RICHMOND, Texas – Michelle Wie’s breakthrough victory created a bidding frenzy Tuesday night at the LPGA Tour Championship pro-am pairings party.
Michael Maggi, 43, an energy trader from Houston, successfully bid $22,000 for the right to play golf with Wie in Wednesday’s pro-am.
Maggi said he came to the pairings party determined to win the bid but never expecting he would have to pay more than $10,000. Technically, Maggi wasn’t bidding on Wie. The auction, complete with a professional auctioneer in a cowboy hat, was for the right to make the first pick at the pairings party.
“Everyone knew that was going to be Michelle Wie,” Maggi said.
Wie, who won her first LPGA title Sunday at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, was there to watch the frenzied bidding. She said she couldn’t quite fathom someone paying that much to play golf with her.
“I was thinking maybe $50,” Wie cracked.
Maggi said he didn’t mind paying double what he budgeted.
“I felt better than my wife did about it,” said Maggi, whose wife stood anxiously beside him during the heated auction. “She wasn’t quite as enthusiastic.”
Maggi paid the entire bidding fee for his foursome, which included his friends, Mark and Jenny Murdoch of Houston and John Phillips, a club professional at Richmond's Shadow Hawk Golf Club. The team shot 16-under but didn't place among the top three in the pro-am.
'Michelle was great to play with,' Maggi said. 'I think the highlight was after John stubbed a chip and Michelle says, `At least you hit it straight, John.''
The $22,000 bid by Maggi went to a good cause, the Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital’s orthopedic services division. LPGA pro Stacy Lewis had spine surgery at the Hermann Hospital to repair the damage caused by scoliosis. Lewis’ mother is a nurse at the Hermann Hospital’s Woodlands branch.
Kristy Elliott, the hospital’s community relations director, said Wie's high fetching price helped the hospital far exceed its financial projections for the night. More than $30,000 was raised at the pairings party.
'Anything over $5,000 would have been great,' Elliott said.
There was only bidding for the first pick at the pairings party but money also was raised in raffles and other ways.