If you've ever followed the travails of Michelle Wie and her love-hate relationship with the other golfers on the LPGA, you know that Annika Sorenstam has a dark, cold place for Wie in her mind.
To recap, on the LPGA, one of the rules on the Tour is that if you shoot over 88 in a single round at a major tournament, the LPGA will ban you from all LPGA events for one year so that you can improve your game/refocus. Wie knew this, and back in '07 at the Ginn Tribute (a Sorenstam hosted event), with two holes remaining, a then 17-year old Wie, shooting an absolutely atrocious round that was only five shots short of invoking the rule, decided to withdraw from the tournament because of a "wrist injury." Fishy? Yes, but no one said anything considering that she had a history with her wrist for much of that year. What hurt Wie is that two days later she was on the same course shooting a practice round for the LPGA Championship. Sorenstam cried foul and said Wie was disrespectful of the other players in the tournament, the LPGA, and the game of golf.
Fast forward to this past Wednesday. Wie, a participant in this weekend's U.S. Women's Open, still has yet to win a major and has seen players younger than her go on to win majors. Despite this, she still competes professionally while attending Stanford. At a McDonald's education workshop earlier this year, Wie said this of Stanford:
Wie, by the way, will return for a fifth year to finish classes and receive her degree from Stanford, which she credited with helping her mature.
"I really grew up when I went to college. I was still a kid when I was in high school and I feel like I really grew up and became an adult," Wie said during an education workshop sponsored by McDonald’s.
-- c/o Waggle Room
Some enterprising reporter, aware of this, decided to poke and prod Sorenstam for her opinion of Wie. Here's what she said:
"When she came out there was a lot of buzz, a lot of potential from this young lady. She probably has one of the best golf swings in the game today," said Annika Sorenstam, the retired former No. 1 player in the world. "I would say she has not performed to her expectations or her potential. Hopefully that will come, maybe this year or the next few years to follow.
"... I think her focus, in my opinion, should be more on the golf. She's very distracted with school, doesn't really play as much full time as I thought she would," Sorenstam said. "I think she needs to come out here and compete more regularly. But she certainly has a lot of potential. The physical part is there. Sometimes you wonder if she's mentally strong enough to finish at the top."
-- Denver Post, July 7, 2011 & NBC Sports
What advice does Sorenstam have for 16-year old phenom Lexi Thompson, who received an exemption to play on the LPGA tour recently?
"Hey, take your time," Sorenstam recommended. "Enjoy high school golf, enjoy college golf, enjoy representing your own country in the Curtis Cup or all these different events they have out there.
"I just hope that [Thompson] takes her time," said Sorenstam, who worried about young players "who push themselves too hard and you wonder how long they will stay" when facing the mental and physical strains of competing at golf’s highest levels.
"You have to be ready for this challenge," Sorenstam added, "not just to hit golf shots, but for the whole thing around it: media and traveling and sponsors and all the obligations that come with it."
-- Waggle Room
I'll let you come to your own conclusions on this. By the way, Sorenstam attended the University of Arizona for two years before dropping out to join the LPGA full-time.