Definitions

Michelle_Wie

Michelle Wie

Michelle Wie

Personal Information
Birth Honolulu, Hawaii U.S.
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Nationality
Residence Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
College Stanford University
ineligible for golf team
Career
Turned Pro 2005
Current tour none
Professional wins 0
Best Results in Major Championships
Kraft Nabisco T3: 2006
LPGA Championship 2nd: 2005
U.S. Women's Open T3: 2006
Women's British Open T3: 2005
Awards
Laureus World Newcomer of the Year 2004

Michelle Sung Wie (Korean Wie Seong-mi Hangul: 위성미 Hanja: , born October 11, 1989) is an American professional golfer. In 2006, she was named in a Time magazine article, "one of 100 people who shape our world."

Early years

Born in Honolulu, Hawaii to Korean-born parents, Wie began playing golf at the age of four. Upon turning professional at age 15 she said, "The first time I grabbed a golf club, I knew that I'd do it for the rest of my life."

In the summer of 2000, at the age of ten, she became the youngest player ever to qualify for the Women's U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship. This record stood for eight years until it was broken in 2008 by another 10-year-old from Hawaii, Allisen Corpuz, who was five months younger than Wie was when she qualified for the same championship. In 2001, at the age of 11, she won both the Hawaii State Women’s Stroke Play Championship and the Jennie K. Wilson Women’s Invitational, the oldest and most prestigious women’s amateur tournament in Hawaii. Also at age 11, she shot a personal-best 64 from the 5,400-yard tees at the Olomana Golf Links course in Hawaii. That year, she advanced into match play at the Women's U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.

2002–2004: Amateur career

In 2002, Wie won the Hawaii State Open Women's Division by thirteen shots over LPGA player Cindy Rarick. In 2002 she also became, at age 12, the youngest player to qualify for an LPGA event, the Takefuji Classic where she missed the cut. The record stood until 2007 when it was broken by 11-year-old Ariya Jutanugarn.

In 2003, she became the youngest player to make a cut in an LPGA event at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, shooting a 66 in the 3rd round, tying the amateur record for a women's major championship, and placing her in the final group alongside Annika Sörenstam and eventual winner, Patricia Meunier-Lebouc. A few months later, Wie earned a historic victory at the Women's Amateur Public Links tournament, becoming the youngest person ever, male or female, to win a USGA adult event. She also became the youngest player to make the cut in the history of the US Women's Open, where she placed 39th.

In 2004 Wie became the fourth female, and the youngest ever, to play in a PGA Tour event at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Playing on a sponsor's exemption, she shot 72-68 to finish at even par, missing the cut by one stroke.

That year, Wie became the youngest woman ever to play on the victorious U.S. Curtis Cup team. She went on to finish fourth in the Kraft Nabisco Championship. If she had played the 2004 season as a professional, she would have earned over US$250,000 from her tournament results.

2005: Turning pro

Wie has long attracted attention for her height; she reached a height of 6' 1" by her midteens. Both her parents are above average height—her mother, Hyun Kyong is 5'7" and her father is 6'2". Garnering equal attention was the rare length of her drives as well as the form of her golf swing. When Wie was fourteen, professional golfer Ernie Els remarked, "Give her another couple years to get stronger, she can play on the PGA Tour." At sixteen, Wie had an average drive of about 280 yards. Her size and use of Els as a model have led sports media to call her The Big Wiesy, a play on Els' nickname of The Big Easy. Fred Couples said, "When you see her hit a golf ball…there's nothing that prepares you for it. It's just the scariest thing you've ever seen." Arnold Palmer stated in 2003 that "she's probably going to influence the golfing scene as much as Tiger, or more. She's going to attract people that even Tiger didn't attract, young people, both boys and girls, and families."

Wie started her 2005 season by again accepting a sponsor's invitation to play in the PGA Tour Sony Open in Hawaii where she again missed the cut. She then played the LPGA Tour, finishing second at SBS Open at Turtle Bay. That June, she placed second at the LPGA Championship. She became the first female golfer to qualify for a USGA national men's tournament, when she tied for first place in a 36-hole qualifier for the U.S. Amateur Public Links. At the U.S. Women's Open, she finished the third round in a three-way tie for the lead, but scored an 82 in the final round, and finished tied for 23. The week after, she played in the John Deere Classic in her third attempt to make the cut at a PGA Tour event, missing the cut by two strokes.

