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Michelle Wie

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Michelle Sung Wie (Korean Wie Seong-mi Hangul: 위성미 Hanja: 魏聖美, born October 11, 1989 in Honolulu, Hawaii)(IPA pronunciation of surname: ) is an American professional golfer. She is perhaps most famous for her controversial attempts to make a cut at a PGA Tour event using sponsor's exemptions. In 2006, she was named in a Time magazine article, "one of 100 people who shape our world." Since September 2007 she has been a student at Stanford University.

A year later, she became the youngest player to make a cut in an LPGA event at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, shooting a 66 in the 3rd round, tying the amateur record for a women's major championship, and placing her in the final group alongside Annika Sörenstam and eventual winner, Patricia Meunier-Lebouc. A few months later, Wie earned an historic victory at the Women's Amateur Public Links tournament, becoming the youngest person ever, male or female, to win a USGA adult event. In 2004 Wie became the fourth female, and the youngest ever, to play in a PGA Tour event at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Playing on a sponsor's exemption, she shot 72-68 to finish at even par, missing the cut by one stroke.

Wie played her first professional event in the LPGA Samsung World Championship, where she played on a sponsor's invitation. Initially credited with a fourth-place finish and US$ 53,000, she was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard. A journalist reported she had illegally dropped the ball closer to the hole than its original lie the day after she completed her third round.

In May 2006, Wie platyed the Asian Tour SK Telecom Open becoming the second woman (after Se Ri Pak) to make the cut at a men's tournament in South Korea. Wie reportedly received US$700,000 in appearance fees at an event that offered US$600,000 in total prize money. In all, she reportedly netted US$5 million in appearance and endorsement money for the two-week trip.

On May 16, according to the sponsoring United States Golf Association, Wie was the first female medalist in a local qualifier for the Men's U.S. Open. Weeks later, she competed against 152 players (135 professionals, including 48 PGA Tour players) in the final stage of U.S. Open qualifying at Summit, NJ vying for one of 16 available spots in the men's U.S. Open at Winged Foot G.C. Wie finished 59th and did not advance.

In her last event of 2006, Wie competed again at the Casio World Open on the men's Japan Golf Tour. She finished last among the professional players, some 27 shots behind the leaders. With the conclusion of the Casio tournament, Wie had played 14 consecutive rounds of tournament golf without breaking par – eight on the LPGA Tour, two on the European Tour, two on the PGA TOUR and two on the Japan Golf Tour.

Professional golfers, fans, and media critics have remarked that allowing Wie to compete in PGA events takes away opportunities from more deserving golfers. However, a tournament sponsor has a maximum of only four completely unrestricted exemptions available, and those exemptions are often used to invite players (including amateurs) who can increase ticket sales and tournament visibility. The first four exemptions offered by a sponsor must be offered to PGA TOUR players or other competitive players.


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