Dueling golfers may meet again in Portland
- Jason Vondersmith
- Portland Tribune - Sports
Columbia Edgewater may host Wie and Ammaccapane in fall
The next encounter for Michelle Wie and Danielle Ammaccapane could be in the Safeway Classic, Sept. 26-28, at Columbia Edgewater Country Club.
Wie, the 13-year-old Hawaiian sensation, has accepted a sponsor's exemption to the tournament. Ammaccapane, a 1998 Classic champ, has been a regular there.
Who knows how Ammaccapane feels ÑÊshe hasn't said ÑÊbut Wie retains some bitterness toward the 37-year-old pro after their confrontation during the U.S. Women's Open at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.
Ammaccapane scolded the youngster for her and her caddie dad's breach of etiquette in Thursday's first round, then apologized by playing the hot-tempered 'Italian' card.
Wie did not accept it, saying, 'She has a reputation for doing that.'
The teenager, who played Sunday's final round with a replacement caddy for her father, B.J. Wie, took another jab at Ammaccapane after the tournament.
'There's a fine line between really mean players and super nice players like Lorie Kane, Grace Park and Christina Kim,' she said.
And to think, all could have been avoided if: a) Ammaccapane would have done the professional thing and advised Wie of etiquette early in the opening round or b) the Wies would have done their homework.
Perhaps ego got the best of both sides.
Off to the mall
Wie will take the next two weeks off for a vacation that will include shopping in Los Angeles with $300 she earned from her mother for winning the recent U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links title.
She'll play in the U.S. Girls' Junior, July 21-26, in Fairfield, Conn., where she probably will hire a caddie Ñ fathers aren't allowed to caddy for their kids in that event.
B.J. Wie has been caddying for Michelle to save money, but his days on the bag, at least in pro tournaments, may be over after the Ammaccapane flap.
A draw in Boise
Wie will play in the Boise Nationwide Tour men's event Sept. 18-21 at the invitation of Jeff Sanders, the Portland promotions guru who runs the tournament.
Sanders has been trying to cultivate a relationship with the Wies Ñ they stayed at his mother's home in Portland during the Open Ñ and an appearance generates 'publicity, people, spectators,' he says unabashedly. 'It's my business, man.'
Sanders estimates that he'll sell 10,000 more tickets to the men's minor tour event because of Wie's appearance. He says 75,000 typically attend the event.
He doesn't deny that Wie, not even in high school yet, qualifies as a freak show.
'Golf history in the making,' he says.
About 300 media credentials will be issued for the Boise tournament, up from 30 last year.
He says Wie can make the cut at the 6,700-yard course 'if she can harvest her power.'
Still, Wie shot 14-over at Pumpkin Ridge and probably will face triple the resentment among Nationwide pros. Sure, she can drive the golf ball, but let her at least drive a vehicle before allowing her to play among the wolves.
Crowd count down
All signs indicate that the U.S. Women's Open was less than successful from a business standpoint. Crowds amounted to about half of the 1997 total of 123,800 by one unofficial estimate. The United States Golf Association failed to legitimize the business side by not releasing 2003 official numbers, as it has done in past years.
The USGA and Pumpkin Ridge have serious concerns about Peter Jacobsen Productions' financial handling of the event. Although PJP was given only one year's notice to run the Open, wheras most majors get five or six, the Beaverton company had its plate full by trying to finance both the LPGA major and the Tradition in September.
Don't be surprised if the USGA pulls the plug on the 2006 U.S. Senior Open at Pumpkin Ridge, which PJP signed on to run. The company hasn't backed off its plans to run the Tradition in the same year.
USGA spokesman Marty Parkes says the USGA has been thrilled with Pumpkin Ridge and promises another USGA national championship Ñ the Open was the club's fifth since 1996 Ñ in the near future.
Parkes says Pumpkin Ridge could still be up to host the 2010 U.S. Open, with the main factor being whether the course can satisfactorily challenge Tiger Woods and his fellow players.
Song and dance
Hooray for Aree Song! She finished with the second-lowest Open score in history among amateurs, a 285, second to Grace Park's 283 in 1999. And headline writers all over the country cheer that they don't have to squeeze her old name, Wongluekiet, into the paper.
By the numbers
Sunday's round, in which only Park and Kelly Robbins, broke par, saw 20 of the 59 players card 77s or worse. Irene Cho had an 87. Pumpkin was hard and fast, and the
USGA's pin placements destroyed most of the remaining field.
Wie ranked first in driving distance (281.1 yards per drive), ahead of Elizabeth Janangelo (274), Sorenstam (272) and Park (271.1). But Wie hit the fairway only 40 percent of the time, last among the 59 finalists. At least she got her rough work in.
Christina Kim hit 90 percent of the fairways (first in the tourney) and 71 percent of the greens in regulation (second), but her putter let her down. She ranked third-to-last in putting average. She tied for 22nd in the tournament.