Michelle Wie shot four over par Thursday at the Michelob Ultra Open. Doesn’t sound like a total breakdown, unless you consider that there were only about 15 players that were worse off.
We’ll assume she’s not going to shoot about four under today to make the cut.
So let’s say you are responsible for making the Michelle Wie decision at Nike, Sony and Omega. When do you say, “We’re outta here.”
The only contract I know about for sure is the Nike one. Sources have told me it was a five-year deal signed when Wie turned pro in Oct. 2005, but it’s really a three-year deal with a two-year Nike option.
At best, there’s going to be a major reduction from the reported $5 million a year cost. At worst, Nike is going to dump Wie, whose most significant blip on the radar screen came in March when word started circulating she was dating Stanford center Robin Lopez – a sure first rounder in this year’s NBA draft.
We all said this was the girl who was going to eventually beat the men. Now, plagued by a wrist injury, Wie – who Golf Digest said was the twelfth highest earning golfer with $12.5 million in earnings in 2007 -- is not even competitive.
And the bad news for sponsors is that Wie’s closest observers think that she might need an even more prolonged rest to ever get back to form.
Eric Adelson, the reporter for ESPN The Magazine who has been covering Wie since the golfer was 10, says that Wie needs to give herself more time to heal her wrists.
“She can’t just sit out a few tournaments,” said Adelson, whose book on Wie, entitled “The Sure Thing,” is scheduled to come out next spring.
So far, that’s not the plan. As of now, her schedule calls for her to play in both the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic and the State Farm Classic in July.
If Wie doesn’t pan out, she could be considered the greatest marketing bust of all time. At least in terms of dollars. Reebok spent $25 million on the “Dan and Dave” advertising campaign for the 1992 Olympics that didn’t work -- because Dan O’Brien failed to make the team.
The best part of that story was that Dave O’Brien got the bronze and the gold went to Robert Zmelik, a guy from Czechoslovakia, who was also endorsed by Reebok. I guess “Dave and Robert” wasn’t as catchy.
By the way, I think we should note that the official Michelle Wie Web site (www.michellewie.com) still has not launched. What an embarassment. Thanks to reader Bob McKamey for the tip on that one.
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