In the Men's Public Links, Wie made the top 64 in the stroke play rounds to qualify for match play. She lost in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Clay Ogden. She then played in the Evian Masters, a major on the Ladies European Tour and a regular LPGA event, and finished in a tie for second. The week after, she finished tied for third at the Women's British Open, the fourth and final major of the year.

On October 5, 2005, a week before her 16th birthday, Wie announced in Hawaii that she was turning professional, reportedly signing sponsorship contracts with Nike and Sony worth more than ten million dollars per year. At the same time she announced a pledge of half a million dollars for Hurricane Katrina relief.

Professional career

LPGA membership

Wie, unlike almost every other professional golfer, male or female, is not a member of any professional tour. Prior to her 18th birthday in October 2007, she was not eligible to attempt to join the LPGA Tour, unless she petitioned for an exception as some players, including Morgan Pressel and Aree Song had done, both at age 17. After turning 18 in October 2007, she still chose not to join the LPGA Tour by participating in the Tour's Qualifying Tournaments or "Q-School."

As a professional but a non-LPGA member, she is limited to playing in no more than six LPGA events per year and only on sponsor exemptions. She can play in an unlimited number of non-LPGA events, including the US Women's Open and Women's British Open, provided she qualifies for the events or is given a special exemption by the event organizers. Also as a non-LPGA member, her earnings do not appear on the official ADT money list, she is not eligible for LPGA Tour awards and her statistics do not appear on the official list. As a professional, she is allowed to collect prize money.

2005

Wie played her first professional event in the LPGA Samsung World Championship, where she played on a sponsor's invitation. Initially credited with a fourth-place finish and US$ 53,000, she was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard. A journalist reported she had illegally dropped the ball closer to the hole than its original lie the day after she completed her third round.

Wie played her second professional event at the Casio World Open on the Japan Golf Tour and shot four over par to miss the cut.

2006

Her third professional start was in January 2006, at the PGA Tour Sony Open at her home course at the Waialae Country Club, Hawaii; she missed the cut again, this time by four strokes.

In February 2006, the initial Rolex World Golf Rankings placed Wie third in the world, behind Annika Sörenstam and Paula Creamer. As of July 31, 2006, Wie ranked second behind Sörenstam. To remain in the rankings, she needed to accumulate a minimum of 15 world-wide professional women's tournaments in the preceding twenty-four months. She dropped off the rankings for a brief time during the spring of 2006. However, the procedure for calculating the Rolex Rankings was revised, effective immediately, on August 3, 2006. The "minimum tournament" requirement was eliminated, but a minimum divisor of 35 tournaments for calculating a player's ranking was added, meaning that any player who had accumulated points in fewer than 35 tournaments would have her ranking calculated as if she had played in 35. After the change, Wie's ranking dropped to 7th.

To open her first season on the LPGA, she earned US$73,227 for a third place finish in the Fields Open in Hawaii finishing one stroke off the lead, and US$108,222 for finishing in a tie for third in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, where she again finished one stroke off the lead.

In May 2006, Wie played the Asian Tour SK Telecom Open becoming the second woman (after Se Ri Pak) to make the cut at a men's tournament in South Korea. Wie reportedly received US$700,000 in appearance fees at an event that offered US$600,000 in total prize money. In all, she reportedly netted US$5 million in appearance and endorsement money for the two-week trip.

On May 16, according to the sponsoring United States Golf Association, Wie was the first female medalist in a local qualifier for the Men's U.S. Open. Weeks later, she competed against 152 players (135 professionals, including 48 PGA Tour players) in the final stage of U.S. Open qualifying at Summit, NJ vying for one of 16 available spots in the men's U.S. Open at Winged Foot G.C. Wie finished 59th and did not advance. However, the person she beat by 2 strokes in her local qualifier advanced in the Hawaii final stage qualifier. Wie said the reason she did not compete in the easier Hawaii qualifier was that the NJ qualifier was close to the LPGA Championship that week. Competing in the Hawaii qualifier would mean a no show at the LPGA.

