Thirteen-year-old Wie Tries to Qualify for Sony
Wie shot a 1-over par 73, but failed to qualify for the Sony Open in competition Monday. Wie was the youngest and only female in the field of 96 players trying to make the four remaining slots for the event.
''I think someday we'll be better,'' said Wie, who played from the championship tees with the men. ''Women strive harder and they have better goals.''
Regan Lee and Andy Miller qualified for the Sony with a 65. Royden Heirakuji and Richard Pride each had a 66 and took the two other qualifying spots after a playoff with Gregory Meyer and Mark Worthington.
Wie finished tied for 47th from a field that included 12 PGA Tour players and 12 from the Nationwide Tour.
Wie, who began the round at the 6,787-yard Pearl Country Club on the back nine, made the turn at 35, but bogeyed Nos. 1, 2 and 8, dropping her out of contention. She also had three birdies in the round.
''It was just the stupid mistakes that I had,'' she said. ''I just have to have more experience, eliminate the bogeys and make the birdies.''
Wie, who played in three LPGA Tour events last year as an amateur, was paired with Puerto Rican Juan Rodriguez and Honolulu resident Robert Ota.
''If she keeps going the way she is, Annika better watch out,'' said Rodriguez, nephew of golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez.
Rodriguez said there were no distractions despite the media that followed them and being paired with a girl, almost a third his age.
''She's a very good player and she behaves herself really well on the golf course,'' he said. ''She just made a couple mistakes putting the ball, other than that she hit the ball pretty good.''
Rodriguez said he was competing against the course and not Wie.
''As far as she's concerned, I treated her like every other golfer and she did very well,'' he said.
Senior PGA Tour player Dick Mast also got a look at Wie -- who stands at 5-foot-10 and can drive the golf ball 300 yards. He said it would've been great for her to qualify.
''She's got a beautiful swing, it's amazing she's only in eighth grade,'' he said.
Mast said although there hasn't been a woman on the PGA Tour, given the technology, equipment and training, he wouldn't be surprised to see Wie alongside the men one day.
''She might be the next Tiger Woods of the ladies tour and might be able to play the men's tour,'' he said. ''It would be something to see.''
Last year, Suzy Whaley became the first woman to qualify for a PGA Tour event when her victory in a PGA sectional tournament -- even though she played from shorter tees -- made her eligible for the Greater Hartford Open.
Wie, who last year became the youngest player to earn a spot in an LPGA Tour event through a qualifier, said she'll most likely try to make the Sony Open again.
Monday was the second time Wie attempted to make the Sony Open. In the 2000 Monday qualifier -- when Wie was 10 -- she shot an 84.
''I didn't know much about the game, I just went out there and played,'' she said. ''This year I have more experience.''
Wie isn't eligible to turn pro until five more years, but doesn't plan to until she finishes college.
B.J. Wie, her father and caddie, said he's proud of his daughter's overall performance, but will need to work on reading the greens and putting.
Wie said she wasn't pleased with her play, but she was happy about something else.
''I showed that I can play,'' she said.
Paisley (61) leads Web.com Tour Championship
ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Chris Paisley birdied four of the last five holes for a 10-under 61 and the first-round lead Thursday in the season-ending Web.com Tour Championship.
The South African Open winner in January for his first European Tour title, Paisley played the back nine first at Atlantic Beach Country Club, holing a bunker shot for an eagle on the par-5 18th. On the front nine, he birdied the par-3 fifth and finished with three straight birdies.
''I think just all around was really good,'' Paisley said. ''I hit it well off the tee, which gave me a lot of kind of short irons into the greens and opportunities. I hit a lot of really good iron shots close, and then a few other bonus kind of things happened where I holed the bunker shot on 18 and holed a long putt on No. 8.''
The 32-year-old Englishman missed the cuts in the first three Web.com Tour Finals events after getting into the series as a non-member PGA Tour with enough money to have placed in the top 200 in the FedEx Cup. The final card went for $40,625 last year, with Paisley needs to finish in a two-way tie for fourth or better to mathematically have a chance to secure one of the 25 PGA Tour at stake.
''The nice thing was I won early in the year in Europe,'' said Paisley, a former University of Tennessee player. ''I've got the first two Final series events locked up, I think I'm in those. I'm not guaranteed to be in Dubai yet. But I just thought we have a house over here, my wife's American, my goal is to try to get on the PGA Tour, so it was a perfect opportunity to try and do it.''
