The inter-gender spotlight shines on the Nationwide Tour this week.
Thirteen-year-old phenomenon Michelle Wie will test her game against the guys in the Albertsons Boise Open.
Wie is the third female to play in a mens professional tournament this year; though, this is her second such attempt. She missed the cut in last months Bay Mills Open on the Canadian Tour.
Annika Sorenstam was the first woman in 58 years to compete on the PGA Tour when she missed the cut in the Bank of America Colonial in May. Suzy Whaley, a Connecticut club professional, then performed admirably, but also missed the cut in the Greater Hartford Open in July.
The mixing of X and Y chromosomes on a golf course wont end with Wie. Laura Davies is scheduled to play in the Asian Tours Korean Open in early October, while Jan Stephenson is set to become the first woman to play in a Champions Tour event at the Turtle Bay Championship the same week.
Whaley is the only one of the five who earned a spot into her respective field ' the others were give sponsors exemptions
Of course, officials offer such invitations to increase their tournaments exposure. And, with the exception of basketballs LeBron James, Wie is the most hyped teenager in all of sports.
In addition to her experience on the Canadian Tour, she has made four cuts in five starts this season on the LPGA Tour, with her best finish coming in a tie for ninth at the Kraft Nabisco LPGA Championship, where she was the youngest player ever to make the cut in an LPGA event.
Wie won this year's U.S. Womens Public Links Championship, becoming the youngest player to capture a United States Golf Association title.
Add to all of this the media saturation, the constant demands, and the massive expectations and its easy to wonder: Is it too much for a ninth-grader?
Nancy Lopez, for one, thinks so.
Its not uncommon for talented amateurs ' regardless of age ' to experiment on the professional level.
That doesnt concern Lopez. What does, however, is Wies desire to regularly compete against male competition.
If I had a daughter her age, would I want her competing against guys? I wouldnt, Lopez said.
The reason I wouldnt is because shes not going to win ' I dont think. And I dont think she will even when she gets bigger and stronger.
If I had a daughter her age, I would want her to play all of her amateur golf she could play, win everything she can win. Thats making her get better, giving her confidence.
Thats not to say Lopez, a 48-time LPGA Tour winner, believes that the separate genders, at times, shouldnt mix.
If someone had asked me (to play against the men) when I was playing my best golf ' like they did Annika ' I would certainly be inclined, she said.
I think Annika went for the right reasons; I would have gone for the same reasons: to see how good I really was at that time, comparing myself against the guys.
The 46-year-old Lopez, who had earned Hall-of-Fame status two years before Wie was born, got her first up-close encounter with the prodigy in Mondays Kraft/Nabsico Shoot-Out.
Lopez said she looked forward to the meeting. But she had some advice.
I think she should beat the women first, Lopez said. Shell get better and better if she takes it nice and slow. I think she has a better chance of being a great player if she works slowly.
'She has a lot of time in front of her.'