In June, Wie tied for 5th in the LPGA Championship, finishing two strokes off the lead, and tied for 3rd in the US Women's Open again finishing two strokes off the lead. In July, she played in the LPGA vHSBC Women's World Match Play Championship where she lost in the quarterfinals 4 and 3 to eventual champion Brittany Lincicome.

July saw Wie play in the PGA John Deere Classic finishing the first round at 6 over par. On day two, her score rose to 8 over par for the tournament and 10 shots above the projected cut line. She withdrew from the tournament after the 9th hole, citing heat exhaustion. Two weeks later, she returned to the LPGA Tour, finishing in a tie for second at the Evian Masters, where she finished one stroke off the lead, and then finished tied for 26th at the Weetabix British Open, where she drew controversy again for grounding her club in a bunker, resulting in a two-stroke penalty. In a post-round interview, Wie said that she was not familiar with the rules and "knew the rule wrong." In September, she competed in the Omega European Masters on the men's European Tour where she finished last among the 156 competitors, 15 strokes over par for the first two rounds, missing the cut by 14 strokes. She still managed to draw large crowds; tournament organizers reported that many of the 9,500 spectators on the first day came to see Wie.

A week later she made her third appearance of 2006 on the PGA Tour at the 84 Lumber Classic. Wie finished 14 over par after two rounds, 23 strokes behind the leaders, the highest score for the first two rounds. Wie finished out 2006 by competing in the Samsung World Championship on the LPGA Tour, where she finished in 17th place in the 20-player field, 21 strokes behind the leader.

In her last event of 2006, Wie competed again at the Casio World Open on the men's Japan Golf Tour. She finished last among the professional players, some 27 shots behind the leaders. With the conclusion of the Casio tournament, Wie had played 14 consecutive rounds of tournament golf without breaking par – eight on the LPGA Tour, two on the European Tour, two on the PGA Tour and two on the Japan Golf Tour.

By the end of 2006, her first full year as a professional, she had missed the cut in 11 out of 12 tries against men, and remained winless in all 33 professional women's tournaments she had entered, the last 9 as a professional. In her 33 starts in LPGA events, she played 23 LPGA events since the start of 2004 up to end of 2006, and had 19 top-20 finishes in those 23 events, with three finishes outside the top 20 and one disqualification when in 4th position.

2007

In January Wie accepted her fourth consecutive sponsor's exemption to the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Hawaii. She missed the cut by 14 strokes, finishing third from last in the 144-player field, 25 strokes behind the second-round leader.

Wie's next competition was at the LPGA's Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika. After a four-month absence and reported injuries to both wrists, Wie shot 14-over par through 16 holes in the first round on May 31 before withdrawing. Prior to the withdrawal, LPGA rules officials were seen discussing the Rule of 88, which states that a non-LPGA member who shoots a score of 88 is forced to withdraw and is subsequently banned from LPGA co-sponsored events for the remainder of the year. Neither Wie nor the LPGA officials stated that her withdrawal was in response to the Rule of 88 and Wie said that she withdrew because she "tweaked [her] wrist in the middle of the round a bit." Some observers questioned this claim. One of Wie's playing partners, Alena Sharp, said, "She wasn't holding her wrist. I think she just had a bad day. If it was her wrist, why wait until the last two holes [to withdraw]?" Her other playing partner Janice Moodie confirmed that Wie had indeed tweaked her wrist. Moodie stated that she heard Wie say "Ouch!" after hitting her tee shot on the first hole, which was the group's 10th of the day. Wie said that was when she began feeling the pain. Moodie said "She didn't swing as hard from that point on." Moodie also added, "She was great to play with. Very friendly and respectful." Both Sharp and Wie's other playing partner, Janice Moodie, also questioned the involvement of Wie's father, B.J., who they said appeared to give Wie advice during the course of play which is against the rules and would result in a two-stroke penalty. However, after Wie withdrew, this became a moot point. Following her withdrawal on from the Ginn Tribute, Wie was seen two days later practicing at the site of the LPGA Championship in Bulle Rock, Maryland, which drew criticism from Ginn Tribute host Annika Sörenstam who said, "I just feel there's a little bit of lack of respect and class just to kind of leave a tournament like that and come out and practice here."

