Wie’s success in Korea should silence skeptics
Michelle Wie became the first woman in 61 years to advance to the third round of an international men's tour event.
MICHELLE Wie now is in the history books at age 16 as the first woman to reach the third round in a men's professional golf event
on the Asian Tour. She is the first woman to survive the weekend cut in a tournament on an international men's tour since the legendary Babe Zaharias at the PGA's 1945 Los Angeles Open. Wie has proved she can compete with the men.
Wie had missed the cut in four PGA tournaments -- including two Sony Opens at Waialae Country Club -- the Japan Tour's Casio World Open, and in lower-tier men's events in the United States and Canada. But her 5-under-par finish after 36 holes easily -- or Wiesely, if you like -- advanced her to the third round at this week's SK Telekom Open at Seoul. The cut was at even par.
Earlier in the week, Time magazine included Wie among "100 People Who Shape Our World," citing her play in both men's and women's tournaments, her millions in endorsements and "her pinup looks and giggly charm -- deployable in English, Korean, Japanese and teenspeak." Awesome.
Her play in men's events has annoyed some golfers in both the PGA and LPGA, but even the detractors recognize that her mere presence in a tournament brings more attention -- and prize money -- to the event. Grumbling should subside after she wins her first women's tournament and plays on a weekend in a PGA event.
Wie turned professional in November, and she quickly was ranked second-best in the world behind Annika Sorenstam. Her $10 million in endorsements ranks her third among female athletes, behind tennis players Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams. Father B.J. Wie reportedly has been in talks about endorsing the Shinyoung Co. in South Korea.
Wie remains charming and unassuming, and her parents and handlers face a huge task in preventing a free fall. See Tom Cruise.
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