Sports Outside the Beltway

Michelle Wie to enter LPGA Qualifying School

According to Golfweek, Wie has mailed in the application that is the first step in her quest to join the Ladies golf tour on a full-time basis.

Michelle Wie’s latest move is one most folks can agree on: As first reported by Golfweek she’s headed to LPGA Qualifying School.

The application deadline is 5:30 p.m. Sept. 9, and multiple sources confirmed with Golfweek last week that Wie’s check was in the mail.

Wie, who turns 19 on Oct. 11, has been spotted in Rancho Mirage, Calif., gearing up for the first sectional qualifier, Sept. 16-19 at Mission Hills Country Club, a course where she has enjoyed much success.

In four appearances at Mission Hills for the Kraft Nabisco Championship, Wie’s worst finish is a tie for 14th in 2005. She finished T-9 in ‘03, fourth in ‘04, and tied for third in ‘06, when she played in the final group as an eighth-grader.

“I think reality set in,” said Wie’s swing coach, David Leadbetter, when reached by phone Sept. 9. “She needs to play more tournaments. And not make those tournaments PGA Tour events. …

I agree with Leadbetter, Wie’s future is on the ladies tour, not competing against the men.

Rancho Mirage is only the first step to Michelle getting a LPGA Tour card, a second and final qualifier takes place in Daytona Beach Florida this December. I’m betting Michelle gets full LPGA privileges for 2009.


Will Golfweek’s Rex Hoggard please pick up the red courtesy phone

Another clueless idiot writing about golf. In an article about Michelle Wie playing in next week’s Reno-Tahoe Open, Hoggard exclaims-

If Reno officials wanted to be real creative, they could have offered the spot to Annika Sorenstam who made history a few years back at Colonial. She has a resume that would justify the offer, the respect of the other players in the field and even a vacation home close to Montreux.

Instead, with apologies to Wie, they went with the bearded lady.

Comparing Wie to a circus freak is really beneath most of Wie’s detractors. The real freaks are Hoggard and his employer Golfweek. If either had three brain cells working, they’d know Annika Sorenstam is only playing in a major championship the same time as the Reno tournament. The Women’s British Open. She is unavailable to play in Nevada.

If Hoggard answers the page, I’ll recommend he see a good proctologist. That in order to get his head out of his ass.


Michelle Wie to play in another PGA Tour event

She will tee it up in next week’s Reno-Tahoe Open.

Fresh off a disqualification on the LPGA Tour, Michelle Wie has decided to tee it up against the men, again.

Wie will play next week in the Legends Reno-Tahoe Open, the first time she’ll play on the PGA Tour this year, tournament organizers said.

It will be her eighth time playing on the PGA Tour, and she has yet to make a cut. The only time Wie has made money playing against the men was on the Korean Tour, in 2006, at the SK Telcom Open.


Wie, who is 18 and attends Stanford part time, has no status on any tour. She has only one sponsor’s exemption left this year. She will be playing her seventh and final LPGA Tour event of this year at the CN Canadian Women’s Open in August.

The Reno-Tahoe Open starts July 31 at Montreux Golf & Country Club. The Nevada tournament is one of the weakest fields on the PGA Tour, held opposite the World Golf Championship in Ohio. Steve Flesch won the Reno-Tahoe Open last year.

Opinion on Wie playing another Men’s event is mixed, but more unfavorable than favorable. Joe Logan calls it ‘Dumb, dumb, dumb, Ryan at GNN is incredulous, but Golf blogger The Constructivist
says in a comment to Ryan’s post “Dealing with the pressure of playing with the PGA’s 2nd tier should be good preparation for the CO the following week. Sorenstam has indicated she learned about pressure and the game from playing at Colonial–why can’t Wie do the same?”

I’ve been critical of Michelle playing in men’s tournaments before, mostly because she was playing horribly. That she would be just another on the men’s tour. I still stick to those opinions, but what is the harm of her playing in Tahoe? As I see it, very little to none if all Michelle sees this is as an opportunity to work on her game right now.


Michelle Wie Disqualified at State Farm Classic

For leaving the scoring area after Friday’s round without signing her scorecard. From ESPN-

Michelle Wie finished the third round of the State Farm Classic alone in second on Saturday — then was disqualified for failing to immediately sign her scorecard a day earlier.

Wie was playing her best golf of the year, finishing off a 5-under 67 to get to 17 under for the tournament, one stroke back of Yani Tseng.

That’s when Wie was disqualified by LPGA officials, who said they’d learned during play Saturday from tournament volunteers about the 18-year-old’s mistake.

It is reported Wie was crying after the news. I would be too. She was one shot out of the lead, with a win and LPGA Tour card within her grasp tomorrow.

Here’s the rule

According to a statement released Saturday by the LPGA, Wie’s failure to sign her scorecard was a violation of Rule 6-6b, according to The Rules of Golf and confirmed by the USGA.

The rule states: “After completion of the round, the competitor should check his score for each hole and settle any doubtful points with the Committee. He must ensure that the marker or markers have signed the score card, sign the score card himself and return it to the Committee as soon as possible.”

Wie said that after she finished her round on Friday, she left the tent where players sign their scorecards and was chased down by some of the tournament volunteers working in the tent who pointed out she hadn’t signed.

Wie returned to the tent and signed the card.

Which isn’t allowed, and why Wie was disqualified. She made an honest mistake but one with huge reprucussions for her golf career at this point, and maybe even mentally. Can Michelle even buy a break right now? She was playing great golf in Illinois.

I also want to mention Hee Won Han’s 3rd round 61 which puts her three strokes behind Tseng. Hee Won, who teed off Number 10 to begin play today, was 10 under for the round through 12 holes! Han is a very consistent golfer, but seldom flashy. I saw how her round was going and despite my attention being mostly focused on the British Open, kept tabs on the State Farm. All Han had to do was play the last six holes in 3 under to shoot a record 59. It wasn’t to be, Han only made one birdie coming in.

Yani Tseng continues to have an incredible year. She won the LPGA Championship last month, Two second place finishes, 6th on the money list but a win tomorrow would move her to 4th, and is running away with Rookie of the Year. There is a new force on tour.

Also commenting on Michelle Wie’s disaster today- Mulligan Stu, Hound Dog, and The Constructivist. Stu and TC feel sorry for Michelle. I do too.


Christina Kim leads the State Farm Classic after 36 holes, Michelle Wie one shot back

Kim missed winning last year’s affair by one shot in one of the year’s most exciting finishes. From AP-

Christina Kim shot a four-under 68 on Friday to take a one-shot lead over four players midway through the State Farm Classic.

Kim, who fired a 63 on Thursday to also hold the first-round lead, stood at 13-under 131 after two rounds at Panther Creek Country Club.

Christina is one of the most exuberant players on tour. This has been known to rub some people the wrong way, but I think Ladies golf could use a few more players like her. If Christina wins this weekend it will be her first victory since 2005.

Not too many people are paying attention to the golf being played in Springfield Illinois this weekend. That could be subject to change. This because of one of the golfers one shot behind Kim.

Michelle Wie was among the four players tied for second place behind Kim following a round of seven-under 65, which matched her lowest score on the LPGA Tour.

Sherri Turner, Ji Young Oh and LPGA Championship winner Yani Tseng all posted rounds of 66 on Friday to join Wie at 12-under 132, while Sun Young Yoo shot a 69 to stand alone in sixth place at 11-under 133.

Overall, there were 19 players within five shots of Kim’s lead heading to the weekend.

Following her best round in a long time, Wie’s name is the most recognizable among them.


It has taken Wie — now 18 and entering her second year at Stanford — almost two years to get back to the form she displayed in the 2006 season when she posted six top-10 finishes, including three consecutive top-threes in major championships.

Since then, she has posted more rounds in the 80s (five) than in the 60s (four). Those numbers include her 67-65 start at this tournament.

Wie holed out from the fairway for an eagle at her first hole on Friday, then made five birdies the rest of the way, including one at her last hole to join the logjam in second place.

I still think Michelle has a world of talent if her wrist injuries ever become healed. Can she win this weekend? I see no reason why not. It won’t be a given, the State Farm is known for low scoring and dramatic moves on the leaderboard. Boy do I have a great deal of golf to watch this weekend.


Michelle Wie qualifies for the US Women’s Open

When Michelle tees it up on June 26th, it will be her fourth LPGA event of 2008. From AP-

ROCKVILLE, MD — Despite playing 36 holes on a humid day with temperatures nearly reaching triple digits, Michelle Wie was still able to flash a big smile as she sat down with the media.

Qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Open will do that.

Playing on two different courses, Wie carded rounds of 70 and 67 and her 137 total was the second-best score on the day and more than enough to qualify her for the 2008 Open, to be played later this month at the Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minn.

“I think I did pretty well. It feels good to be playing good again,” said Wie, who has struggled with her game for much of the last year. “There were a lot of shots that I left out there today with the putting and a couple of errant tee shots in the middle, but other than that I’m pretty pleased with my round and I’m really happy to be playing at the U.S. Open.”

Wie’s strong finish in Germany is encouraging so far as a sign the teen’s golf game is returning. I still believe more evidence is needed before saying conclusively Michelle Wie is back.


Move over Michelle Wie Part IV

A 18-year-old South Korean won the Ladies German Open today.

MUNICH, Germany – South Korean teenager Amy Yang shot a 5-under 67 on Sunday to win the Ladies German Open by four strokes.


Yang, an 18-year-old who had a course-record 63 on Saturday, finished with a 21-under 267 total for her first victory as a professional. Sweden’s Louise Stahle was second at 17 under, and Gwladys Nocera of France was another stroke back in third.

This isn’t even Yang’s first win in a professional golf tournament. In 2006 she won the ANZ Ladies Masters in Australia. An event considered a major championship by the golfers from down under. Yang is also the leading money winner on the LET(Ladies European Tour) so far for 2008. Next week is the LPGA Championship at Bulle Rock. Yang, who only has non-exempt status on the LPGA Tour, would be a good long shot pick for the LPGA. At present Amy looks unlikely to be in the field.

