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Michelle Wie: “Back” in Dubai

by Jeff Skinner

Most college students are cramming for mid terms about this time of year but Michelle Wie isn’t most college students.  Wie is busy on the other side of the world at The Dubai Ladies Masters and she may have been better off if she had stayed at Stanford and played some video games, beer pong or whatever the latest craze is on campus.

While Wie is playing fairly well, tied for 16th but she has re-aggravated her troublesome back that caused her to withdraw from the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in November.  Wie showed she was in some pain as she flinched many times after hitting shots during her round.  She is getting some treatment while she is in Dubai and has said doesn’t think it will affect her long term and expects to play a full season on the LPGA Tour in 2011.  “I’m in survival mode right now. Hopefully I’ll go out there and grind it out in the next few days.   I’ve just got to get my irons closer. I’m not leaving myself a lot of birdies putts, makable ones.”

Now the average, 21 year old college student, living on their own probably makes some odd or questionable choices during the semester but I am wondering what Michelle was thinking here.  Her back bothered her enough to withdraw in Mexico but she still makes the trip to Dubai.  The back continues to give her trouble but she continues to play.  Yes, there would be many that attack her if she was to withdraw now but if her back is that painful and affecting her play she should pack it in and give her back a chance to recover.

I can’t imagine that any appearance fee Wie is getting paid to play in Dubai is worth jeopardizing her health and her career.  I bet Michael Whan has the same feeling.  He probably would have come up with some cash to keep Michelle at Stanford this week and save that back from the torque that the Big Wiesy puts on it when she uncorks her driver.  A 2011 LPGA season with Michelle on the sidelines isn’t the vision that Whan has for his tour.

Maybe it’s a sign of maturity from Michelle.  She may feel that she made the commitment to Dubai and wants to do all she can to finish and not disappoint the tournament.  If that’s the case I give her some credit but at what point does she say enough is enough.

Let’s hope her back holds up and she finishes well in Dubai.  The 2011 LPGA season is just around the corner and she’s a critical part of the LPGA’s plan for a successful year.

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