The next week, Wie played in the LPGA championship, a major on the LPGA tour. After a 2nd round 74, she made the cut. Wie slumped to an 83 in her third round. After a late decision whether she would participate in the 4th round citing her injury again, she decided to play, shooting a 4th round 79. Although finishing last of those who made the cut, 35 strokes behind the eventual winner, she continued her run of cuts made at LPGA majors which went to 13 cuts made in 13 LPGA majors played.

At the end of June, Wie entered the US Women's Open but withdrew midway through the second round after hitting her second shot out of the rough on the 10th hole. Her tournament score through 27 holes was 17-over par, 22 strokes behind the second-round leader. She cited a wrist injury as the reason for withdrawing.

At the Evian Masters played July 26-20 , Wie broke her year-long streak of 24 consecutive rounds at or over par by shooting a second-round one-under par 71 that left her in a tie for 28th half-way through the tournament. But she ballooned to a tie for 69th, after shooting 12 over par in the third round. She eventually ended the tournament 20 strokes behind winner Natalie Gulbis in third from last place of those who made the cut.

At the Women's British Open, one week later, Wie shot rounds of 73 and 80, missing the cut by two strokes. It was her first missed cut in an LPGA Tour event since 2003, and her first missed cut in a major.

Wie next played in the Canadian Women's Open, held from August 16-19, where she was invited as a sponsor's exemption. She shot rounds of 75 and 74 on the par 71 course, missing the cut by four strokes.

One week later, Wie played in the Safeway Classic, held in Portland, Oregon from August 24-26. She was again entered as a sponsor's exemption. After shooting rounds of 79 and 75, she missed the cut by six strokes and finished 21 strokes behind the second round leader.

From October 11 to 14, 2007, three weeks after beginning her freshman year at Stanford University, Wie played as a sponsor exemption in the limited field Samsung World Championship. She finished 19th out of the 20 players in the tournament, 36 strokes behind the winner.

In December 2007, Wie was ranked at #4 in the Forbes Top 20 Earners Under 25 with an annual earnings of 19 million dollars.

2008

On December 20, 2007, it was announced that Wie would not receive one of four available sponsor exemptions to play in the January 2008 Sony Open in Hawaii, an event she played in each year since 2004.

Also in December 2007, Wie's coach, David Leadbetter, had said that Wie planned to play in the 2008 SBS Open and/or the Fields Open in Hawaii the following week. When, on January 15, 2008, it was announced that she also did not receive an exemption to the SBS Open at Turtle Bay on the LPGA Tour beginning February 14, an event at which she had finished second in 2005. it became clear that she would not have the opportunity to play both events. On January 24, it was announced that Wie had received a sponsor's exemption to play in the Fields Open and would accept the invitation. She previously played in the event, which takes place at the Ko Olina Resort, referred to by the Golf Director as Wie's "home course," in 2006, and finished third. At the 2008 tournament, Wie shot rounds of 69, 73 and 78 and finished tied for 72nd, last among all players who made the cut.

Following the tournament Wie announced that she planned to withdraw from Stanford University at the end of the winter quarter in mid-March to focus full-time on golf. It was later announced that Wie had been offered, and accepted, sponsor exemptions to the Safeway International and Michelob ULTRA Open at Kingsmill tournaments on the LPGA Tour, to be played in March and May, respectively. On March 21, Wie announced that she had injured her wrist practicing the week before and would not be able to play in the Safeway International. The injury was described by Wie's agent as a non-serious sprain to her left wrist.

At the Michelob ULTRA Open at Kingsmill, beginning May 8, Wie shot rounds of 75 and 71, missing the cut by four strokes.

On May 27, it was announced that Wie would play in a Ladies European Tour event for the first time, accepting a sponsor invitation to play in the Ladies German Open later that week. She finished in sixth place at the tournament, seven strokes behind the winner, fellow eighteen year-old Amy Yang.

