Wie will bypass Potomac for public links, father says

She'll decline PGA offer, defend women's amateur

Golf

January 21, 2004|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN STAFF

Michelle Wie will apparently choose Williamsburg over Washington.

According to the player's father, the 14-year old sensation from Honolulu who nearly made the cut in last week's Sony Open will defend her title in this year's U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links championship in Williamsburg, Va., rather than accept a sponsor's exemption to another PGA Tour event the same week, the $4.8 million Booz Allen Classic at Avenel in Potomac.

"Her intention is she wants to defend," B.J. Wie told the Associated Press yesterday.

Though not surprised by Wie's decision, Kemper Sports CEO Steve Lesnik, whose company runs the PGA Tour event, said he still plans to send an invitation to Wie in recognition of her performance last week.

Wie shot rounds of 72 and 68 for an even-par 140 and missed the cut by one stroke while becoming the youngest player ever in a PGA Tour event. Wie was the fourth female ever to play in a PGA Tour event, the third in the past year, after Annika Sorenstam at the Colonial and Suzy Whaley at Hartford.

"We would support her decision [to defend]," Lesnik said. "As we said yesterday, it is a custom in our sport to defend titles. We're still going to send her a sponsor's exemption because we want to show her how much this tournament admires what she has done."

The Booz Allen Classic, formerly called the FBR Capital Open (and for years the Kemper Open) is scheduled for June 24-27. The women's amateur public links will be played at the same time at The Golden Horseshoe Golf Club, considered one of the best courses in the country.

Wie was the youngest player ever to win a U.S. Golf Association event with her victory last year.

Wie's father said last week that his daughter would likely play in six LPGA events this summer, including the Evian Masters in France.

The Booz Allen Open will likely need an attraction for its field this year because the tournament will be played the week after the U.S. Open.

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