Wie Takes Another Swing at History

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2006 John Deere ClassicSILVIS, Ill. -- When Michelle Wie tells her friends back home in Hawaii she made the cut, their reaction is usually indifference.
 
If she calls them this week, she might hear more enthusiasm.
 
'My friends don't care, actually, so I don't know why I call them,' Wie said, laughing. 'I'll call them and be like, `Hey, I just made the cut.'' And this is their reaction: 'You just made the cut? What's the cut?'
 
This week, the cut is a place in history.
 
Wie's next shot starts Thursday at the John Deere Classic, when she tees it up on the PGA TOUR for the fifth time, hoping to become the first woman since Babe Zaharias in 1945 to make the cut.
 
Wie looked as though she belonged at last year's John Deere, when she was one shot better than the cut line with momentum on her side. Then came a double bogey on her 15th hole with two shots into a bunker and three putts from 20 feet. Her next shot sailed far right of the green, smacking off a cart path. And after missing the cut by two shots, it was time to go home.
 
What makes her think she can stick around all four days this year?
 
'I made a couple bad decisions coming into the final holes, but I was only 15,' Wie said Tuesday. 'I can make mistakes when I'm 15. Hopefully, I learned from those mistakes that I made last year, and hopefully, I won't do them this year.'
 
Wie feels as if she's on the brink of something special.
 
She's closing in on her first professional victory, and first of any kind since she won the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links at age 13.
 
She has finished a combined five shots out of the lead in three LPGA majors this year, lipping out a 10-foot birdie putt on the final hole at the Kraft Nabisco Championship to miss out on a playoff. And the last time Wie played against the men, she made the cut on the Asian Tour, finishing 12 shots off the lead in the SK Telecom Open.
 
Now, she's back at TPC Deere Run.
 
She's comfortable with the course. And defending champion Sean O'Hair predicted she'll make the cut after Tuesday's practice round with Wie, Zach Johnson, and Jason Day.
 
Johnson said Wie is hitting the ball farther than last year. And the rest of her game is fine, too.
 
'She's going to have a bunch of opportunities, and she's just a phenomenal talent,' Johnson said. 'She's good.'
 
And good for the tournament, O'Hair said.
 
With most of the top golfers preparing for the British Open, Wie brings attention to an event that would probably slip by quietly, otherwise.
 
'If you watch the ratings this week, they're going to go sky high,' O'Hair said. 'And it's great for the event. There's no negative part to it.'
 
The expectations are high. And Wie shrugs them off, saying, 'That's natural.'
 
'I'm just out here for myself, and my parents still love me even though I don't win tournaments,' she said, laughing. 'It's great.'
 
There were the inevitable questions about her tastes in fashion and music and her position as a role model.
 
For the record, she wore a purple Nike shirt with white stripes and a black cap, with large earrings. She has 'a lot' of sunglasses. And she's listening to alternative, Bon Jovi, Black Eyed Peas and Korean music these days.
 
Her message to other young women is: 'If golf is really what you want to do, then do what you want to do. You don't have to follow any, I guess, rules. You don't have to do what other people do.'
 
Wie is attempting to rewrite the rules this week, to clear a barrier. She came close to making the cut a year ago. And she has come close to winning on the women's tour.
 
'People's expectations are going to go up,' she said. 'But I just feel like I'm playing very well right now, playing very solid, and it's going to happen.'
 
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