Final Words from the Wies

RSS

NORTH PLAINS, Ore. -- In typical teenage fashion, 13-year-old Michelle Wie was unsure whether her first U.S. Women's Open was a valuable experience.
 
'Yeah, I guess,' she said. 'Sort of.'
 
Wie, already grabbing attention with her 300-yard drives, got her first taste of controversy at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.
 
Her father and caddie, B.J. Wie, stirred things up by claiming pro Danielle Ammaccapane pushed his daughter Thursday on the No. 14 green over a breach of etiquette.
 
A day later he retracted the story, saying there was no physical contact. But he stood by statements that Ammaccapane berated his daughter after the round in the scoring tent.
 
Then on Sunday, B.J. Wie unexpectedly decided to hand his daughter's bags over to another caddie, and watch from behind the ropes.
 
'Just to give her a fresh atmosphere,' he explained as he watched his daughter play Sunday. 'It has been a very difficult week.'
 
Gary Gilchrist, the teenager's instructor, served as her caddie for the last round. He will also caddie for her in the U.S. Girls Junior in Fairfield, Conn., later this month.
 
'I'm having a good time,' B.J. Wie said as another face in his daughter's considerable gallery. He said he was unsure when, or if, he would take up her bag again.
 
Michelle Wie, a 6-footer from Honolulu, has grabbed attention with her 300-yard drives. Two weeks ago, she became the youngest player to win a USGA title for adults at the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links.
 
On the final day of her first U.S. Women's Open, Wie had a 5-over 76 to finish at 14 over.
 
She was paired for the final round with Stephanie Louden, a second-year player on the LPGA Tour who B.J. Wie said was like a big sister to his daughter. They had practiced together Wednesday.
 
'You need some people out here to look out for you,' Louden said. 'If I can serve that role, it's great.'
 
B.J. Wie first made his accusations about Ammaccapane on Friday, claiming the 16-year LPGA Tour veteran pushed, brushed or bumped his daughter on the No. 14 hole during the opening round. The teenager had apparently walked in the line of Ammaccapane's putt, but beyond the hole, something the Wies did not know was wrong.
 
A day later he said he misunderstood his daughter's account of the incident and that there was never any physical contact between the two.
 
Ammaccapane remained silent throughout the controversy, but released a statement Saturday saying she was 'upset and disappointed after being accused of something that was not true.'
 
'Throughout my career, I have always played the game with the utmost respect, professionalism and integrity,' Ammaccapane said. 'I appreciate Mr. Wie's honesty today in setting the record straight.'
 
Ammaccapane left the course Sunday without comment, passing within feet of B.J. Wie, after a 3-over 74. She finished 11 over for the event.
 
Michelle Wie would only characterize what Ammaccapane said as 'bad stuff.' She said she felt the 37-year-old should apologize.
 
But asked if she would accept an apology, Wie was emphatic.
 
'No,' she said.
 
It was the second time in three years that a teenager has been in the middle of an etiquette controversy in the U.S. Women's Open.
 
Morgan Pressel, 13 when she played at Pine Needles in 2001, frequently walked in the putting line of her playing partners. One of them, Heather Daly-Donofrio, tried to speak privately to Pressel about the breach, but the teen wouldn't listen.
 
'Whatever,' Pressel said at the time.
 
Daly-Donofrio also declined to comment two years ago, sensing she had nothing to gain by publicly criticizing a kid.
 
It also brought back memories of the 1998 U.S. Open, when Peter Kuchar angered Justin Leonard for his movement on the green and cheerleading while caddying for his son, U.S. Amateur champion Matt Kuchar.
 
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.