Originally created 02/02/05

Wie to play Evian; British Open likely



Michelle Wie has accepted an invitation to play in the Evian Masters in France, and a new policy adopted late last year by the LPGA Tour makes it possible for the 15-year-old to play in the Women's British Open.

That would give Wie eight starts on the LPGA Tour, including all four majors.

B.J. Wie said Tuesday that his daughter, a sophomore at Punahou School in Honolulu, has been offered a sponsor's exemption to play the Evian Masters for the second straight year.

Meanwhile, Golfweek Magazine cited a source close to the Ladies Golf Union as saying Wie would be offered one of the two invitations for top amateurs to the Women's British Open.

LGU chief executive Andy Salmon said only that an invitation to Wie is "being given due consideration," and B.J. Wie declined comment, saying any announcement should come from England.

"We hope to play back-to-back tournaments," B.J. Wie said, noting that the Women's British Open at Royal Birkdale is played one week after the Evian Masters.

Wie tied for 33rd last year at the Evian Masters, the only time she did not finish in the top 20 in her seven appearances on the LPGA Tour.

Non-members are allowed six sponsor's exemptions, but the U.S. Women's Open doesn't count.

Commissioner Ty Votaw said the LPGA board decided last year that the Women's British Open, like the U.S. Women's Open, should not count against the six exemptions.

That means Wie can play six LPGA Tour events, plus the two Opens. She is eligible for the U.S. Women's Open because she finished in the top 16 (tied for 13th) last year at Orchards Golf Club.

"It was basically a situation where it made sense to treat the two Open events the same," Votaw said.

Wie missed the cut at the Sony Open on the PGA Tour last month.

She will start her LPGA Tour season at the SBS Open at Turtle Bay in Honolulu on Feb. 24-26, then play the Safeway International in Phoenix (March 17-20), followed by the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first LPGA major of the year.

Wie also has accepted invitations to play in the LPGA Championship (June 9-12) and the Samsung World Championship (Oct. 13-16) at Bighorn.