Michelle Wie is no longer inspiring. She's becoming irritating. Danica Patrick? She's long past irritating. She's beginning to outright tick me off.
Does all of this make me a sexist? Fine. Better to be called a sexist than an enabler of two increasingly dislikeable sideshow athletes. In Wie's case, some of this angst should be directed at her parents and agent and anyone else advising her, because it's depressing and even difficult to imagine that at 16 she can be as cold-hearted as some of her recent moves would indicate.
|Caddy Greg Johnston: So I pick up my pink slip over there, Michelle? (Getty Images)|
As of Tuesday, Johnston still hadn't heard directly from Wie or her family. Maybe he never will. He's gone. Old news.
When it comes to golf, Wie's got all kinds of game -- and a much better future in her sport than Patrick has in hers -- but she has all kinds of room to grow up. Thankfully she's only 16. But she's a cold 16. Firing her caddie at the airport? Through an agent? That's not teenager stuff. That's a full-on adult move.
Given that bit of calculation from Wie, forgive me for voicing now what I thought the moment I heard she'd withdrawn from the PGA's John Deere Classic last month with heat exhaustion: She faked it. She grew up in Hawaii, and she's decades younger than some of those men, and for crying out loud portly Jason Gore not only survived all four rounds -- he almost won the thing. But a teenage girl can't handle the walk in the sun? She tanked it.
Don't look at me like that. You know you thought the same thing. It's not like Wie was playing well, or had any chance of becoming the first woman since 1945 to make the cut at a PGA Tour event. She was out of contention after her first-round 77 put her 13 shots off the lead and eight strokes off the projected cut line. Needing to shoot in the low 60s in the second round, Wie was 2 over after nine holes. She was about to get embarrassed. Instead, she got sick.
So that's what the news focused on. Not her failure or her priorities or her career path, but her medical scare. Maybe Wie really was about to puke that day in Silvis, Ill. I know I was.
"She suffered a number of different symptoms, including stomach pains, nausea, dizziness and breathing problems, which worsened as the round continued," said Ross Berlin, the grim reaper agent who fired Wie's caddy three weeks later.
If you believe Berlin -- I don't, if I've not made that clear yet -- Wie was heroic simply to complete nine holes of golf. Wie's no hero, but at least she's the real thing when it comes to women's golf. If she doesn't get her confidence completely crushed by playing against men -- major winners David Duval and Ian Baker-Finch can tell Wie a thing or two about crushed confidence -- Wie will be an LPGA superstar for decades.
Danica Patrick? She'll sell tickets at Indy Racing League events. If she races in the IRL long enough, she might even win a race. Patrick isn't simply a marketing mirage, but she isn't a great race car driver, either. Which is fine. She doesn't have to be great. Few are.
But her "alluring" television commercials for Peak antifreeze are ridiculous, and her hubris is nauseating. Patrick made a stir last month when she said she was considering a switch to NASCAR. That would have been great, and not for the interest it would have generated for the Nextel Cup series. NASCAR doesn't need Danica Patrick, thank you.
Patrick's move to NASCAR would have been beautiful because she wouldn't have found herself racing every few weeks, and against fields of 17 or 18 other cars. She'd have been racing nearly every week, a deceptive grind, and she'd have been racing closer to 40 other cars -- assuming she got into the field at all.
There's qualifying, remember. This ain't the IRL, where entering every race has helped Patrick to a gaudy-looking 10th place in the points standings through 11 races. Sounds good, until you realize only 15 drivers have bothered to enter as many as 10 of the first 11 races. Tenth out of 15? Not so good.
Not that Patrick has a clue. When she was carrying on with NASCAR, she did an interview on ESPN where she smugly said she'd like to see the ratings of her first NASCAR race. If she could have squeezed in a first-person reference, she would have been a complete jerk as well as a boor.
The last athlete to get this much attention for this little accomplishment was Anna Kournikova, who ultimately was laughed out of tennis after failing to win a tour event in singles. The thing is, Kournikova reached the No. 8 ranking in the world. The WTA ranks almost 1,500 players, and Kournikova was once No. 8.
Patrick is 10th of 15 full-time racers on the IRL circuit. Let's not compare her to Kournikova. It's an insult to Kournikova.
Me, I'm thinking about all the attention being given to Wie and Patrick. And about these 1,000 words I've added to the pile -- the last words I'll write on either until they actually, you know, win something.