Sunday

Michelle Wie's Unfortunate State Farm Mishap

It was an honest mistake... there's no question about that... but a mistake it was. A rather monumental one, as it turned out, for Michelle Wie.

Because when she momentarily stepped outside of the scoring tent on Friday without signing her scorecard, Michelle took with her not only a decent chance at winning her first LPGA tournament, but also a likely automatic exemption for all LPGA tournaments in 2009.

But rules are rules, and rule 6-6, is one of those in place to ensure the integrity of golf's honor system. The incident happened after Friday's round, but Michelle played her full round on Saturday, shooting a 7 under 65 and coming to within one stroke of leader Yani Tseng, before being informed that she was out. The delay was due it seems to a communications issue.

Can you imagine how crushing that must have been? You'd be reliving the moment over and over, trying to figure out how you managed to overlook such a basic step. One you've automatically taken after each and every tournament round... except this one. And that would be torture.

But Michelle pulled herself up and went out and spoke reporters. And she did so with candor and humility at what must have been one of the most traumatic moments in a career that's been rife with controversy.

Reactions to this latest incident have come in along party lines, so to speak; with diehard Wie fans criticizing the rules for being too draconian, or slamming their enforcement for being too unbalanced, or dissing the LPGA for... being the LPGA. At the same time, equally committed Wie haters have added "careless rules flaunter who got caught in the act" to the long list of things to hate about Michelle.

In the end, I think it was simply a life lesson, albeit a really tough one, for an 18 year old who's own life and career have moved at lightning speed; the old cross your t's and dot your i's lesson. The one that says the devil is in the details...the often mundane details. We've all gone through it...We've all overlooked a tiny little detail, that ended up having great big consequences. Meticulous two time British Open Champion, Padraig Harrington apparently made the same mistake...and unsigned scorecard...in 2000. So there.

I don't think this occurrence is going to have a catastrophic effect on Michelle Wie's career, or her future. I think she'll reflect on this and get back to doing what she has to do to play golf at a highly competitive level again, the route may be a bit more circuitous due to this error, but I have no doubt she'll take it and I look forward to seeing where she ends up.

What do you think of all this. Of the rule, of the incident, of Miss Michelle Wie?

photo - LEE MILNER / Associated Press