Cameron Tringale and Canadian Ben Silverman were two strokes back at 63. Tringale is tied for 83rd in the PGA Tour card race with $2,660, and Silverman is tied for 85th at $2,600.
''I hit a lot of good shots and made some good putts,'' Silverman said. ''Actually, it could have been lower, but I'm not complaining. Missed a couple putts inside 6x feet, but I'm not complaining at all, it was a great round.''
Lucas Glover was at 64 with Ben Crane, Nicholas Lindheim, Matt Every, Trevor Cone, Denny McCarthy, Carlos Ortiz and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez. Carlos Ortiz and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez earned PGA Tour cards as top-25 finishers on the Web.com Tour regular-season money list, and McCarthy has made $75,793 in the first three Finals events to also wrap up a card. In the race for the 25 cards, Lindholm is 19th with $35,836, Every 30th with $25,733, Glover 40th with $17,212, and Cone 59th with $8,162
The series features the top 75 players from the Web.com regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and Paisley and other non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top-25 finishers on the Web.com regular-season money list are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. The other players are fighting for the 25 cards based on series earnings.
McIlroy likely to join PGA Tour PAC next year
ATLANTA – The upside of the PGA Tour’s sweeping changes to next year’s playoff finale, along with a host of other significant changes to the schedule, seems to be more engagement in circuit policy by top players.
Jordan Spieth served on the player advisory council this season and will begin his three-year term as one of four player directors on the policy board next year, and Justin Thomas also was on this year’s PAC.
Those meetings might become even more high profile next year.
“I'm not on the PAC. I'm probably going to join the PAC next year. Nice to sort of know what's going on and give your input and whatever,” Rory McIlroy said following his round on Thursday at the Tour Championship.
McIlroy said he spoke with Tour commissioner Jay Monahan about the transition to a strokes-based format for the Tour Championship starting next year. Given his take on Thursday to the media it must have been an interesting conversation.
“I like it for the FedExCup. I don't necessarily think it should be an official Tour win. I don't know how the World Ranking points are going to work,” said McIlroy, who is tied for fifth after a first-round 67 at East Lake. “There's a lot of stuff that still needs to be figured out. But in terms of deciding the FedExCup, I think it's good.”
Thomas (67) happy to feel no pain in wrist
ATLANTA – When Justin Thomas arrived at East Lake he didn’t have very high expectations.
After injuring his right wrist during the final round of the BMW Championship he spent last week in south Florida getting therapy after being diagnosed with a case of tendinitis and little else.
He said he didn’t hit a full shot last week and didn’t expect much out of his game at the finale, but was pleasantly surprised with his play following an opening 67 that left him tied for fifth place and two strokes off the lead. But most of all he was pleased that he didn’t feel any pain in his wrist.
“I thought that I may not be playing very well because of my preparation being able to hit as few balls as I have, but no, in terms of pain, it's not an issue,” he said.
Thomas explained that he tested the wrist earlier this week to be sure he was pain-free and conceded he considered not playing the Tour Championship in order to be as healthy as possible for next week’s Ryder Cup.
“If it would have hurt at all, I wouldn't have played,” said Thomas, who will be a rookie on this year’s U.S. team. “No. 1 most important part is my future and my career. I don't want to do anything that's going to put me out for a while. But to me, second most important is Ryder Cup. I would rather not play this week and play the Ryder Cup and be fresh and make sure I'm going to get as many points for the team as possible.”
Fowler 'pain free' and tied for Tour Championship lead
ATLANTA – The most important member of Team USA at next week’s Ryder Cup may be the team trainer.
Justin Thomas began the season finale nursing a case of tendonitis in his right wrist and Rickie Fowler skipped the first two playoff events after being slowed by a right oblique injury.
Neither player seemed impacted by the injuries on Thursday at the Tour Championship, with Thomas tied for fifth at 3 under and Fowler tied for the lead with Tiger Woods at 5 under par.
“I needed the 2 1/2 weeks or so of just sitting around really not doing a whole lot,” said Fowler, who tied for eighth last week at the BMW Championship. “It was definitely the right call. If I would have played through the first or second playoff events, there was really no benefit, especially looking at the ultimate goal being ready for the Ryder Cup and to have a chance to be here at East Lake.”
Being rested and pain-free is a vast improvement over how he felt at the PGA Championship last month, when he underwent therapy before and after each round and had to wear tape just to play.
“It's nice to be back swinging pain-free because I wouldn't have wanted to deal with how it felt during PGA week for a continued amount of time,” said Fowler, who finished his day with a bogey-free closing nine to secure a spot in Friday’s final group with Woods.