July 27, 2009

Will We See Wie In The Solheim Cup? We Should.

Three weeks from now, the 11th Solheim Cup gears up in Sugar Grove Illinois, near Naperville, a Chicagoland suburb. The top of the US side is pretty much set, and the team will be well-favored going into the matches on friendly soil in the midwest.

Question is, will Michelle Wie be a part of her first Solheim Cup team?

US Captain Beth Daniel has been non-committal regarding her Captain's Choices for the team, telling the Honolulu Advertiser that "Michelle Wie's a possibility for sure. She's been playing well. She's been showing me something ... I've said all along she has to move up in the points a little bit to be considered, but if you look at her stats and how she's playing, she's playing as good as anybody. She's on my radar screen, but it's so up in the air."

Current rankings for the US side are:
 Rank   Player                    Points

1 Paula Creamer 769.5
2 Cristie Kerr 693.5
3 Angela Stanford 573.0
4 Nicole Castrale 314.0
5 Brittany Lang 301.5
6 Morgan Pressel 277.0
7 Kristy McPherson 276.0
8 Christina Kim 255.0
9 Brittany Lincicome 250.0
10 Natalie Gulbis 201.0
11 Laura Diaz 177.0
12 Stacy Prammanasudh 170.0
13 Pat Hurst 164.0
14 Juli Inkster 152.0
15 Jane Park 141.0
16 Michelle Wie 133.5
One thing Daniel should consider is that Wie is a steady and reliable performer in her rookie year, even if she has yet to claim a victory. She is 11 for 11 in cuts made, And she has as many top-10 finishes (five) as the the five players immediately ahead of her (Laura Diaz, Stacy Prammanasudh, Pat Hurst, Juli Inkster and Jane Park) combined. Wie is also ranked 11 in scoring average, ahead of the players in front of her in the standings.

Inkster is probably a lock to be a Captain's pick. She is nearing the end of her career as a strong competitor and her stated goal for this year is to play in one more Solheim Cup. Inkster is undoubtedly a deserving player, given her record and accomplishments, so it's easy to see that Beth Daniel will be making a call to her soon -- if she hasn't quietly done so already -- to tell her some good news.

That leaves Laura Diaz, Stacy Prammanasudh, Pat Hurst, and Jane Park. All are deserving players, especially Hurst, but none can match Michelle Wie's on-course play, as is shown above. Wie is the better player, and all of the important indicators say so.

There is one other consideration that none bring to the table as well: Q-ratings. The LPGA has been running on stealth mode for some time now, save for when Michelle Wie is playing well and in contention. Love or hate the young Hawaiian, she brings viewers to a tour quite frankly in dire straits, and Daniels picking her to be a part of the women's version of the Ryder Cup would bring desperately needed viewers. That would surely be cause for good cheer at LPGA headquarters and also in the executive suites at Golf Channel down I-4 in Orlando.

Bottom line: Wie deserves the berth, she's earned it. Not only that, the LPGA needs her there as well. While it would be tough on the four competitors left out, one thing that they should understand is that putting Michelle Wie on the US team is actually better for them in the long run, because when Michelle is on television, she's actually helping guarantee that the LPGA has a viable future. Not only that, but she's outplayed them, and her being there would not be a nod to her fame, but one towards her golf.


  1. Solheim points are accrued on a two year cycle. Michelle has had half the time to get points than those above her on the list. Her presence this high on the list justifies her selection.

  2. I'm still waiting on a decent reason that the LPGA "NEEDS" her. Marketing a tour on her is building a house on the sand - at least right now.

    If she earns her spot - I'm all for her - but she has gotten by for 6 years on cuteness, a pretty (but inconsistent) swing, and a media willing to use her as an easy story.


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