#57 Michelle Wie

Well, on this Independence Day I think SSOMG will steer clear of any stories having to do with our forefathers to avoid obvious missteps and other politically incorrect interpretations. 

Today let’s celebrate the independence of women over the last many decades and tell a story about a very independent and incredibly gifted and talented 4 year old girl who became one of sports icons…Michelle Wie.  Yep, she starting playing golf at the age of 4, and probably pretty seriously.  In 2000, at the age of 10 she became the youngest player ever to qualify for the US Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship.  In 2002, she won the Hawaii State Open Women’s Division by thirteen shots. She also became the youngest player to qualify for an LPGA event, the Takefuji Classic held in Wie’s home state of Hawaii.  In June 2003, Wie won the Women’s Amateur Public Links tournament, becoming the youngest person ever, male or female, to win a USGA adult event. Later that summer, she made the cut at the US Women’s open when she was still just 13, the youngest player ever to do so.

On October 5, 2005, a week before her 16th birthday, Wie announced that she was turning professional. She signed sponsorship contracts with Nike and Sony reportedly worth more than $10 million per year.

You may have missed that…..so I will repeat….a week before her 16th birthday!

So fast forward to the year 2020…Michelle, like so many child stars has had a challenging go of it.  She has shown some of her great promise by winning the US Women’s Open, and has had other wins and great finishes along the way.  Just this year Michelle gave birth to a daughter Makenna, and look out.  Her husband, Jonnie West is the son of Hall of Famer Jerry West, one of the greatest stars of the NBA.  Little Makenna could be one of the biggest stars in golf and/ or basketball in the next generation.

Wow, what a story of a great female athlete.  Michelle’s story got me to wondering what it would be like to be the father of such a phenomenal sports star.  So, I decided to go looking for any mention of my children’s athletic exploits on the internet.  Here is the only one I could find:

Carlsbad won its pool after a 5-5 tie with Marina. Marina’s Cara Chlebicki had three goals and seven steals for the Vikings (4-3-1), who led, 5-4, until Jamie Relth scored her second goal with one minute remaining for Carlsbad, the top-ranked team in San Diego. Freshman Bree Valbuena had 10 saves and stopped a four-meter penalty shot for Marina. Carlsbad advanced to today’s championship pool because of its 9-6 victory over Palos Verdes Peninsula. Marina defeated Peninsula, 6-4.

Ok, no mention of a $10 million dollar contract, and no tie-in to winning the US Open, but hey, something to be proud of.

SSOMG grew up in an era where there were no girl’s sports teams; no softball leagues, no soccer clubs, no girl’s water polo.  Things have changed a lot in the last 67 years, and I must say to everyone’s benefit.  The growth and independence of women’s sports has been somewhat evolutionary, but certainly revolutionary.  SSOMG is happy he was around to be a part of new independence and cheers on the great women athletes this generation has produced. 

Go Michelle, you are only 30 and we look forward to seeing you back on the golf course.  Keep inspiring those of this generation and McKenna’s generation to come.  Happy 4th of July!

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