The British Open is next week but the John Deere Classic near the Quad Cities has become the center of the golfing universe this week as 15-year-old Michelle Wie tries to accomplish what no woman has yet, make the cut at a PGA Tour event.Two weeks ago Wie was in contention at the women’s U.S. Open before fading on the final day. She had no qualms about accepting a sponsor’s exemption into the Deere Classic.
Wie says she didn’t try to qualify. She says it makes a lot of sense, as she says if someone offered you 100 dollars you’d rather take it than working for it, sothat’s why she accepted the exemption. She looks forward to the chance to be around the PGA Tour players. She says they have great touch around the greens and she says it motivates her to work out to match their strength. Wie says she wants to play well and does not view this as a stunt. She says it’s not a short term thing and in the long run she wants to play on the tour. She says she’s always wanted to play with the guys, and chose baseball over playing softball early on, as she says that’s one of her characteristics.
Wie knows she faces a big challenge. She says she feels like she has nothing to lose and is the underdog and can go out and have a lot of fun.
Former Drake standout Zach Johnson is in his second year on the tour and played a practice round with Wie. Johnson was asked if she has a chance to make the cut. He says, “Oh yeah, I think she can even be in contention, there’s no doubt. She a phenom,” he says. Johnson says there’s nothing wrong with showcasing Wie and says it’ll be good for the event and he thinks she can play really well. Wie has been playing on the LPGA Tour since she was 12 and Johnson says she is very mature and approaches the game like the pros. He says, “Throw her sex aside, you have a phenomenal talent,” Johnson says. He says,”They don’t come around very often, there’s only so many Michelle Wies, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordons, whoever the athlete is.” He says you have to find an arena to showcase them. The first round of the Deere Classic begins Thursday morning.