Breaking a few days of silence over her controversial withdrawal from the Ginn Tribute last week, embattled golf star Michelle Wie answered her critics today, and said "I don't think I have anything to apologize for."
Wie met with reporters and led off the press conference with an unsolicited response to mounting allegations that he she withdrew from the tournament - which was hosted by Annika Sorenstam - not because she had tweaked a healing wrist, as she explained last week, but to avoid posting score of at least 88, which would have disqualified her from playing on the LPGA Tour for the remainder of the year, including this week's McDonald's LPGA Championship.
More and more Tour players are saying Wie's withdrawal was to avoid the Tour's so-called "88 rule," which Wie flat out denies as "ridiculous."
Here is what she had to say to reporters.
MICHELLE WIE: Before answering any questions, I'd just like to clarify a couple of things.
The reason why I withdrew from last week was because of my left wrist injury, and you know, I should have quit earlier. I should have stopped playing when I tweaked it on the 10th hole. But, you know, as stubborn as I am, I just kept on playing because I wanted to play. It was my first event; I was like, hell no, I'm not quitting, I can do better than that. And I just kept on going, but I regret not quitting before.
When Greg came up to me, he asked me how I was and I was like, you know, I'm not doing so good. It hurts to play and I really want to play next week and I don't think I can play tomorrow. And after I said that, I was just like, then why am I playing? At least save it, save my wrist for next week, and I really want to play in the U.S. Open, too. And I felt like if I hit one more shot -- I had two holes remaining. If I played those two holes, I don't think I would be here today playing this week.
So I think it was a good judgment call. It was time to shut down my wrist. I feel like I haven't been sharing a lot of information about my injury or the conditions of my wrist. But at first when I hurt my wrist, I didn't really know what was going on. So I didn't want to tell the media; I didn't want to tell you guys what was happening and go back and say, no, know, it wasn't that, it was this and confuse everyone.
I didn't know what was going on. The injury was very confusing, so I didn't want to let the media know or anyone know until I was completely sure. Now I'm completely sure and I'm fine with telling my injury and telling what went wrong. But I didn't want to say anything last week because it wasn't good for my mental stage and I was really excited to get out there and that's all I was thinking of.
You know, my wrist injury was just very unfortunate. I was in California at my aunt's house, and just thought it would be good to work out. I was like, I haven't worked out in a couple of days, "Oh, I think I should go out to the park and work out." And I was running, which is quite stupid; people that know me, I can't run at all.
So I just had this sudden wind of let's just try running and I felt over something, it was about 6:30 in the morning and my brain doesn't function. So, you know, I unfortunately fell. Obviously I was facing a right hand injury at that time, so being the great athlete that I am, I just tried -- I kind of like fell on my left-hand side to protect my right hand, my right wrist.
At first, I didn't think I broke it; I didn't think I fractured it; I didn't think I did anything to it. I was like, okay, just a little swore, it's a little swollen; oh, I can't move it anymore, what's going on. So I went to the doctor, took an MRI, took an X-ray. At first it was just inflamed. They thought it was a bone bruise but a couple of weeks later I found out, you know, taking more MRIs, more X-rays, finally convinced to take a CAT scan in my left wrist and it was very confusing. There was a lot of conflicting information between those couple of months. So I didn't really want to release anything.
But I'm feeling fine. So I'm letting people know right now; I just want to ask people to have patience, because I'm not 100% right now. I'm going through a hard time. It's my first time facing an injury. Obviously my right hand injury has been, you know, nothing but with the bones. It's just been tendonitis; it's just been's recurring, chronic from overpracticing. But I never experienced anything like my left injury. I never experienced any kind of injury from working out or falling down. It was purely accidental and it was very unfortunate. But you know, I'm not 100% right now, and I'm just trying to work through it.
The bone has fortunately healed completely so I'm not going to have any reoccurrence with problems with my bones but right now I'm still in the rehab process. I'm not 100% strong. I just haven't played for a long time. So I'm still trying to get back into it. I lost a lot of distance. I lost a lot of clubhead speed, but I'm working on it. I gained a lot of love for the game over the last couple of months and I'm super-excited to be back out here.
I'm just working at it. It's a work-in-progress. It's going to take time, and I'm going to take all of the time in the world to get better and to play at my full potential again.
DANA GROSS-RHODE: Okay. Thank you very much for that.
Q. After your injury, how are you feeling about this competition? Do you still feel, even though you said you're not 100%, that you're going to come out very strong?
MICHELLE WIE: I'm just so excited to be here. I mean, I'm just so excited to play again. After four months or a couple of months of just sitting around doing nothing, I just love being out here. I just love being in the competition. I just love going out in tournaments and playing rounds and I'm just -- there's so many good memories of this tournament, that I feel comfortable here and I feel confident that, you know, I can play well. But my mind is saying that; I'm not sure what my body will say. I have a very strong determination to play well. My heart is telling me that. You know, I'm just going to follow it and have fun.
