Wie-mania hits South Korea
Hawaii golfer will play in a men's tournament
SEOUL, South Korea ó Michelle Wie arrived in South Korea for the first time as a professional golfer today to contest another men's tournament next week.
The 16-year-old from Hawaii, whose parents were born in South Korea, and who many Koreans regard as one of their own, will contest the Asian Tour's SK Telecom Open from May 4-7 at the Sky 72 Golf Club in Incheon, west of Seoul.
It will be the eighth time she's contested a men's tournament. She failed to make the cut in her previous appearances at men's events, including four tournaments on the U.S. PGA Tour.
"I feel really good (to be back)," said Wie in Korean. "I want to learn a lot (from the tournament), have a lot of Korean foods and have fun."
Wie was in South Korea as a 14-year-old in 2003 for the LPGA CJ Nine Bridges tournament, where she finished last in the 69-player field.
Wie was born and raised in Hawaii. She speaks Korean fluently, has a Korean name ó Wie Sung-mi ó and many of her relatives, including grandparents, live in South Korea.
Because of her background, many South Koreans consider Wie Korean. Local media seldom fail to include Wie among "Korean" golf stars playing in the United States and the domestic Yonhap news agency referred to her latest trip to Korea as a "visit to homeland."
Wie played in the January's U.S. PGA Tour's Sony Open in Hawaii and is scheduled to start in two more U.S. PGA Tour events ó the John Deere Classic in July and the 84 Lumber Classic in September.
No woman has made the cut on the U.S. PGA Tour since Babe Zaharias in 1945.