Wie SHOULD be in US Open

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U.S. OpenEverything about Michelle Wie is big. Big drives. Big money. Big expectations. Big belt buckles. Big earrings.
 
The only thing thats not big in relation to Wie is her list of accomplishments, and it would seem a small matter of time before that changes.
 
Two weeks ago, Wie made the cut in a mens tournament in South Korea, ultimately finishing tied for 35th in the rain-reduced event. She will take her next swings against the XY chromosomes this Monday, when she tries to make it through local qualifying for the U.S. Open.
 
Michelle Wie
Michelle Wie is looking to become the first female to qualify for a men's major championship.
One of Wies biggest dreams has been to compete in the Masters Tournament. But now that she is a professional, it is most unlikely that she will ever qualify for that particular major. And given the fact that the Green Jackets have little tolerance for publicity stunts, it is most unlikely that they will ever extend to her an invitation.
 
So, if Wie wants to compete against men on a major championship level ' and in a tournament in which she truly earned her spot, then she will have to focus on one of the two Opens ' the U.S. version or the U.K. one.
 
Shes already said that she will forgo an opportunity to qualify for this years Open Championship at Royal Liverpool. But she will attempt to make it into the field at Winged Foot.
 
This is the second time that Wie has undertaken such an endeavor. Last year, she shot 4-over 76 in a local qualifier at Turtle Bay Resort Golf Club, good enough for only second alternate honors.
 
But things should be different this year. They should be.
 
Wie should advance to sectional qualifying. It doesnt mean that she will, but she should.
 
Wie wants to be considered among the best players in the world. Not among the best female players in the world, but among the best players, gender aside, in the world.
 
The 16-year-old wants to be the Powerchild. And if she is the Powerchild then she should have no problem beating 40 non-descript professionals and amateurs, not one of whom is a PGA TOUR member ' or even a Nationwide Tour member, and most of whom are Hawaiian locals.
 
In fact, one of the 41 in the field at Turtle Bay is Carmen Bandea, a 15-year-old from Duluth, Ga., who is the only other female among the 8,584 entrants in U.S. Open qualifying.
 
Wie will tee off at 9:00 a.m. HST alongside fellow islanders Ryan Perez of Ewa Beach and Norman-Ganin Asao of Pearl City.
 
The Golf Channel will have the story covered, with live updates beginning at 4:00 p.m. EDT leading into the 7:00 edition of 'Golf Central.' 'Central' will continue updates and will add anaylsis of her performance. Updates will continue into 'Your Game Night,' which immediately follows 'Central.'
 
The late edition of 'Golf Central' will feature TGC correspondent Mark Rolfing, who is reporting from Kahuku, Oahu, Hawaii.
 
There are three spots available for advancement, and there is no reason why Wie shouldnt procure one of them. In addition to whatever confidence she has gained over the last year, she also has a great deal of familiarity with the course. She tied for second in the 2005 SBS Open at Turtle Bay on the LPGA Tour, shooting three straight 70s.
 
Just one should get the job done this time ' that was the medalist score a year ago.
 
Again, all this isnt to guarantee or predict Wies success; its to say that she should experience such success.
 
Wie hasnt yet reached the level where we believe that she will accomplish anything. Shes still at the level where we believe that she can accomplish anything.
 
And making it to the U.S. Open Sectionals is something that someone with her skill and desire ' and competing against a depleted field ' can and should do.
 
If she does, then its off to Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit, N.J., where she will compete in the 36-hole sectional qualifier on June 6. She will be one of 200 or so players battling for 30something spots into the U.S. Open at Winged Foot.
 
And if she can get through Stage 1, then theres no reason why she cant get through Stage 2. Granted she will be facing much stiffer competition, but there will be 10-times more spots available.
 
The Powerchild should be in Mamaroneck, N.Y., June 15-18.
 
Of course, not everyone will agree with this, arguing the fact that she a fine player ' for a girl, and not yet a winner ' and not yet ready to beat the men when it really counts.
 
The good thing for her is that she doesnt have to win. All she has to do is start with a top-3 finish, which is something shes more than capable of doing.
 
Wie has played 10 times on the LPGA Tour over the past two seasons and has six top-3s, including a pair of them in two starts this year.
 
Perhaps it wont happen this year. Perhaps not next year. But, it should happen at some point in her career ' which, by the way, is barely in its infancy.
 
And if it should happen this year, then it would most certainly be BIG ' and a big addition to that small list of achievements.
 
Email your thoughts to Mercer Baggs
 
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