Michelle Wie was also playing in Germany this week. How did she do?

Michelle Wie had a solid final round to finish sixth.


Wie shot 67 to finish 14 under, the first time since the Evian Masters in July 2006 that she completed a tournament under par – a streak of 13 events that included seven missed cuts.

Michelle Wie shot 4 straight rounds under par, by far the best golf she has played in two years. So is Michelle back? I’d wait to see how she plays at the Wegman’s in three weeks before passing judgment. Michelle was given a sponsor’s exemption to play in the Rochester New York LPGA Tour stop.


Move over Michelle Wie Part III

The 2007 AJGA Player of the Year is among the leaders after the first round of the Semgroup Championship. From the Tulsa World-

BROKEN ARROW—Vicky Hurst, a 17-year-old high school senior from Melbourne, Fla., got a sponsor’s exemption into the SemGroup Championship and isn’t squandering the opportunity.

After nine first-round holes, Hurst was 3-under par and had a two-shot lead on the field. She settled for even par, but her score — posted despite sinister wind gusts — was still good enough to lead you to believe the kid was born on a golf course,

Which Vicki almost was. Back to that later.

Vicki is at present playing her rookie year on the Duramed Futures Tour. At present, Vicki is #1 on that tour’s money list. If you think Vicki has played the LPGA pros a great many times before the Semgroup, think again. Vicki, who has had a very impressive amateur record, is only playing in a LPGA event for the second time on a sponsor’s exemption. How many sponsor’s exemptions has Michelle Wie gotten since 2002? Like 30?

Hurst is just one part of the wave of Korean-American girls who will soon be influencing US Ladies Professional golf. Vicki’s Mom Koko, who caddies for her daughter but not this week, was born in South Korea. I think we’ll be hearing alot of more of Vicki, Kimberly Kim, Jenny Shin, and others in the years ahead.

The rest of the Tulsa World article is below the fold.


Lopez twins both turning pro

This news comes days after Stanford was eliminated from the NCAA tournament.

The Lopez twins are going pro together. Stanford sophomore Robin Lopez is joining his 7-foot brother Brook in entering the NBA draft. The brothers made their announcement to The Associated Press on Monday through their mother, Deborah Ledford.

It was expected that Brook would declare himself eligible for the NBA, but Robin was not so certain. They were prep stars in Fresno, Calif., and came to Stanford together. Now they will depart as a tandem, too.

“This has been a very difficult decision for me because I really enjoyed my two years at Stanford,” Robin Lopez said in a statement released to the AP. “I have always hoped I would have an opportunity to play in the NBA and I feel now is the right time to make that dream a reality.”

Brook Lopez, a third-team All-American and a first-team Pac-10 selection, averaged 19.3 points and 8.2 rebounds to go with 56 blocks this season. He scored the game-winning basket with 1.3 seconds left in an 82-81 victory over Marquette in the second round of the NCAA tournament to put Stanford in the regional semifinals for the first time since 2001.

Both Brook and Robin will hire agents and thus forgo their remaining two years of college eligibility, their mom said.

Since I rarely follow basketball(Pro or college) I am clueless as to the chances the Lopez brothers have of sticking in the NBA. To be honest, I would stay in college. Especially since its Stanford.

There has been a history of twins, identical and non-identical in professional sports. Hardcore golf fans will know golf Hall of Famer Curtis Strange has an identical twin brother Allen. In the NHL right now there are the identical Sedin brothers, Daniel and Henrik who play for the Vancouver Canucks. In baseball there were the Canseco brothers and the O’brien brothers.

If Robin Lopez can’t make it in the NBA, he can always caddy for Michelle Wie. SI reported recently that the two of them are dating.(Hat tip- ROK Drop)


Michelle Wie withdraws from Safeway

She was due to play her second LPGA tournament of 2008 next week. Not any more.

LOS ANGELES – Michelle Wie withdrew from the Safeway International on Friday after tweaking an injury to her left wrist during practice last week.

“I am extremely disappointed to miss the 2008 Safeway International,” Wie said. “I’m so grateful to Tom Maletis and the entire tournament staff for offering me this great opportunity, and hope to be back again next year.

The 18-year-old Wie received a sponsor exemption to play in the event next week at Superstition Mountain in Arizona. She has played one tournament this year, finishing 20 strokes winner Paula Creamer in the Fields Open in Hawaii late last month.

Wie’s agent, Jill Smoller of the William Morris Agency, said the Stanford freshman reinjured her left wrist when she accidentally hit a ball that was embedded in thick rough on the driving range at Stanford on March 13.

Smoller said Wie immediately consulted a doctor at Stanford and also saw a hand specialist in Los Angeles on Monday.

Another wrist injury is troubling in light of Michelle’s terrible 07 season. I sincerely hope she healed and able to play again like she had up through the 2006 Evian Masters.

What’s this deep rough on a driving range crap? Last time I saw a driving range, there’s no rough. You hit it from the tee box. So either Jill Smoller doesn’t know anything about golf or got her facts wrong, the Wies are making things up, or AP can’t report a simple story. Something is weird. I’m going to email Craig Dolch and see if he has anything to say on this.


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