Golf News for Friday, April 21, 2006 | Daily Golf Blogs

Golf for Beginners: Is Michelle Wie hurting Annika's popularity?

I can probably think of 20 questions to ask Morgan Pressel right off the top of my head without once mentioning the name "Michelle Wie". So why did reporter Dana Gross-Rhode, during a pre-tournament interview for this week's Florida's Natural Charity Championship hosted by Nancy Lopez, inject the following?

"On the Men's Tour there has seemed to be over the last few years a growing sort of trend if Tiger doesn't play in a tournament, the tournament is not an upper echelon event…is there a sense in your eyes that in the media sort of spotlight if Michelle (Wie) is not playing in a tournament that it doesn't reach that hype status?"

Whether she likes it or not I believe Pressel is finally getting accustomed to hearing "Big Wiesy's" name carefully threaded into her own interview. Morgan answered graciously, almost resigned to this fact, "when she (Wie)doesn't play, it hurts the event so much. Even Annika, when Annika doesn't play, it hurts these events."

Wait a minute! When did Annika Sorenstam, the top player on the LPGA tour, start playing second fiddle to a 16-year old amateur? The LPGA hype fades fast if Wie doesn't play a certain week and all the girls on tour seem to be resigned to it, even Annika, who stated at the Safeway International, "There's a lot more younger players coming up, and they've got strong games and they're making a lot of noise".

The ladies are now starting to put their egos aside which makes sense because publicity injects revenue so they can all benefit.

Oh, and in case you're interested the Florida's Natural Charity Championship is not even being televised this weekend. Even host Nancy Lopez' name couldn't garner enough interest.

Annika Sorenstam is defending her "gimmie" last year as the field was blown away. Over $200,000 will go to the champion. My bet is that even with Paula Creamer and Natalie Gulbis in the mix the winner just might be Seon Hwa Lee who has quietly taken second place three times so far this season and is leading the charge to win the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award.

But with Michelle Wie not playing this week do LPGA golf fans really care?

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