Michelle Wie, the World’s number three player according to the Rolex women’s golf ranking, will make her season debut today in Hawaii. You’ll be able to see the tournament on The Golf Channel.
The tournament is one of eight that Wie—a professional, but not a member of the LPGA— will be able to play in this year through sponsors exemptions.
It will be a good chance to see if the LPGA season is going to live up to the hype. The tournament will feature nine of last year’s top ten LPGA players (Sorenstam is conspicious in her absence), and also the promising new rookies. If we see some of these playing in the last couple of groups on Sunday, then there a lot of hope for things.
I’m wondering, however, what the leadership of the LPGA really thinks about Wie’s presence. I’m sure that the tournament and the sponsors are thrilled. But I think that if Wie wins, or in any way validates her number three ranking, it could throw a cloud over the rest of the season. Every time she is not in a tournament (and she will be absent more often than not), the outcome will be somewhat suspect. Critics can then say that so and so was the winner, but that Wie wasn’t in the field, the same way that any victory without Annika is a little suspect. It will be worse, though, because Wie is not an LPGA member.