No regrets for feisty Wie

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:23 AM ET

Michelle Wie sounds ready for a battle.

The star-crossed 18-year-old was feisty during a give-and-take with reporters yesterday as she endured yet another cross-examination about her career choices.

Wie enters this week at the CN Canadian Women's Open likely needing to finish at least in the top five to earn a full exemption on the LPGA Tour for next season. She is using up her last of six sponsor's exemptions this week and an unexempt player like Wie needs to win the equivalent of 80th place on the LPGA money list to earn her card for next season. Wie has earned $26,288 and 80th place on the list is currently $109,713 (which could go up, obviously. It was $117,128 last year). Fifth place here pays $92,812 of the $2.25-million US purse. Even that might not be enough. A solo fourth pays $115,312.

If Wie fails to crack the top 80, her only route to full-time status on the LPGA Tour would be to go to qualifying school. She has been existing on sponsors' exemptions on the LPGA Tour and some men's tours, no doubt to keep her profile high and satisfy her corporate masters at Nike and Sony. which are paying her handsomely to fly their colours.

According to Forbes.com, she is the top earner among women golfers at $12 million a year, $1 million more than Annika Sorenstam.

Wie bristled when she was cross-examined again yesterday about her decision to turn pro at 16 and forego her college eligibility (she's a sophomore this fall at Stanford; but can't play golf there).

Q: If you had that choice, if you could go back in time and do that, go to Stanford three years ago instead of turning pro...

MICHELLE WIE: "I would still be in high school. I would have to graduate high school first to get to college, you know. That's how it works."

Zing. Of course, the questioner was asking about not turning pro and keeping the option of playing college golf open, but Wie was clearly tired of the questioning.

Q: I meant before turning pro. I'm sorry.

MICHELLE WIE: "Like I said, it's a decision I made and I don't regret it. At that time, I wanted to go to Stanford and play professional golf. I didn't want to give up one or the other. I have a lot fun doing golf."

Wie has been beset by wrist injuries and a number of embarrassing rules gaffes, the latest when she failed to sign her scorecard and was disqualifed at The State Farm Classic last month. That was critical because she was tied for second at the time after rounds of 67-65-67 and appeared headed for a decent payday, perhaps enough to vault her within the top 80. She also ticked off Sorenstam by withdrawing from her tournament citing an injury and showing up a couple of days later to practise at the next venue. Last year, when she flirted with "Rule 88," which stipulates a non-LPGA member who shoots 88 or higher won't be allowed in another tournament that year, she pulled the chute at 14-over after 16 holes.

But her performance at the State Farm Classic gave another glimpse of her enormous potential.

"I've just kind of learned how to be patient with myself and just kind of accept things," she said. "Try not to be perfect and just enjoy the game again. Learning how to play pain-free again."

HITCH HERE

Columbus Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock is here to root for Corina Kelepouris of Drayton Valley, Alta.

'EMBARRASSING'

Morgan Pressel gave a clinic yesterday morning on behalf of Callaway at the Royal Ottawa Golf Club and hit something that rhymes with "clank" with her pitching wedge. "Wow. That was embarrassing," said the 20-year-old to her audience and related how she did the same thing in tournament play in Phoenix with a 6-iron.

She had admitted earlier, "my swing is a bit of a mess right now."

PRO-AM TODAY

The players are divided into two draws for today's championship pro-am. Wie is off at 7:30 a.m. off the first tee, Paula Creamer at 8:30 off the first, Sorenstam at 9 a.m. off the first and Lorie Kane at 9:20 off the first and Cristie Kerr off the 10th at the same time. In the afternoon, world No. 1 Lorena Ochoa is off the first tee at noon, while Suzann Pettersen is off the 10th at the same time, McDonald's LPGA champ Yani Tseng is off the first at 12:10, Pressel at 12:30 off 10 (don't stand to the right of the tee ... I'm just saying) and Hamilton's Alena Sharp is off 10 at 1 p.m.


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