Are Wie There Yet

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By now you know, Michelle Wie shot even par 72 on Monday at the USGAs local qualifier for the United States Open. That 72 was the low score by a shot and in advancing, the USGA believes Michelle is the first woman to successfully move through local qualifying.
 
Whether you are a huge Wie supporter (and there are many of you) or one of the detractors (and there are quite a few of those as well), you must give her credit. And I believe plenty of credit is deserved.
 
But now is when it gets interesting. Really interesting.
 
Michelle Wie
Michelle Wie is one step away from a spot in the 106th U.S. Open.
Our research tells us that 70 players are exempt from qualifying for the U.S. Open in New York next month. That leaves 86 spots available in the 156-person field. Thats right ' person.
 
According to the USGA, approximately 750 players are still with hope of reaching Winged Foot from among the 14 Sectional Qualifying sites.
 
So do the math. Wie is among 750 vying for a precious 86 spots in the field at what most believe is the most demanding test in major championship golf. Last year at Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit, New Jersey there were 84 players chasing just six spots in the U.S. Open field. And it figures that both numbers might go up this time around. The field at Canoe Brook will be set early next week. Reports have the number in the field at around 200, with 25 or fewer spots at stake. And the field will have major champions and multiple players with PGA TOUR and Nationwide Tour wins.
 
One day. 36 holes. A spot in the United States Openagainst the men. Good luck.
 
The possibility of playing at Winged Foot? Its the U.S. Open, the name speaks for itself, Wie said. Its one of a kind.
 
And the odds of ultimate success are not strong. Wie is attempting to do what just 30 players did last year by advancing through both local and sectional qualifying sites.
 
So are you in favor of the quest? Do you think the media is making too much of the story? Do you wish the coverage were less?
 
No matter how you fall on the question, June 5th will be a media circus. It will be big because it has never happened before. No woman has ever qualified to compete with the men at a United States Open. So where will the story fall among other events going on in sports?
 
The Yankees and the Red Sox begin the first of a four-game series at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, NY. The NBA and NHL playoffs will still be ongoing. But if you can believe it, aside from being the dominant story on The Golf Channel, the Michelle Wie story could lead ESPNs SportsCenter. It could be the talk of NBCs Today Show. It figures to be a part of ABCs World News Tonight. Like it or not, be prepared.
 
Wies been down this road before. Shes competed against the men, shes lived the circus. Shes handled the questions. And she doesnt seem that fazed by it all anymore.
 
Playing with the men, Im not sure whats going to happen. It puts me in an almost uncomfortable place, Wie said. Thats what makes me a better player.
 
And thats all Michelle is trying to do. Shes trying to challenge herself. Shes trying to become a better player. In fact, shes trying to become the best weve seen. And while shes made more cuts against the men than shes won professional tournaments against the women, you have to give her some credit for putting herself out there to be criticized.
 
All this aside, Wies not at Winged Foot yet. Not by a longshot. Every player in the field at Canoe Brook ' while marveling at her ability ' will be chasing their own hopes of a spot in the U.S. Open.
 
Understand that Ill sleep just as well whether Michelle makes, or misses the U.S. Open. And I, too, question the motives and involvement of her parents at times. At the same time, however, I looked to my parents for almost every bit of advice and support at the age of 16. I wasnt ready to go at it on my own ' and I dont think Wie should be expected to do it.
 
Cleary Wie wants the challenge. Clearly she has the ability to be the one to make history. All I think we should do is to consider the magnitude of the challenge, the potential magnitude of the moment and not the magnetic force between Wie and the media during her quest.
 
Make or miss, it will be big either way. Her history with and against the men says the odds are against her. I say we toss aside any negativity between now and June 6th when we have our result.
 
Which side are you on?

Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann