Shhh! New women's golf fan needs to sound off about Wie

The Kickoff

July 03, 2006|By PETER SCHMUCK

The transformation became complete when I picked up my cell phone and called a friend yesterday to tell him that Annika Sorenstam had just double-bogeyed the seventh hole to drop into a three-way tie for the lead at the U.S. Women's Open ... and Michelle Wie was just a stroke behind.

I am now a women's golf fan, though I'd rather you didn't tell anybody.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I'm afraid I might be on that proverbial slippery slope that could lead just about anywhere. Next thing you know, I'll be hanging out with Milton Kent at the WNBA playoffs and writing about Title IX and generally being a sensitive guy.

In short, it's the end of the sports world as I know it, but - at the moment - I feel fine.

Like everybody else with the Titleist logo burned into his consciousness, I've undertaken that existential sporting exercise known as Waiting for Michelle. Her goal is to play on the men's tour, but she has yet to win a professional women's event, which would appear to be a key steppingstone in her climb to golf immortality.

Wie obviously is on the thres- hold of something very special, and her performance over the weekend reaffirms that she already is one of the best of the best, but wouldn't it make more sense to give Sorenstam and the other, more accomplished women pros their due until such time as Wie has earned the right to overshadow them?

I guess that's where the whole existential riff comes into play. She's only 16, but to paraphrase the great philosopher Descartes, we think she's going to be the greatest women's golfer of all time, therefore she is.

World Anti-Doping Agency chairman Dick Pound went on the offensive after the latest drug scandal to strike the Tour de France, telling the BBC that cycling could cease to be a significant sport if it doesn't clean up its act.

"Under these circumstances," Pound said, "if I had a child who showed some potential in this, I'd say, `It appears that if you want to get to the top of this sport you've got to use all these drugs, and why don't we find some other sport for you.'"

Pound didn't mention which big-time sport remains drug-free, but I think I just figured out why they're putting the National Spelling Bee on ESPN.

Orioles owner Peter Angelos insisted Tuesday that the Orioles are not going to trade All-Star shortstop Miguel Tejada, but that hasn't quelled speculation around the major leagues that he will be moved.

Rumors continue to circulate that the Los Angeles Angels will try to romance the Orioles with a package that includes several of their top young players. The word in Anaheim is that owner Arte Moreno has given general manager Bill Stoneman permission to do whatever it takes to get the struggling Angels back into the playoff hunt.

Nobody doubts that Angelos meant what he said Tuesday, but there's still nearly a month until the July 31 deadline for making trades without waivers, and a lot could happen before then to make a Tejada trade more plausible.

It's not out of the question that the Orioles could actually turn in the right direction over the next four weeks, which presumably would make Tejada untouchable.

The Orioles (38-45) are seven games worse than they were at this time last year (44-37), when they angered fans by not making a significant midseason move to shore up a competitive team. But you could make the case that they are actually in much better shape than the team that had just dropped out of first place after 62 days on top of the American League East standings.

No, I don't mean in relation to their AL East competitors, but that team was falling apart and this one is showing a number of positive signs - from the development of All-Star-caliber closer Chris Ray to the emergence of rookie outfielder Nick Markakis to the presence at the upper end of the organization of four very talented - if inconsistent - young starting pitchers.

My point: It's not all good, but it's not all bad.

Seasoned Yankees haters are relishing the likelihood that the pinstriped pariahs will be left out of the postseason this year, what with the Boston Red Sox on a roll and the early wild-card leader (the Chicago White Sox) sitting on a big cushion in the AL Central.

Don't get too comfortable. The White Sox will be there at the end, but it's too early to rubber- stamp the surprising Detroit Tigers, even if they do have the best record in the majors. They're not going to play .683 baseball forever, and the Yankees are going to keep grinding. It'll get interesting in August. Wait and see. peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

"The Peter Schmuck Show" airs on WBAL (1090 AM) at noon on Saturdays.

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