Lessons Learned, Choices Made

By Gary Norris Gray
Updated: March 5, 2009

Yes, I was burned but I call it a lesson learned

Mistake overturned so I called it a lesson learned

My soul has returned so I call it a lesson learned

Another lesson learned

— Alicia Keys

CALIFORNIA — Michelle Seong Mi Wie has learned a lesson about working hard, life, and the game of golf. She is following in her mother’s footsteps; Mrs. Wie won the South Korean Amateur golf championship in 1985 when Michelle was only three years old and she carried her own pint size clubs across the fairways.

Michelle has learned that you have to make your own choices and stand by them. She has learned that she has to be her own woman and make her own decisions. And finally, Michelle has learned that she had to release her father (Byoung-Wook Wie) from being her leading golf advisor.

Michelle is now playing the game of golf that she loved as a child. Golf fans are very pleased with this decision. Many golf experts have compared her to Tiger Woods and some have called her the female Tiger.

But she still has to prove that she can stand the pressure playing professional golf.

Ms. Wie now has a mountain to climb and fences to mend. She’s played five times in the all male Professional Golfing Association, gaining exemptions. Many athletes on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) resented the fact that Wie had not proven herself on the Women’s Tour and did not want her to play on the Men’s tour.

Many women golfers called the Wie Golfing Tour, a dog and pony show and stated it was not good for the ladies game. This foolish decision can be traced back to Michelle’s father and his wanting the name WIE in the sports headlines.

Michelle is still paying the price for this selfish choice. Some parents of professional children live vicariously through their offspring. This is a classic case. Maybe Byoung-Wook should have taken lessons from Tiger’s father, who taught him the game of golf but would let Tiger progress at his own pace; Michelle was never given this chance.

Michelle disqualified herself from many LPGA tournaments with suspected wrist injuries and controversy. She was the youngest player to ever gain a qualifying score for Women’s Amateur Championship at the age of 10.

At the age 12 she was the first ever to qualify for a LPGA tournament in Hawaii, the Takefuji Classic where she missed the cut by two stokes. It was at this tournament many golf professionals took a look at Wie’s golfing style.

Many professional golf fans still want Ms. Wie to succeed and make the game a better sport. Four years ago even this writer was a fan of very young Ms. Wie (16 years old), fascinated by her long fluent swing and her long arms.

Just as many were interested in South Korean, Se Ri Pak, Player of the Year in 1998. This was the beginning of the South Korean invasion in the LPGA Tour.

Ms. Wie gained her first professional lesson learned by watching Ms Pak’s quiet mental toughness on the fairways. Wie understood her first lesson and was able to move on her second.

As a 20 year old, Michelle learned humility at Q school in 2009. All of her amateur victories meant nothing to the Q school administrators. Wie had to start over again.

Attending Stanford University 2007-09 and being around individuals her own age seemed to have changed her sometimes difficult, contemptuous, hot and cold personality.

This was something her father should have taught her when she was a child.

Tiger Woods understood this completely because his father taught him to always respect that opponent and never fear anyone. This year Wie gained her LPGA Card to play as a profession.

Maybe and hopefully this will put her on the road to recovery.

She has to start at the beginning on the Ladies Tour. One of her goals is to gain the respect of the players and to prove the same fairways with the other LPGA members. That will be hard because people do not forget. Players carry grudges for a long time

Michelle’s third and final lesson. Last week she placed 2nd in the SBC Classic at Turtle Bay in Hawaii. Wie had the lead for most of the tournament then bogeyed in the 16th hole, giving the lead to Angela Stanford, who won by three stokes.

This tournament showed the world that Michelle Wie is back on the right track and should be a winner in the LPGA very soon.

Yes Michelle Seong Mi Wie. It’s alright….. it’s alright …. It’s alright…