People seem to overlook that Michelle grew up in Hawaii. While it may not appear significant at first blush, it is a major reason for her limited track record at the amateur level. Quite simply, junior golf tournaments in Hawaii are lacking both in number and in the quality of the competition. The junior golf events with any substance are all located within the continental United States. Therefore, any accomplished Hawaiian junior golfer who wishes to compete at the highest junior levels would have to travel to the mainland. Easier said than done.
Let's assume that you are a parent of a junior golfer living in Hawaii. She is entered in the Rolex Girls Junior Championship this June 13 – 16 in Park City, Utah and you need to make arrangements.
Booking the lowest cost itinerary on Expedia on May 6, 2006, the total cost is $1,739.10. This amount includes 2 roundtrip tickets, 1 room for 5 nights at the Sky Harbor Suites, and a 5-day economy car rental. Throw in another $300 for incidentals and subtract out the maximum AJGA stipend of $250 and the net cost of this trip is $1,789.10.
But the cost isn't the only sacrifice that you're making for your daughter. Air travel from Hawaii to Salt Lake City is about 10 hours each way. Therefore, to arrive for the registration at 9am on Tuesday, June 13, you need to spend most of Monday, June 12 traveling. The tournament ends late in the afternoon on Friday, June 16. However, there are no return flights past 5pm. Therefore, you must fly on the following day. All told, the time you must sacrifice for this tournament amounts to practically a full week. If you are a working parent, you probably have 2 weeks of vacation per year. Do the math and you'll discover just how many mainland tournaments your daughter can enter per year.
In effect, a Hawaiian junior golfer who wishes to play against the best would require the equivalent of a Hawaiian vacation for each event. Any trip from Hawaii to the mainland is a tremendous burden of cost and time. Even the shortest trip from Hawaii to the mainland is still at least 5 ½ hours each way!
Here in California, some of the top junior golfers in the nation compete with each other on a weekly basis. Most tournaments are just a short drive away. Had Wie grown up in California, I'm sure that she would have built up an impressive amateur resume.
So, is it any wonder why Wie's amateur record is so barren? It's just unrealistic to expect Wie to have entered many prestigious amateur golf events in the first place. How do you win tournaments that you can't enter? In the end, it may not really matter. History has proven that winning at the amateur level doesn't guarantee success at the pro level. Kelli Kuehne knows that all too well.
Labels: Michelle Wie