2004: Might Wie play men’s college golf?
It remains uncertain whether 14-year-old phenom Michelle Wie ever will play college golf. But after her showing against some of the best male players in the world at the PGA Tour’s Sony Open, the Honolulu native has raised another interesting question.
Should she decide to play college golf, will it be for a women’s team or a men’s team?
While NCAA rules do not allow coaches to talk about players who are not yet enrolled in college, the idea of women playing on men’s teams was a topic of discussion Feb. 11-13 during the TaylorMade/Waikoloa Intercollegiate.
“It’s pretty wild. I never really thought of a female playing on a men’s team until now,” said Jeff Mitchell, men’s coach at Stanford. “It’s going to be pretty interesting. There is a very limited number of sports that a situation like this could exist and golf just happens to be one of them, as rare as it might be.”
Added USC coach Kurt Schuette: “Personally I think it’s wrong, but I guess as long as it’s within the rules it could happen. It’s (recruiting a female) not something I would pursue. For one thing, it could cause a lot of friction within your own institution.”
That, of course, is another thing. Men’s and women’s coaches from the same school going after the same player.
“I think it would be extremely difficult if you were at a school that had a women’s team,” said coach Bruce Heppler of Georgia Tech, which does not have a women’s golf program. “I think it’s a great compliment to these women because they’ve played so well, but I feel it would be a tough situation for schools with both men’s and women’s programs.”
Mitchell expressed similar thoughts.
“I would hate to think any institution that has a women’s program would allow the men’s coach to recruit a woman player,” Mitchell said. “But if it does happen, I think the bottom line has to be, first, is that person going to improve the quality of your team? And secondly, is it going to be something that will have a very positive effect for female golfers?”
Wie has said she would like to attend Stanford, although many believe if she continues on her current path of playing in top-level men’s and women’s pro events, she will bypass college.