Everyone Loves Michelle Wie -- Except Me

A native Hawaiian sports junkie hates on the LeBron James of women's golf.

May 1, 2006

Illustrator Phil Cho

Aloha! Here in Hawaii, we’ve got killer surf breaks, the Lost cast, Spam musubi and hometown golf phenom Michelle Wie. The first three make me salivate, but, ey, I’ll say something no one else will: I don’t like that stuck-up teen, Michelle Wie. I know I’m supposed to have the Aloha Spirit and all. No one here talks stink about locals; we support each other no matter what (think Jasmine Trias in American Idol Season Three). But even if honey girl is the youngest (16) and most talented female golf pro in the world (ranked No. 2 at press time), I refuse to be a fan.

People in Hawaii (and the world) love Michelle blindly. They want to catch a glimpse of her or get an autograph just to have a piece of her. Call me crazy, but what has she done to deserve it? Golf is about winning. And since Michelle turned pro in 2005, she’s had a disqualification (in her first tourney) and a 6th place finish. The last tournament she won? The U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links in 2003. If I were her dad, BJ Wie, she’d be grounded.

Apparently she has been winning the PR game. I’m happy that she decided to donate a big chunk of money (tax break!) to Katrina relief efforts (maybe her favorite rapper is Juvenile?), but what about us? Hawaii could use money too, whether it’s our own disaster relief (Oahu’s North Shore flooding in March) or sports education programs for our keiki. But I guess donating money locally wouldn’t make it on ESPN’s SportsCenter.

The least she could do is help out the poor girls of Punahou high school, who didn’t even compete as a team at States in 2005. Big Wie on campus can go to the snack bar and gossip with her classmates, but she doesn’t play with them. Hey, she could have developed her mental game by crushing pitiful above-average kids her age! And she might have even learned the rules of the game and avoided the ugly DQ that marred her pro debut.

Even though she didn’t play for her high school team, Michelle did have time to be the chairperson of the putt-putt booth at the Punahou Carnival last year. I wonder if she got in some practice? The carnival raised over $1.5 million for the school. But that’s far from the dough Michelle got last year when she turned pro and cashed in for a reported $10 million a year from sponsors.

Dad and his golf buddies say it made economic sense and are cheering her on, but I just wish people would tell it like it is: She’s got the money, so forget about the game. She’s a celebrity now. People talk about the earrings she picked up at Ala Moana Center mall instead the birdie she picked up on the front nine. I just wish she was more about golf and more about Hawaii. That’s something that I could applaud and look up to. But I guess as a 5’2” local, I don’t have much choice. She’s one of those tall Asians. missing image file

Michelle Hater changes her name often to avoid being kicked off the island.

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