Originally created 09/26/03

Young star Michelle Wie returns to Oregon



PORTLAND, Ore. -- While Annika Sorenstam is having the year of her career, Michelle Wie is busy launching hers.

The LPGA's present and future are both in Oregon this week for the LPGA Safeway Classic at Columbia Edgewater Country Club.

Sorenstam won this tournament last year but that seems like a lifetime ago. Since there have been two wins in majors, an appearance on the PGA Tour, and the recent Solheim Cup.

"I feel like I've been everywhere," Sorenstam said. "I've been to Asia, I've been on the men's tour, and I've been playing Solheim. And then later in the year I'm going to play the Skins Game. I mean, the spectrum.

"I've been everywhere it seems like."

Wie, the long-driving 13-year-old phenom, is making her second trip to Oregon this year. She also played in the U.S. Women's Open at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in nearby North Plains.

It also has been a busy year for the 6-footer from Hawaii. Including an appearance on the Canadian tour, Wie will have played in nine professional tournaments - with both men and women.

Wie is coming off an appearance last weekend in the Nationwide Tour's Boise Open, where she missed the cut.

Her last trip to Oregon - for the Women's Open - was tumultuous. In addition to playing in a major under the international spotlight, Wie and her father got into a public dispute with LPGA Tour veteran Danielle Ammaccapane.

B.J. Wie, who was his daughter's caddie for the event, accused Ammaccapane of pushing his daughter on the green and then berating her in the scoring tent after their first round for a breach of golf etiquette.

B.J. Wie later retracted comments that Ammaccapane pushed his daughter, saying he misunderstood his daughter's version of the events, but stood by other statements.

For the Open's final round, B.J. Wie decided not to be his daughter's caddie, citing the distractions of the week.

Michelle Wie said she had no hard feelings about the experience.

Last year Sorenstam shot a 17-under 199 on the 6,327-yard northeast Portland course in a one-shot victory over Kate Golden.

Sorenstam is coming off an emotional victory for Europe in the Solheim Cup at the Barseback Golf & Country Club in her native Sweden.

"I've obviously still got a lot of adrenaline still going from the Solheim Cup two weeks ago, but I'm ready to play for myself this week."

In addition to the Solheim Cup, Sorenstam made history in May at the Colonial as the first woman in 58 years to play on the PGA Tour. Then she won the Women's British Open, her second victory in a major this year, to complete the LPGA career Grand Slam.

In October, Sorenstam will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

"Every year just seems to get more special. And obviously I'm very thankful for that and enjoy it, it's just - I just don't want to take it for granted," she said. "I want to be able to enjoy it as well. Who knows if I'll ever have another year like this?"

After this tournament, Wie gets a two-week break before going to Korea for the Sports Today CJ Nine Bridges Classic, which will be her seventh and final LPGA Tour event of the year.

Right now she's focused on this weekend.

"I like this course. I mean, there's some holes where you have to hit a 3-wood and you're comfortable. There's a lot of trees, but it's not too narrow," she said. "It's just a pretty comfortable range."