For Wie, membership will have its privileges in 2009
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida -- After the final group left the 18th green and all the golf was finished for the week at LPGA Q-school, a fan held up a white poster with black writing. It said, "Yes Wie Can."
That was an appropriate reference to that other Punahou School graduate, Barack Obama, because the road to Michelle Wie's LPGA Tour card Sunday was nearly as knee-knocking as the road to the White House.Wie walked up the final fairway nervously scanning the leaderboard, afraid she didn't do enough to make the 20-player cut. She was thinking to herself, "I need to see three letters on that scoreboard right now," she recalled after the round. Wie stressed over her final par putt, thinking she had to make it. Then she approached the scorer's tent, only to be intercepted by her caddie, who said, "Make sure you sign that card." Wie is here this week in large part because she forgot to sign her card at the State Farm Classic, resulting in a disqualification. And even after she emerged from the scorer's tent, Wie asked her mom over and over again if she had really made it, worried something else had gone wrong. Sure, she entered the day far ahead of the cut, but for a while it looked like she would self-destruct again. She began the day with three straight bogeys -- scores that would have been worse had she not been on a forgiving course.
"I steadied the ship," Wie said later.The rest of her round was mercifully unspectacular. Stacy Lewis -- an LPGA Rookie of the Year favorite to be sure -- raced ahead to finish 18-under and win the event. Wie tied for seventh, finishing 12-under over the five rounds. That was good enough. So it's official: Michelle Wie gets a mulligan. "I legitimately went to Q-school," she said after her round. "I took my medicine." And that may mean détente. The Tour will benefit hugely -- Wie and her buzz may be exactly what commissioner Carolyn Bivens needs to get some new momentum for her organization and some new job stability for herself. And Wie has done something to reach out an olive branch to the tour she never really lauded. Even Sunday she said, "I respect [the top women's golfers] 100 percent. Women's golf gets better and better." There goes her career as an LPGA "freelancer," which she called herself during her first year as a professional in 2006. "I always felt like I was on the outside," Wie said, "no matter how well I played. It's a clean slate. I feel really good about it."
LPGA Tour Q-school
1. Lewis (-18)
2. Yang (-15)
3. Grzebien (-14)
T-4. Bader (-13)
T-4. Giquel (-13)
T-4. Oyama (-13)
T-7. Wie (-12)
T-7. Strom (-12)
• Final scores
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2008 LPGA TOUR Q-SCHOOL FINALS
Michelle Wie has contended in women's majors and nearly made the cut of a PGA Tour event. One thing she's never owned, though, is official status on any professional circuit. That is, until she finished tied for seventh at 2008 Q-school.
What: LPGA Tour Q-school final stage
When: Dec. 3-7
Courses: LPGA International -- the Legends and Champions courses
Location: Daytona Beach, Fla.
Field: 140 players
The Future• Adelson: Great expectations for Wie in 2009
Day 5• Adelson: Wie starts '09 season with 'clean slate'
• Watch: Wie discusses earning her Tour card
• Wie earns card; Lewis wins Q-school | Scores
Day 4• Adelson: Wie proves again her worth to LPGA
• Wie 1 off the lead with 18 to play | Scores
Day 3• Adelson: Wie might be shaken, but not stirred
• Wie's 72 leaves her in decent shape | Scores
Day 2• Adelson: Wie goes old school at Q-school
• Wie a contender after two rounds of Q-school
Day 1• Adelson: Wie steady as she goes in first round
• Wie opens with 69 on tough Q-school course