A Wie little suggestion

By By Tony Pizza

By Tony Pizza

If your contentious juices begin to flow at the mere mention of male and female equality, then count to 10, take a deep breath and relax.

I could make the argument that if Hunter Mahan, No. 126 on the current PGA money list, were allowed to play with the women, he would be in the top 10 on the LPGA and subsequently make more money, but I won’t. I will, however, make the argument that Michelle Wie has no business playing on the PGA Tour, and it has nothing to do with men being better athletes than women.

Not even the Kansas City Royals would call up a spectacular Single-A pitcher to the major leagues if he didn’t prove himself first at the AA or AAA levels. So why is Wie allowed to skip over a similar competitive progression by playing golf with the “Big Boys” before she has won against the “Big Girls?”

It is perpetually disappointing every time she gets a sponsor’s exception to a PGA tournament.

Wie is like a bad car accident on the freeway. Everyone gets so mad that there is a wreck distracting everyone as they pass the accident, but when your car finally reaches the accident, you can’t help but put your head on a swivel. You want to take your eyes off the carnage, but you’re just too interested in what is going on.

Same thing with Wie-she has never been close to the top of the leaderboard, but every few minutes the viewers get congested with another look in on her 10-over-par performance. We want to look away, but we just can’t stop looking at the fascinating carnage.

Michelle Wie has the distance off the tee (at 16 years old she can drive the ball more than 300 yards), and she has shown decent iron play-especially in her short irons-to give herself adequate birdie opportunities when she plays in PGA tournaments. But she is not skilled or consistent enough to even make a splash at the tournaments she has played.

If tournament directors and sponsors are going to just put anyone into tournaments, they should give some serious thought to putting Wie in a tournament on the Champions Tour: She could out-drive most the 50-and-older men; and imagine if Wie was in contention on the few holes on Sunday with the likes of Jack Nicholas or Greg Norman-the tension would be excruciating.

When Wie was given a sponsor’s exception to last year’s John Deere Classic, it was only to raise TV ratings and ticket sales to an ordinarily debilitated PGA event. It also successfully took away a spot from one of the men trying to avoid another trip to one of the most grueling schools in the world.

If Wie wants to play on the PGA Tour, let her earn her card like every other guy on tour. I’m sure Wie has heard of the way, but in case she hasn’t, it’s called Q-School. Every single player, just like Hunter Mahan, who isn’t on the PGA Top-125 money list at year’s end doesn’t get a full PGA golf card for the next year. That individual then must return to Q-School and compete against more than 1,200 golfers for one of 30 coveted PGA cards guaranteed for just one year. Paying no attention to gender, nobody could argue Wie’s place on the PGA tour if she made it through Q-School.

Wie is on the right path to proving that she deserves to play in the U.S. Open by qualifying. There is no doubt she possesses the potential to be an outstanding golfer, but let her prove that she belongs on the PGA like every other golfer.

If Wie can qualify for the PGA Tour, then I am all for her. In that case, she would be competing with the best in the business because she would have proved she is one of the best golfers on the tour, and not just because she is good for business.