Sal Johnson lays it all out. Basically, she doesn’t have any–assuming she thinks things through rationally. Although let’s face it. It’s pretty clear that the real people calling the shots here are her parents (or specifically her father, B.J.), so perhaps the pleas should be directed towards them: Forget these sponsors exemptions. Forget playing the PGA Tour or random Asian Tour events. Focus solely on women’s golf. Go through Q School. And in the meantime, get a world class education at Stanford and have fun just growing as a young woman.
Johnson also (correctly) surmises that [commissioner] Carolyn Bivens and the LPGA have quite a vested interest in what Wie/the Wie’s decide.
No matter what, the LPGA could really use a figure like Wie. The Tour has a lot of dark clouds in the horizon, first in tournaments not being able to get sponsors, thus some are leaving the LPGA. On top of that it’s star base is also leaving, first with Annika Sorenstam retiring in a couple of months. The second is Lorena Ochoa, we hear that she is madly in love with a man and has hinted that marriage and a family will be in her future, look for her to possibly be gone in three to five years. That leaves players like Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr and Natalie Gulbis heading up the marquee list. Now Creamer has won three times this year, but the other two have struggled.
Another problem that is hurting the LPGA is winners from Asia that don’t have the appeal value that Michelle Wie has because of language barriers. Since the first of June, Asian’s have won seven of the ten events and this doesn’t help drive the LPGA bus in getting not only more fans interested but new sponsors and television networks. With the popularity of Wie, if she could get on tour and have success it would really help drive the LPGA in the same manner that Tiger Woods drove the PGA Tour in 1997. Just look at how much money the Tour earned in the Tiger era, network deals were fat and purses grew at the same time.
The minor difference between the pre-Tiger era and the current LPGA environment, however, is that the PGA Tour was never in the kind of dire financial straits that the LPGA currently finds itself. Simply put, the LPGA may need someone of Wie’s stature around if it hopes to maintain any form of relevance in the sports world, let alone “drive” the Tour in anywhere near the same manner that Woods did for the PGA.