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Notes Big Wiesy Already Feeling Like a Pro

PALM DESERT, Calif. -- Michelle Wie didn't have to wait until she tees off Thursday at the Samsung World Championship to realize she was playing as a pro.
``Just the other day I got my first tax form,'' she said Tuesday. ``I was excited about that. It's not something you should be excited about, but it's pretty cool for me.''
The other sign Wie was now a pro was her bag, with the Sony logo and her name.
``I was so excited when I got my name on my bag,'' she said. ``Usually when you're an amateur, you can't have your name on your bag.''
It already has been a whirlwind week for Wie, who turned pro last Wednesday in Honolulu, then celebrated her 16th birthday on Tuesday. The staff at Bighorn Golf Club brought her a huge birthday cake with 16 candles at the end of her press conference. As she bent over to blow out the candles, her father said from the back of the room, ``Make a wish.''
By all measures, that wish was granted a week ago when Wie turned pro.
``It's my dream job,'' Wie said.
B.J. Wie said his daughter celebrated her birthday earlier this week with friends in Los Angeles. And what to get the $10 million girl who presumably has everything?
``For my birthday, I got a lot of new gadgets from Sony,'' Wie said. ``That was really exciting for me, getting a lot of new phones and Walkmans. I felt like a little girl on Christmas.''
Of course, since she signed an endorsement with Sony, it could be Christmas every day.
Colin Montgomerie is back where he always believed he belonged.
He is atop the Order of Merit on the European tour, and has already accumulated so many points that he should comfortably made the Ryder Cup team next year without having to be a captain's pick. Better yet, he has soared 68 spots to No. 14 in the world ranking.
But it didn't happen overnight. And his resurgence has taken a toll.
``This is the most I've traveled in my life this year -- by far,'' Montgomerie said during the American Express Championship, where he tied for third.
He didn't have much of a choice. Montgomerie was as low as No. 82 in the world ranking this year, and he was so desperate to get into the top 50 to qualify for The Players Championship and the majors that he traveled all over the globe in search of ranking points.
He started his year in Singapore, then onto Melbourne, and a quick trip from London to Los Angeles to play the Nissan Open. After he missed out on The Players Championship, he went to Jakarta for a final effort to make the Masters, and came up short.
When he got home from San Francisco on Monday, Montgomerie already had traveled about 98,000 miles.
And there are still places to see, people to meet, points to amass. By the end of the year, he will have traveled close to 125,000 miles.
``What is the offseason?'' Monty said. ``China, Japan, Hong Kong, L.A. I've got to go to all those places. Did I say China, Japan, Hong Kong, L.A.? Bloody hell. Crazy situation, but here we are.''
Michelle Wie is not the only woman with designs on competing against the men.
Wie, who already has played five times against the men, was at Bighorn Golf Club on Tuesday preparing for her professional debut on the LPGA Tour at the Samsung World Championship.
About 10 minutes down the road on the Greg Norman Course at PGA West, Isabelle Beisiegel was playing the first round in the first stage of the PGA Tour qualifying tournament.
This is nothing new.
Beisiegel went to Q-school last year and finished last among 78 players who finished all four rounds with scores of 84-80-80-79. The Canadian is listed this year as ``Izzy'' Beisiegel. She did not return messages left on her cell phone.
After this week, her next event likely will be LPGA Q-school.
Beisiegel made only two cuts this year -- the last one in March -- and is 172nd on the money list with $6,653.
The idea that players compete in the Ryder Cup for country instead of cash might be driven home next year the way the schedule is shaping up.
European tour officials say the HSBC World Match Play Championship in England, worth $1.8 million to the winner, will be held the week before the Ryder Cup in Ireland. The week after the matches is the American Express Championship in London, which pays $1.3 million to the winner.
In one respect, the schedule makes sense.
The World Match Play Championship is trying to attract all the top players, but Tiger Woods had a busy international schedule late in the year, while Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson chose to play the PGA Tour. Several U.S. players, assuming they qualify, might be inclined to go to Europe early to get acclimated.
Then again, some players fear that playing as many as 144 holes over four days might leave them worn out the week before the Ryder Cup -- although the matches don't start until Friday.
It would make sense to stage the American Express after the Ryder Cup with all the top players already there.
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said the American Express did well at Mount Juliet in Ireland in 2002 when it was played the week before the Ryder Cup. It will be held at The Grove next year.
``I think London is going to be great,'' he said. ``It's 25 minutes from downtown, and it's a great facility. I think that will be good, the Ryder Cup will be great and HSBC will do just fine.''
Because Jason Gore won three times on the Nationwide Tour to earn an immediate promotion to the big leagues, the Nationwide Tour will award PGA Tour cards to the top 21 players on the money list instead of the top 20. ... The Senior British Open will return next year to Turnberry, where Tom Watson won in 2003. ... Fresh off a successful Solheim Cup last month, Crooked Stick will remain on the major scene by getting the U.S. Senior Open in 2009. That will give it major events every two years, with the U.S. Women's Amateur going there in 2007. ... The Abu Dhabi Golf Championship next year will be the 36th country on the European tour's schedule.
Counting only the four majors, three World Golf Championships and The Players Championship, Tiger Woods has won 20 of the last 50 times. No one else has won more than twice in these events over the last seven years.
``They're asking me to buy lunch a lot more often.'' -- Michelle Wie, on how her friends at high school reacted to her turning pro.
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