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Wie’s Challenge May Be Too Difficult

Posted September. 12, 2006 06:56,   


The National Korean Basketball Women’s team usually holds practice games with boys’ school teams.

Age-wise, they are younger brothers, but their physical conditions and strength are similar, providing higher training results.

In sports, the differences between men and women are big.

In golf, a sport known as a challenge against oneself, it is the same.

Even though the development of high-tech has produced clubs and balls that increase the carry distance enormously, there is still an inborn difference between the performance of men and women.

Just take a look at ‘Golf Emperor’ Tiger Woods (U.S.A.) and ‘Golf Empress’ Annika Sorenstam (Sweden), who are close friends. On the PGA Tour, Woods’ average driver carry distance is 306.5 yards. Sorenstam, who is at the top of the Lady’s PGA (LPGA) Tour, stops at 261.7 yards, which is 45 yards short of Woods’. When Woods grabs the short iron, Sorenstam must take the long iron, or more.

Woods’ accuracy with the driver is only 59.2%, yet his rate of hitting the green is at 1st place, at 72.8%. With his tremendous power, he gets the ball onto the green from the rough. Sorenstam, whose strength is weaker than Woods’, has a lesser chance of getting the green if her tee-shot gets lost in the rough.

After participating in the 2003 PGA Tour, Sorenstam has not showed up again on the men’s stage. It seems she has deemed it an unconquerable land.

However, Michelle Wie’s (17) gender match continues. In last week’s European tour, the Omega Masters, she shed tears after being cutoff at the second round with a 15-over par. Some say it was a rash challenge. J Golf commentator Park Yeong-seon remarked, “When men were playing with the 8-iron, Wie had to use the 6-iron. The green was too hard to hit the ball well.”

Wie, who participated in men’s tournaments 10 times and was cutoff at the preliminary match 9 times, will participate in the U.S. PGA Tour 84 Lumber Classic this week. For her, who has had miserable results so far, this is the first time she has had to fight a gender match for 2 weeks straight. The road ahead of her is filled with dangers such as a crammed schedule where she must cross the Atlantic and jet lag, an unfamiliar course and high level rivals. MBC commentator Mun Hong-shik said, “I am worried she might hurt her wrists or back on the rough course. It is important to concentrate on the LPGA and increase the number of wins.” Ewha Womans University professor Won Hyeong-jung also criticized, “I don’t know why she is in such a hurry, when she is still so young. She is still at an age to study.”

Her parents, who are anxious for their daughter who is doing both study and sports, said, “Even if we told her to stop, she is stubborn, and probably won’t listen.” There is also the rumor she is attached to the gender match, because she is afraid she will become forgotten when she stops. The sponsors who have invested a large amount of money on her try to use her anyway they can.

Michelle Wie is at the center of a complex storm.