On June 9, Wie played in Rockville, Maryland at a sectional qualifier for the 2008 U.S. Women's Open. She finished in second place at the qualifier, earning one of the 35 qualification spots available at that qualifier. Her first round of the Open resulted in a score of eight-over-par 81. In the second round, Wie bogeyed the fourth, fifth and eighth on her way to a 10-over total of 156. The cut fell at four over with 74 players advancing to the third round.

On July 19, 2008, Wie was disqualified from the State Farm Classic for failing to sign her second round scorecard. She was playing in the event as a sponsor exemption. She was in the middle of the third round when the violation was discovered, but the event organizers decided to wait until the conclusion of that round to notify her that she was disqualified in order to give her an opportunity to explain what had happened. Had her second and third round scores stood, she would have started the fourth round at 17-under-par, one stroke off the lead and in contention for her first LPGA victory.

Two days later, on July 21, 2008, Wie announced that she had accepted an invitation to play again on the PGA Tour in the alternate field Legends Reno-Tahoe Open to be held July 31 through August 3. It would be Wie's eighth PGA Tour event; she missed the cut in all previous attempts. At the tournament Wie shot rounds of 73 and 80, missing the cut by nine strokes.

Wie had expressed her desire to attempt to earn membership on the LPGA Tour for the 2009 season by earning the equivalent of 80th place on the 2008 money list through her earnings at the events she played in through sponsor exemptions. When she failed to reach this goal, she entered an LPGA Sectional Qualifying Tournament. At the tournament, held from September 16 through 19 at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California, she finished tied for 4th place. This was sufficient to advance her to the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to be held in Daytona Beach, Florida in December, 2008.

Victories

Professional

  • none

Wie played her first professional event while still an amateur in April 2002. As of August 14, 2008, she had played in a total of 63 professional events as either an amateur or a professional:
49 against women: 48 on the LPGA Tour and 1 on the Ladies European Tour.
14 against men: 8 on the PGA Tour, 2 on the Japan Golf Tour, 1 on the European Tour, 1 on the Asian Tour, 1 on the Nationwide Tour, and 1 on the Canadian Tour.

Amateur

  • November 15–17, 2002: Hawaii State Open, Women's Division (Wie's last stroke-play victory) (67-71-70--208 (8 under), 13 strokes over Cindy Rarick)

Wie won several other Hawaiian local and junior events during the years 2000 through 2002.

She has never won a 72-hole stroke-play event at any level.

Results in LPGA majors

Tournament 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Kraft Nabisco Championship T9 LA 4 LA T14 LA T3 LA DNP DNP
LPGA Championship DNP DNP 2 LA T5 LA 84 DNP
U.S. Women's Open T39 T13 TLA T23 T3 LA WD CUT
Women's British Open DNP DNP T3 LA T26 CUT DNP

LA = Low Amateur
DNP = did not play
WD = withdrew
"T" = tied
CUT = missed the half-way cut
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10.

