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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Michelle Wie’s first Pro tournament- Not a happy finish

She was disqualified Sunday due to a improper drop she took during Saturday’s round. The mistake wasn’t discovered till Sunday.

Such things have happened to the best golfers on tour. Michelle wasn’t cheating, not like some now golf television personality. (Cough cough…) It was unfortunate, but Wie even said she learned from the experience. If in doubt, get a rules official.

PALM DESERT, Calif. - Michelle Wie walked off the 18th green with her head held high. It wasn’t her best golf, but it was good enough for fourth place — a respectable way to start her professional career. Nearly two hours later, with a stunned look on her face and the tears still not dry, she tried to explain a bizarre sequence of events that made her debut memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Wie thought she would be cashing her first check. Instead, she was embroiled in a rules dispute that got her disqualified Sunday in the Samsung World Championship.

“I’m pretty sad, but, you know, I think I’m going to get over it,” Wie said. “I learned a lot from it. It’s obviously not the way I wanted to begin, but it’s all right.”

Everything went all wrong when she finished with a 2-over 74, leaving her 10 shots behind Annika Sorenstam, as dominant as she has been all year, responded to all the hype around the 16-year-old phenom from Hawaii by turning a four-shot lead into nine shots at the turn, building it as large as 10 shots and then closing with a double bogey from the desert for a 3-under 69.

Wie’s troubles stemmed from the day before, when she took a drop from a Gold Lantana bush to the left of the par-5 seventh green, took a penalty drop for an unplayable lie, and escaped with a par.

Two rules officials escorted her to the seventh green after her final round Sunday, and she was asked to show where the ball disappeared into the bush, and where she took her drop.

They determined it was too close to the hole — 3 inches too close according to Wie, about a foot according to the rules officials. That’s a two-shot penalty, so she should have added two strokes to her third-round 71.

Ultimately, she was disqualified for signing an incorrect card, which cost her $53,126 in prize money.

“I learned a great lesson,” Wie said. “From now on, I’ll call a rules official no matter where it is, whether it’s 3 inches or 100 yards. I respect that.”

Michael Bamberger, a reporter for Sports Illustrated, told tour officials Sunday afternoon that he was concerned about the drop. Rules officials Jim Haley and Robert O. Smith reviewed tape from NBC Sports before taking Wie and caddie Greg Johnston to the seventh green after the tournament ended Sunday.

“If I had to make the ruling based on the videotape, to me it was inconclusive,” Smith said.
He had Johnston and Wie show him where the ball was in the bushes, then where they dropped. They paced it off, then used string to measure the distance and determined it to be slightly closer.

“The Rules of Golf are based on facts,” Smith said. “They had to tell us where it was. The fact was, the ball was closer to the hole by 12 to 15 inches.”

Bamberger was on the seventh hole Saturday when Wie took her drop, then paced off the distance from the hole after Wie, in the final group that day, went to the eighth tee. He asked her after the third round how she determined where to drop the ball, and Wie said she used “the triangle thing to make sure that you’re not closer.”

Even after her disqualification, she felt she did nothing wrong.

“I was honest out there,” she said. “I did what I thought was right. I was pretty confident. If I did it again, I’d still do that. It looked right to me. But I learned my lesson.”

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