<
>

Wie defends right to play vs. men, eyes Ryder spot

9/5/2006 - Golf Michelle Wie

CRANS-SUR-SIERRE, Switzerland -- Michelle Wie defended her right to compete on the men's
tour and said she wanted to play in the Ryder Cup some day as
she prepared for this week's European Masters.

"I am not just doing it for the support I get, I am doing it
for myself and my own self happiness. I love playing men's
events and the challenge. I feel an adrenaline rush when I play
these events and it is a lot of fun."
-- Michelle Wie

Wie, making her first appearance on the men's European Tour,
will play alongside England's Nick Dougherty and Spain's Gonzalo
Fernandez-Castano in the opening two rounds on the
Crans-sur-Sierre course.

In nine previous appearances on the men's tour, Wie had
missed the cut in eight events before finally making her
breakthrough at the SK Telecom Open in Korea in May.

"There are going to be some people that aren't happy with me
playing in men's tournaments," Wie said as she looked ahead to
the start of the tournament on Thursday.

"I am not expecting 100 percent support every week but that
is the way the world works. There are going to be people that
support me and others that don't but I feel people here have
been very supportive and welcoming.

"I am not just doing it for the support I get, I am doing it
for myself and my own self happiness. I love playing men's
events and the challenge. I feel an adrenaline rush when I play
these events and it is a lot of fun."

Wie also said she would like to qualify for the U.S. Ryder
Cup team in the future.

"Hopefully, I will be able to play the Ryder Cup one day,
that would be awesome and I think it is totally possible," she
said.

"Anything is possible in the future ... we are starting to
get stronger and work out more and are mentally tough and we can
do it."

Wie tested her game on Tuesday when she joined European
Ryder Cup player Sergio Garcia in a practice round.

"Playing with Sergio this morning was awesome," she said. "It is the
first time playing with him and he is such a great player I
learned a lot playing with him today."

But Garcia believes the high school student from Hawaii will
struggle to make the halfway cut this week.

"Michelle is definitely an extraordinary player and hits the
ball quite a long way for a woman," said Garcia.

"Hopefully she will do well this week but if she had a
higher ball flight it would be a bit easier for her.

"It is not an easy golf course and her short game will have
to be sharp. She struggled today to hit some of the greens in
two."

Some of the game's leading players, including Australia's
Adam Scott and New Zealand's Michael Campbell, believe Wie
should first win on the women's tour before seeking to compete
alongside the men.

Wie has accepted an invitation to the PGA Tour's 84 Lumber
Classic next week and wants to play more against the men.

Wie also responded to Jean Van de Velde's call in
October to allow men to compete in the Women's British Open.

"My perspective on this is that the British Open is not
called the Men's British Open, it is the British Open," she
said.

"The PGA, it's called the Professional Golfers' Association.
There is no men's Professional Golfers' Association whereas the
LPGA is called the Ladies Professional Golfers' Association and
the British Open is called the Women's British Open so I think
it is very clear."