JOHN DEERE CLASSIC
Yesterday was a tough day at the course for Michelle Wie during the second round of the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill. Above, Wie looked down before her putt on the fifth hole.
Wie taken to hospital for heat exhaustion
The teen golfer withdraws midway through the second round, at 2 over par
SILVIS, Ill. » If there was any doubt Michelle Wie is beloved in the Quad Cities, it was erased yesterday when the 16-year-old golf prodigy from Hawaii fell ill and had to be hospitalized.
Wie withdrew midway through her second round in the John Deere Classic yesterday, suffering from heat exhaustion.
Wie was at 8 over par for the tournament and 2 over for the round when she decided not to continue.
But whether she still had a chance to make the cut among male PGA pros on this day quickly became a moot point.
"As with every player in the field, our priority is Michelle's health," tournament chairman Clair Peterson said.
For many in this Middle American community of four towns flanking the Mississippi River, two in Iowa, two in Illinois, the attachment is emotional.
Wie clutched her stomach as she walked to the ninth-hole green.
Even though Wie was here just a few days last year and this year, the Punahou School student seems to have been adopted as the area's favorite daughter. (Incidentally, another Punahou product, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, has an office in Moline and is clearly a favorite son.)
A fan yelled out, "Welcome home, Michelle," when she made a birdie on Thursday.
She practiced driving a car in an empty parking lot here last year while nearly making the cut.
She has charmed little children and grandmothers, not to mention a bunch of young guys who dressed up in grass skirts and leis for her yesterday, with their shirts spelling out UN-BE-WIE-AB-LE when they stood next to each other.
"She's near and dear to our hearts," said tournament volunteer Sharon McAllister. "We're watching her grow up."
Yesterday, her huge gallery and TV audience narrowly avoided watching her throw up.
Wie was transported by stretcher to an ambulance after withdrawing after the ninth hole. The hospital visit was a precaution required by Illinois law.
Wie was suffering from stomach pains, nausea, dizziness and breathing problems "that worsened as the round continued," her agent, Ross Berlin, said in a statement.
It became increasingly clear as the hot afternoon wore on that Wie was not feeling well.
She might have been ill due to a large lunch and the 90- degree heat, her father, B.J., said. He said she was uncomfortable from the time of her pre-round warm-up at the driving range.
Between shots during the later holes of her front nine, Wie sat on her bag with her head down and wandered around holding her stomach. Her caddie, Greg Johnston, supplied her with lots of water, but drinking it did not seem to help.
"She was trying to hang in there, but the pain was too much," her father said.
After the No. 9 hole, which she double-bogeyed, Wie consulted briefly with her parents before deciding not to go on.
She declined to make a statement before going to the medical trailer for treatment.
"I really can't do any press right now," Wie told a PGA official after the No. 9 hole. "I can't even talk."
Michelle Wie sat on a cart for her stomach trouble yesterday after the ninth hole during the second round at the John Deere Classic golf tournament. Wie stopped play after the hole.
Wie was in the medical trailer with her parents for about 20 minutes before she was loaded into an ambulance while strapped onto a gurney.
She was treated at the golf course by Dr. Benjamin Shnurman, who announced she was in stable condition before she was sent to the hospital.
"I think she'll do fine," he said.
Although Wie did not look well when she was put into the ambulance, the hospital visit was a precaution required by Illinois law -- because she had received a certain level of emergency medical service care, a state statute requires further monitoring at a hospital.
She was taken to the emergency room at Genesis Medical Center, just a few blocks away in Sylvis.
A hospital employee said Wie had "gastrointestinal complaints."
About an hour later, Berlin released a statement saying Wie was resting comfortably and would soon be released.
"She's been released and she's fine. Aloha," nursing supervisor Nancy Stone said at 7:30 p.m. Central time, about six hours after Wie began her round.
Wie has a week off before her next tournament, the Evian Masters in France.
With a breakneck schedule of nonstop competitive golf since the end of her junior year at Punahou early last month, it is clear she can use the break.
The day started with smiles for Michelle Wie, who talked with her caddie, Greg Johnston, yesterday as she waited for her tee shot on the first hole.
Wie was later transported by stretcher to an ambulance.