KOCHI, Japan - Depressed and disheartened after she missed the cut for the 11th time in 12 professional men's events, after a nervous 80 left her at 17-over par at the Casio World Open, Michelle Wie got a little something to cheer her up: induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
"This is, like, cool and stuff," said Wie. "I mean I was like thinking it would be like great to win something or something and now I get to be in this Hall of Fame thingy. Neat."
Recent changes in the World Golf Hall of Fame qualifications for induction made Wie's quick entrance possible.
The new World Golf Hall of Fame qualification procedure now measures what it should measure - fame, said Jack Peter, senior vice president and chief operating officer of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
"While there are lots of abstract measures of fame, we have chosen to keep our quantitative focus, so we measure fame in column inches and broadcast seconds. Our formula is straightforward: it is the total of column inches times imprints for print media, seconds times listeners for radio, half-seconds times viewers for television with a double bonus for sweeps month broadcasts, and, of course, one point for each endorsement dollar," said Peter.
"With this formula, Michelle Wie is by far the most famous golfer in the world. So what if Annika Sorenstam won five consecutive LPGA Player of the Year Awards? She didn't get half the press in those five years that Michelle got in a day for missing the cut and finishing next-to-last after shooting 17 over in two rounds at the Casio World Open," said Peter.
From 1999 until this year, the automatic qualification criteria for LPGA members to the World Golf Hall of Fame were strictly mechanical measures of on-course success. They were having at least 10 starts in each of 10 years on the tour; either winning or having been awarded a major championship, the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average or the Rolex Player of the Year Award; and having accumulated 27 points, which are acquired as follows: two points for each major championship win, and one point for other LPGA tournament wins, for each Vare Trophy and for each Player of the Year award.
Players inducted under these criteria are now on the Roster of Success (elsewhere called the List of Accomplishment) which acknowledges what players do on the field of play but not what they do for the sport more generally.
"No matter what happens in the future, Michelle Wie's name will always be at top of the list, as the first true World Golf Hall of Fame inductee," said Peter.
Speaking of her Casio World Open result, Wie said, "It was pretty tragic, that's how I'd describe it."
And even at her young age of 17 Wie has experienced lots of tragedy. She carded a double-bogey five at the short 11th, dropped three more shots on the back nine and finished without a birdie in 36 holes.
Wie's Japanese nightmare followed her meltdown in her last two PGA events, at the 84 Lumber Classic in September when she carded a 77 and an 81 at Mystic Rock. She has missed the cut for the 11 times out the 12 men's pro events she has entered.
Even more tragically, Wie has never won an LPGA event.
Copyright 2006 Douglas Salguod