2003: Wie, 13: ‘Women strive harder’

Aiea, Hawaii

Someday, Michelle Wie says, what she was trying to accomplish Jan. 13 at the Monday qualifier for the Sony Open will be no big deal.

Someday, the 13-year-old believes, women golfers such as she and Suzy Whaley, who will play in this year’s Greater Hartford Open, will be the norm on the PGA Tour and will compete – and even beat – their male counterparts.

“I think someday we’ll be better,” said Wie, who finished at 1-over 73 from the men’s championship tees, but failed to earn one of four Sony spots up for grabs at the qualifier. “Women strive harder and they have better goals.”

Many who have seen her play don’t doubt her. Wie already is 5-foot-10 and hits 300-yard drives with regularity.

“She’s got a beautiful swing,” said Dick Mast. “It’s amazing she’s only in eighth grade.”

With the modern technology, equipment and training that’s available, he said he wouldn’t be shocked to see Wie alongside the men one day.

“She might be the next Tiger Woods of the ladies’ tour and might be able to play the men’s tour,” Mast said. “It would be something to see.”

Wie’s 73 at 6,787-yard Pearl Country Club left her tied for 47th in a field that included 12 PGA Tour and 12 Nationwide Tour players. After starting on the back nine, she made the turn at 1-under 35, but had bogeys on Nos. 1, 2 and 8 to fall from contention. She had three birdies during her round.

“I showed I can play,” said Wie, who competed as an amateur in three LPGA events last year and said she would likely try to qualify for the Sony again in the future.

“It was just the stupid mistakes that I had. I just have to have more experience, eliminate the bogeys and make the birdies.”

As a 10-year-old, Wie shot 84 at the qualifier for the 2000 Sony.

“I didn’t know much about the game, I just went out there and played,” she said. “This year I have more experience.”

Although she didn’t make the Sony field, Wie did follow Sunday’s final pairing of rookie Aaron Baddeley and Ernie Els at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.

What did she think of the purple plaid pants worn by the 21-year-old Baddeley, who lost to Els in a playoff?

“I have a pair like that,” she said. “I just don’t wear them when I play golf.”

– Staff and wire reports

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