ilmiöstä:

[W]e ask too much. We ask her to be fully mature, like a professional, and wide-eyed, like a child. We are both smitten when she cries after a loss, and repulsed by her inability to contain her emotions. We want her to compete like a lion on the course, but graciously refuse an exemption from the USGA. She is a reflection of a society’s ideals for its children as well as of people’s insecurities that their own kids don’t measure up.

Omituiseen kysymykseen johdatti The Sports Frog.