Fresh off a disqualification on the LPGA Tour, Michelle Wie has decided to tee it up against the men, again.
Wie will play next week in the Legends Reno-Tahoe Open, the first time she'll play on the PGA Tour this year, tournament organizers said. It will be her eighth time playing on the PGA Tour, and she has yet to make a cut. The only time Wie has made money playing against the men was on the Korean Tour, in 2006, at the SK Telcom Open.
“It's not every day that a woman is given the opportunity to play on the greatest tour in the world,” Wie said in a statement. “This is a tremendous opportunity for me to learn from these great players and take those lessons into the future to becoming the best player I can be on any tour. This is another step in the process of making me a better player.”
Wie, who is 18 and attends Stanford part time, has no status on any tour. She has only one sponsor's exemption left this year. She will be playing her seventh and final LPGA Tour event of this year at the CN Canadian Women's Open in August.
The Reno-Tahoe Open starts July 31 at Montreux Golf & Country Club. The Nevada tournament is one of the weakest fields on the PGA Tour, held opposite the World Golf Championship in Ohio. Steve Flesch won the Reno-Tahoe Open last year.
“This will be a great experience for the community to see a player like Michelle in this setting,” tournament director Michael Stearns said in a statement. “Michelle is getting her game together, she's getting back in the swing of things and we have no problem extending her this opportunity.”
Wie showed signs of improvement this past weekend at the State Farm Classic in Illinois. She was a shot off the lead going into the final round when Tour officials discovered that she had left the scoring area without signing her scorecard after Friday's second round. Wie finished her round Saturday, and after officials spoke with her about the scorecard problem, she was disqualified.
A win or high finish would have all but guaranteed her enough money to finish in the top 80 LPGA players this year, the cutoff for automatic inclusion in next year's tour.
There's been speculation Wie would concentrate solely on women's competition, especially after last year when she injured both wrists and made only two cuts.
Wie's chances of securing a 2009 LPGA Tour card now rest with her winning roughly $80,000 in her final tournament, which probably would take a top-three finish. Otherwise, she could be headed to the first of two stages of qualifying.
“I think the qualifying conflicts with school, so I probably won't go to that,” Wie said last month at the U.S. Women's Open in Minnesota. But that was when she had greater hopes of winning enough money to become exempt for next year.
Her father made it sound as though the PGA Qualifying Tour, better known as Q-School, was a distinct possibility at the time.
“What other options do we have?” he said.