Anyone who knows much of anything about golf–or anyone who watched sports news for more than 10 minutes on Sunday–can tell you that Stanford athletes dominated the sport’s headlines this weekend. On the positive side, Michelle Wie won her second-ever LPGA event (the Canadian Women’s Open) by three strokes, and displayed as much enthusiasm from a golfer as we’ve seen in quite a while. Aside from being a part-time Stanford student, she is a really interesting character: she is the daughter of immigrant parents from Korea; she was one of Time‘s “100 people who shape our world” at age 16; and she’s an athletic outlier (a six-foot-tall woman who turned pro as a teenager and was featured on “60 Minutes” at age 14). Congratulations on this weekend’s win, Michelle.
Guess who the other prominent Stanford golfer is? Well, technically Stanford alumnus (does leaving after two years without a degree still leave you eligible for alumnus status? Wikipedia’s saying yes.). Yeah, it’s Tiger. At the Barclays’ this weekend, Tiger started strong and ended strong, but his middle two rounds made him virtually irrelevant on Sunday. We won’t dwell on Tiger, because as much of a head case as he may be, there is something extremely admirable about his obsessive devotion to success. People like that do tend to get in trouble–just think Kobe or Barry Bonds (yes, Michael is an exception)–but it’s nice to know that there’s someone who works twenty times harder than you’ve ever seriously considered trying. So Tiger, please listen to this pesky little site that you almost certainly will never read: take some time off. Take your kids out to dinner. Nike, the Masters, and athletic redemption can wait.
May we point out that this is not the first time that Wie and Tiger have seemed eminently comparable, if only as foils. When Wie was 14, Jack Nicklaus compared her to a 15-year-old Tiger. That analogy came from an article published over 3.5 years ago in Golf Magazine, the sport’s most respected periodical. The name of that article? “Michelle Wie vs. Tiger Woods.” Michelle Wie’s first LPGA tour win came on the same day that Tiger won on the PGA circuit. That was last November, and it came just one day after Stanford football’s drubbing of USC in Los Angeles and just over one week before Tiger’s catastrophe began with the mysterious Thanksgiving night car accident.
We’ll continue rooting for both Wie and Tiger. However, at the moment only one of the two is famous for the right reasons. The other needs to settle down and get a grip.