Professional record and earnings

Year Dates Tournament Tour Finish Margin Earnings ($)
2005 Oct 13-16 Samsung World Championship* LPGA DQ n/a 0
2005 Nov 24-27 Casio World Open Japan Golf Tour MC 1 from cutline 0
2006 Jan 12-15 Sony Open in Hawaii PGA MC 4 from cutline 0
2006 Feb 23-25 Fields Open in Hawaii LPGA 3 1 behind playoff 73,227
2006 Mar 30-Apr 2 Kraft Nabisco Championship LPGA T3 1 behind playoff 108,222
2006 May 4-7** SK Telecom Open Asian Tour T35 12 behind winner 4,303
2006 Jun 8-11 LPGA Championship LPGA T5 2 behind winner 57,464
2006 Jun 29-Jul 2 U.S. Women's Open LPGA T3 2 behind playoff 156,038
2006 Jul 6-9 HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship* LPGA T5 n/a 50,000
2006 Jul 13-16 John Deere Classic PGA WD n/a 0
2006 Jul 26-29 Evian Masters* LPGA T2 1 behind winner 255,333
2006 Aug 3-6 Women's British Open LPGA T26 13 behind winner 18,059
2006 Sep 7-10 Omega European Masters European Tour MC 14 from cutline 0
2006 Sep 14-17 84 Lumber Classic PGA MC 13 from cutline 0
2006 Oct 12-15 Samsung World Championship* LPGA 17 21 behind winner 12,578
2006 Nov 23-26 Casio World Open Japan Golf Tour MC 17 from cutline 0
2007 Jan 11-14 Sony Open in Hawaii PGA MC 14 from cutline 0
2007 May 31-Jun 3 Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika LPGA WD n/a 0
2007 Jun 7-10 LPGA Championship LPGA 84 35 behind winner 3,273
2007 Jun 28-Jul 1 U.S. Women's Open LPGA WD n/a 0
2007 Jul 26-29 Evian Masters LPGA T69 20 behind winner 6,626
2007 Aug 2-5 Women's British Open LPGA MC 2 from cutline 0
2007 Aug 16-19 Canadian Women's Open LPGA MC 4 from cutline 0
2007 Aug 24-26 Safeway Classic LPGA MC 6 from cutline 0
2007 Oct 11-14 Samsung World Championship* LPGA 19 36 behind winner 13,125
2008 Feb 21-23 Fields Open in Hawaii LPGA T72 20 behind winner 2,570
2008 May 8-11 Michelob ULTRA Open at Kingsmill LPGA MC 4 from cutline 0
2008 May 29-Jun 1 Ladies German Open LET 6 7 behind winner 13,563
2008 Jun 19-22 Wegmans LPGA LPGA T24 12 behind winner 18,887
2008 Jun 26-29 U.S. Women's Open LPGA MC 6 from cutline 0
2008 Jul 10-13 Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic LPGA T46 15 behind winner 4,831
2008 Jul 17-20 State Farm Classic LPGA DQ n/a 0
2008 Jul 31-Aug 3 Reno-Tahoe Open PGA MC 9 from cutline 0
2008 Aug 14-17 Canadian Women's Open LPGA T12 8 behind winner 36,475
Dates are span of competitive rounds, regardless of whether Wie participated in all rounds.
** = tournament shortened to three rounds due to rain.
DQ = disqualified
MC = missed halfway cut
WD = withdrew
* = limited field, no-cut event
Margin = strokes behind winner or cutline, not applicable in cases of withdrawal, disqualification or matchplay format.

Golf records

  • The youngest winner (male or female) of an adult USGA-sanctioned tournament – Age 13 (2003 Women's U.S. Amateur Public Links)
  • The youngest player to make a cut in an LPGA tournament and major – Age 13 (2003 Nabisco Championship)
  • The youngest player to play in a PGA Tour event – Age 14 (2004 Sony Open)
  • The lowest round by a female in a PGA Tour event (also the first female to score a sub-70 round in PGA Tour history) – 68 (2004 & 2006 Sony Open)
  • The youngest player to play in Curtis Cup history – Age 14 (2004)
  • The first female to qualify for a USGA championship that is generally played by males - Age 15 (2005 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship Pittsburgh sectional)
  • The youngest female to make a cut in any professional male tour event - Age 16 (2006 SK Telecom Open)
  • The first female to make a cut on the Asian Tour - Age 16 (2006 SK Telecom Open)
  • The first female medalist in a men’s U.S. Open qualifying tournament – Age 16 (2006 U.S. Open Local Qualifying at Turtle Bay Hawaii)

Education

Wie graduated from Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii in June 2007. On December 19, 2006, she announced that she would be attending Stanford University in the fall of 2007. She enrolled in September 2007 as a freshman. After attending Stanford for the fall 2007 and winter 2008 quarters of her freshman year, Wie took a leave of absence at the start of the spring 2008 quarter.

Because she is a professional golfer, Wie is not eligible under NCAA rules to play for Stanford's golf team.

Personal life

As of March 24, 2008, Wie was dating Stanford men's basketball star Robin Lopez, according to a sportsillustrated.com profile of Lopez and his brother. In an April 28, 2008 interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Wie denied reports that the two were dating, saying, "We're just friends. The whole thing kind of blew up and we were just talking to each other."

