The Twin Trajectories of Michelle Wie & Britney Spears

What do pop star Britney Spears and golfer Michelle Wie have in common?

When that question was jokingly posed last year on humor sites and golf blogs, many chuckled smugly at the answer punchline:

"Both love sparkly accessories, can’t drive very well, and are riding a hot ascent to the top before they drop the ball".

Well, if either Michelle or Britney were at risk of dropping that metaphoric ball, both appear to have recovered it for now.

I always thought it facile and excessive to compare Michelle Wie to Britney Spears. However, at this particular juncture their trajectories do show similarities:

Britney Spears - the former child star and teen singing sensation is once again selling out concert venues and getting glowing reviews for her latest CD... while it shoots up the charts. This rebirth of the Britney brand comes after the world's most famous meltdown; a cataclysmic downward spiral that included substance abuse, arrests, rehab and a losing custody battle. Ms. Spears also shaved her head, gained weight and temporarily ceased to wear underpants... while sales of her CDs and merchandise declined.

Michelle Wie - the former child golfer and teen golf sensation recently finished well at Q-School and gained full playing status on the LPGA tour, declaring, “It feels like a clean slate, a new beginning, and I finally feel like I really earned it.” And no one's doubting she'll boost attendance at LPGA events in 2009. But as we all know, Michelle too had a meltdown of sorts, though it didn't include the dark demon of substance abuse. The golfer wasn't arrested, or sued or seen going commando either, and her only stint in rehab was for an injured wrist. The root of Michelle's meltdown was a temporary decline in her prodigiously peerless golf game...due to injury and overreach, and it temporarily cost her the respect of certain fans, peers and ...golf writers.

So though the stories really aren't very similar, the trajectories are. Imagine looking at the two careers on a line chart and I think you'll see what I mean. The happy part is that for both of these gorgeous, talented young women, the lines seem to be going in the right direction now.