All Signs Point Toward Wie Turning Pro


All signs point toward Michelle Wie turning pro in time for the Samsung World Championship next month, which begins just a couple of days after her 16th birthday.
The tournament will be Wies final LPGA Tour event of the year. Still, her father remained guarded about his daughters future plans.
Everyone seems to know what Im doing, B.J. Wie said last week from his office at the University of Hawaii. Nothing is firmed up. I have not made any decisions. Were still working on a number of things.
Golf World magazine, citing a source involved in ongoing endorsement negotiations who requested anonymity, reported on its Web site Tuesday night that Wie will declare herself a pro before the end of the month to minimize distractions in her pro debut.
B.J. Wie did not immediately return a telephone call Tuesday seeking comment on the report.
His daughter turns 16 on Oct. 11, two days before the start of the tournament in Palm Desert, Calif.
She is not expected to petition LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens to waive the tours age requirement of 18, but will take six sponsors exemptions on the Tour, plus whatever she can get on the PGA Tour, and in Europe (men and women) and Asia (men and women).
Had she taken prize money this year, Wie would have earned $640,870, enough to be 12th on the LPGA money list in just seven tournaments.
The junior at Punahou School in Honolulu still holds to her dream of playing on the PGA Tour one day, but her father said her first priority is to become an LPGA Tour member.
Michelle will not bypass the LPGA, her father said. She will never use the LPGA as a training ground. She will play continuously on the LPGA. At some time, she will try to get her PGA card through the seven maximum exemptions, or if that doesnt work out, go through qualifying. But we dont know when that time will be.
He said he is still poring through offers from management agencies, potential endorsements and trying to figure out her best path, but appears to be moving cautiously.
Theres so many things to take care of, Wie said. Im just an ordinary professor. Im trying to be conservative. If I made a mistake, and she finds out I made a mistake, shell blame me forever.
Tiger Woods no longer has to share one record with Tom Watson.
With seven weeks left in the season, Woods has clinched PGA Player of the Year, a points-based award handed out by the PGA of America since 1948.
It was the seventh time in nine years Woods has won the award. Watson won it six times during an eight-year span.
The PGA Player of the Year award gives 30 points for majors, 20 points for The Players Championship and 10 points for all other PGA Tour victories. It also awards as many as 20 points depending on where a player finishing on the money list and in scoring average.
Woods cannot be caught because he won two majors, which carries a 50-point bonus.
The only other players to win the award since Woods' first full season in 1997 were Mark O'Meara, a double major winner in 1998; and Vijay Singh, who won the PGA Championship and eight other tournaments last year.
The PGA Tour's award is a vote of the players and will be decided after the Tour Championship.
Mike Donald missed a 10-foot par putt to win the 1990 U.S. Open. Bob May was on the cusp of winning the 2000 PGA Championship until Tiger Woods made a 6-foot birdie, then beat him in a playoff. No one will forget Jean Van de Velde's triple bogey on the last hole at Carnoustie in '99 British Open.
None of those players ever won again.
That's what makes the leaderboard at the U.S. Open this year so intriguing. Jason Gore was three shots out of the lead and playing in the final group, but stumbled to an 84. Olin Browne also was three shots behind, and he shot 80.
Instead of disappearing, both are headed to Kapalua for the winners-only Mercedes Championships -- Browne by winning the Deutsche Bank Championship two weeks ago, Gore by winning the 84 Lumber Classic on Sunday.
The other guy at Pinehurst -- two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen -- shot 81 to blow a three-shot lead. He recovered, too, not only by winning the International, but winning twice more overseas.
Ryan Moore was running out exemptions. Now he's closing in on a PGA Tour card.
The former U.S. Amateur champion showed all it takes is a few good weeks to avoid Q-school. He tied for second in the Canadian Open, then tied for 17th at the 84 Lumber Classic. That pushed his earnings to $512,900, allowing him unlimited exemptions the rest of the year.
Moore is playing this week in the Texas Open, his seventh start since turning pro. His money is equivalent to No. 123 on the PGA Tour money list, and he only has to finish equal to 125th or better at the end of the year to earn exempt status next year. The last American to earn his PGA Tour card without ever going to Q-school was Tiger Woods.
International captain Gary Player had asked Ernie Els to come to Virginia for the Presidents Cup, but the Big Easy is staying home in London to continue physical therapy from knee surgery in August. ... Bob Panasik, for years the answer to the trivia question as the youngest player to make the cut on the PGA Tour, was inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame over the weekend. Panasik was 15 when he made the cut in the 1957 Canadian Open. He won national title at all levels -- the Canadian Junior, two Canadian PGA Championships and three Canadian Senior PGAs. ... U.S. Women's Open runner-up Morgan Pressel takes her first step this week toward the LPGA Tour. She will be in the first stage of qualifying at Mission Hills, site of the Kraft Nabisco Championship. The top 30 advance to the final stage of Q-school.
Of the 60 players who have competed in the Presidents Cup since its inception in 1994, Mark Brooks is the only player to have never earned a point.
``It was hard after Solheim. Everybody wants to go drink and I'm designated driver.'' -- Paula Creamer, on the limitations of being a 19-year-old rookie on the LPGA Tour.
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