Criticism and controversy

Poor performance in men's events

Observers of golf have criticized Wie's efforts to play in PGA Tour events through sponsors' exemptions. Wie has made only one cut in a men's tournament, and has made no cuts on the PGA Tour. After missing the cut at the 2007 Sony Open by 14 shots, many sports critics began to doubt whether she ever will. Following Wie's poor performance at the 2007 Sony Open in Hawaii, AP golf writer Doug Ferguson suggested that her nickname be changed from "the Big Wiesy" to a more appropriate moniker, "the Big Queasy."

Use of exemptions

Professional golfers, fans, and media critics have remarked that allowing Wie to compete in PGA events takes away opportunities from more deserving golfers. However, a tournament sponsor has a maximum of only four completely unrestricted exemptions available, and those exemptions are often used to invite players (including amateurs) who can increase ticket sales and tournament visibility. The first four exemptions offered by a sponsor must be offered to PGA Tour players or other competitive players. By late 2007, the criticism over the use of exemptions had extended to Wie's participation in women's events on the LPGA Tour as well. Wie declined to enter LPGA Tour qualifying school after turning 18 and therefore would have to depend on sponsor exemptions to play in future LPGA tournaments. This decision drew criticism from golf fans and commentators.

Caddie turnover

Wie has employed at least nine caddies since her father stopped caddying for her in 2004. She created controversy when, after finishing tied for 26th at the 2006 British Open, her caddie Greg Johnston was fired over the phone by Wie's then-agent Ross Berlin. Johnston said he was "surprised and disappointed" at the firing and at the fact that "no one named Wie gave me the news." Wie employed several other professional caddies after Johnston, and also returned to using her father for the remainder of the 2007 season parting ways with caddie David Clarke after she missed the cut at that year's British Open.

Inappropriate clothing

Some fans and media have commented that Wie has increasingly dressed in inappropriate clothing during golf tournaments. These criticisms began in the summer of 2004 when Wie was 14 years old and increased after Wie began wearing Nike-provided clothing in 2006.

2007 wrist injury

In the first week of February 2007, it was reported that Wie hurt her left wrist in a fall while running, though when family members acting as her spokespeople were asked by the media, they declined either to give any details on the nature of the injury, other than to report that she was wearing a hard cast, or to state what treatment was done, citing privacy. Initially, her public relations staff reported that she would be away from golf for 4 to 6 weeks but this stretched until the end of May. In response to the lack of information and prolonged absence, some golf fans and LPGA players, including Brittany Lincicome, questioned whether Wie and her parents had fabricated the injury in order to give her a reason to take a break from golf. Further questions were raised about Wie's wrist injury when, in April 2008, she announced that she actually had three broken bones in her wrist, contradicting her agent's March 2007 announcement that the wrist was not broken.

2007 Ginn Tribute withdrawal

Further questions were raised about her wrist injury claim after Wie's withdrawal from the Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika in May 2007. With a score of 14 over par after 16 holes in round one on the par 72 course, Wie was in danger of being banned from all LPGA-sponsored tournaments for the rest of the year if her score reached 88, according to the LPGA's Rule of 88. LPGA officials were seen consulting with Wie's parents and agent who then consulted Wie prior to her teeing off to complete the last two holes. Wie immediately withdrew from the tournament, citing a "tweaked wrist." She denied that the Rule of 88 had anything to do with her withdrawal. Her playing partners, many fans, and media observers questioned whether Wie was being honest about the reason for her withdrawal. One of her playing partners Janice Moodie confirmed that Wie had indeed tweaked her wrist in Moodie's opinion. Janice Moodie stated that she heard Wie say "Ouch!" after hitting her tee shot on the first hole, which was the group's 10th of the day. Wie had said that was precisely when she began feeling the pain. Moodie said "She didn't swing as hard from that point on." As for Wie's purported petulance, Moodie added, "She was great to play with. Very friendly and respectful." Tournament host Annika Sörenstam criticized Wie's withdrawal from the Ginn tournament and her subsequent appearance to practice at the LPGA Championship, saying "I just feel there's a little bit of lack of respect and class just to kind of leave a tournament like that and come out and practice here." Further criticism was leveled at Wie and her parents accusing them of inappropriate behavior at both the Ginn Tribute tournament and at the LPGA Championship. In response, Wie said, "I don't really feel like I have to apologize for anything. I just have to take care of my body and move forward and only think of positive things."

References

External links

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