Everyone Digs the Long Ball.
January 17, 2007 5:16 PM   Subscribe

He stands a mere 5'1" but can drive a golf ball over 330 yards, and this past weekend he became the youngest player in 50 years to make the cut and play on a PGA Tour event. The golf media is ready to embrace Tadd Fujikawa as its Next Big(!) Thing. Of course, it was quickly noted that the amateur Tadd outplayed, upstaged, and overshadowed another young Hawaii-bred golfer who did not make the cut at the Sony Open: the 17 year-old Michelle Wie, who turned pro at age 16 and is raking in an estimated $10 million in endorsements from Nike and Sony (but maybe we shouldn't break out the Hater-ade over that...). Michelle is widely known for drawing huge crowds while unapologetically ruffling feathers as she attempts to play in various men's tournaments. Her critics note that she hasn't won against the Ladies yet, let alone the men, and is no longer deserving of the hype. Thus the parade of talented and ambitious youth continues to plunge into the waiting, toothy embrace of marketing execs worldwide, shouldering the dreams of their parents and weathering the barrage of the critics' cynical ink...
posted by krippledkonscious (16 comments total)
Yeah, but Michelle Wie is hot. Tadd Fujikawa, not so much. Which is to say, Wie holds a lot more interest for people who are not inherently interested in golf, and as such is probably more useful in marketing.
posted by donkeymon at 5:52 PM on January 17, 2007

Metafilter: People who are not inherently interested in golf.
posted by Sk4n at 6:08 PM on January 17, 2007

*quote on how being somehow isn't needed to play golf but it may help* blahblahblah

It's not like not caring, is not giving a putter flying fuck
posted by elpapacito at 6:48 PM on January 17, 2007

Well, your post got me to look up the history of golf. The little I knew is that it was a mostly middle age, affluent white male sport. Now the players have changed and I think that's cool.
posted by nickyskye at 7:21 PM on January 17, 2007

posted by Totally Zanzibarin' Ya at 12:37 AM on January 18, 2007

The little I knew is that it was a mostly middle age, affluent white male sport. Now the players have changed and I think that's cool.

Isn't it a sport for aspirational minority groups now?
posted by vbfg at 1:16 AM on January 18, 2007


Well yeah, that's pretty much my point...
posted by krippledkonscious at 1:41 AM on January 18, 2007

On a certain level, I can appreciate what Michelle Wie is trying to do (or rather, what Michelle Wie's parents are trying to do to/for her), and it sickens me a little to see the media trying to tear her down, when the hype was their doing in the first place.

That being said, I'd think that golf has to be pretty high on the list of sports where playing in a league above your ability won't really help you much.
posted by Doofus Magoo at 3:41 AM on January 18, 2007

Get to Sportsfilter at once you sentence-forming sport lovers.

So I jump ship in Hong Kong and make my way over to Tibet, and I get on as a looper at a course over in the Himalayas. A looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So, I tell them I’m a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald… striking. So, I’m on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one – big hitter, the Lama – long, into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga… gunga, gunga-galunga. So we finish the eighteenth and he’s gonna stiff me. And I say, “Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.” And he says, “Oh, uh, there won’t be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.” So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.
posted by The Ultimate Olympian at 3:53 AM on January 18, 2007

With an electric smile and precocious shot-making skill bursting from his 5-foot-1-inch frame,

Non-caucasian athletes are always praised for having a great smile (Shaquille O'Neal, Magic Johnson, etc.). I am not sure if it is because it is the one spot on the person that seems like it is white, or if it has more to do with the historical singing, dancing, and smiling Negroes.
posted by flarbuse at 6:31 AM on January 18, 2007

I feel bad for those kids. What kind of childhoods (or lack thereof) they must have had.
posted by thekilgore at 7:20 AM on January 18, 2007

Michelle Wie reminds me a lot of Anna Kounikova -- a marketable (but vulnerable) young hottie with a certain level of skill who gets dissed by the sport's aficionados after failing to achieve superstar status, yet looking really great out there.* AK's pretty much off the scope these days, but Wie is still trying, and she's not getting distracted into tradiing on her looks like AK did. She's not the most level-headed or mature competitor, but geez, she's 17-year-old high-school girl trying to compete with world-beaters -- no wonder she's going through caddies like crap through a goose, etc. I wish for her sake she'd just concentrate on finishing HS and playing mostly for fun -- maybe get a college scholarship and play at that level. 16 is too young to turn pro at anything. And if I want a superstar golfer to leer at as well as respect as a competitor, I prefer a more grown-up one.

*From the Wikipedia page on her: "In the card game of poker, a hand with an Ace and King has become known as an "Anna Kournikova" (Looks good but never wins...)."
posted by pax digita at 7:41 AM on January 18, 2007


Well yeah, that's pretty much my point...

Sorry for the snark, but I hate people who are really good at golf.
posted by Totally Zanzibarin' Ya at 8:18 AM on January 18, 2007

There seems to be some dispute as to how long his long ball actually is. All of the coverage on both SportsCenter and PTI this week noted that his drive is about 225, which is just past Wie's, but nowhere near Tiger, Vijay, etc. Apparently the issue at hand was whether someone of this dude's stature can ever develop a power swing that will put his drive in contention for the majors.
posted by spicynuts at 9:30 AM on January 18, 2007

Is it just me or are sports like Golf, Tennis etc. severely in need of rivalries like they had in the 80's? Nicklaus/Watson McEnroe/Connors/Lendl/Borg. Why are the personalities in all of sports so bland now compared to the past? Could it be that these individual personalities are so coddled and crafted by teams of agents/managers/pr companies to appeal across all demographics that they end up appealing strongly to none? Also, when you are making 95% of your income from marketing the money differential from coming in 2nd as opposed to 1st also loses some of it's motivational luster.
posted by any major dude at 10:35 AM on January 18, 2007

Interesting point, any major dude. The paucity of established player-initiated stories probably adds to the media hunting/inventing its next story. Most pro players are probably coached by agents, etc., to be non-controversial and universally appealing (I can't think of a more famous person who is more boring than Tiger Woods). The young players are the inexperienced ones who show genuine enthusiasm, and if they show any type of talent, the media pounces on their novelty. And should the player fail, they get to highlight the disappointment and tragedy. Sad, exploitation of youth.
posted by krippledkonscious at 12:28 PM on January 18, 2007

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