Q. Can you go over your practice schedule since you left Charleston, where you've been and when you started practicing?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, unfortunately it kind of inflamed after Thursday's round. Playing in practice rounds, it wasn't as hard on my wrist as I thought, so it didn't really hurt. And I thought, oh, let's go play, and my doctor said I was fine to play last week. Unfortunately after Thursday, it kind of swelled up a little bit. I have a trainer/therapist who travels with me and she has been working on it extensively, massaging it, stimming it, icing it, everything. I took Friday off and Saturday came here and started to hit balls a little bit and putt a lot, and just get back into the feel of the game, just trying to run over run over memories in my head of how I played last year and just preparing myself for this year and most importantly preparing my body for this week.
Q. If you said you've had all of the time in the world, have you ever thought about taking some time now? Withdraw last week, take this week off and take however much time you need until it's 100%?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, the reason why I withdrew last week was to be able to play this week. I really want to play this week and I feel like my wrist is -- like I said, the bones are completely healed, so it won't do any good taking more time off. I have to gain more competitive experience. We're going back to when I was 13 years old to back to when I didn't have much experience and where I was really good at hitting balls. I was really good at hitting shots and really good at making putts. But once I got out there it's a completely different game.
I just feel like I have to play in tournaments to get myself back into the competitive mode. And I feel like that's why I withdrew last week. That's why I saved my wrist because I wanted to play this week and I wanted to play in the U.S. Open, and my heart has really taught me that I really want to play and I want to do as I want to do, and my doctor said that it's totally fine, I can totally play and I won't hurt it anymore; my bone is completely healed. But like I said, I'm still in the rehab process. My therapist and I are working really hard at getting 100%.
Like I said before, my strength is not 100% but I just have to work at it. You gain strength by hitting balls and you gain strength by hitting balls. That's what I think I need to do. I just need to play more golf now. It just going to come very slowly.
Q. Were you aware of the LPGA rule, the 88 rule, before you withdrew and was that any kind of factor in your decision?
MICHELLE WIE: No. I mean, I don't think about playing 88. I mean, that's just ridiculous. I'm not going out there, "Oh, I can't play 88 today." I'm not out there for that. I'm out there to play as best I can, to shoot a low score and obviously that was not on my mind. No one, I'm 100% sure that no one is out here on Tour thinking about playing 88. And I took no factor -- my withdrawal was only because I tweaked my wrist during the middle of the round. And I know I should have quit right there when I hurt it on No. 10, but you know, I think I made a smart decision to save my wrist and work on my wrist and play well this week.
Q. Can I follow up; Annika was in here about an hour ago, and was somewhat critical of your decision to withdraw, said a couple of things that I'm sure you'll hear about. I'm wondering what your reaction to that kind of criticism from a player like the former No. 1 player in the world, how you feel about that?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, I didn't hear any criticism. She didn't come up to me and criticize me. So I have really no comment to say about that. I'm just doing what I feel like is best for me.
Q. I was wondering, at such a young age, how are you handling all of the pressure from the media and your fellow players right now?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, you know, it's a tough crowd. They are not like my friends, you know. They are out to write good stories. They are out to, you know, make a living just like I am. Fortunately I have a really good team around me. I have a really good group of friends and my manager and my family, you know, everyone around me is really supportive of me over the last couple of days. My friends have been helping me through this and hyping me up for this week. I think that's why I have so much trust in them, they just help me through so much stuff.
Q. Two things. You can't injure your wrist anymore; the bone's healed?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, I'm sure I could injury it more if I smacked this table right now, but I'm not going to do that.
Q. If you can't -- if there's no risk of injury by playing this week, what would have kept you from finishing last week, the last two holes?
MICHELLE WIE: I think that, you know, playing the last two holes, there was a time that I had to shut it down. Because like I said in the middle of the round, I hurt it on No. 10. I should have stopped there. But I needed to get ice on it. I needed to stop playing for that -- for that day. I expired after a couple -- after a certain amount of shots.
You know, it's just -- I felt like I had to shut it down. They said that, you know, I won't break my bone again by playing this week, but obviously I can, you know, hypothetically hurt it again. So, you know, I'm just taking my time and I'm just taking time and it was my decision. It was just my woman's intuition, shall you say, to shut it down, because I felt like something was not right with my body and I just needed -- I needed to work on it a little bit. And I took some time off, and hopefully I'll be ready for this week.
Q. All that being said, what are your expectations this week?
MICHELLE WIE: My expectations, I'm just out here to have fun. Just like I said, I'm so excited to be out here. I'm so excited to play again. I'm so excited to be in competition again that I'm just going to have fun and I'm just going to be patient out there.
My expectations is to be patient with myself and you know, just my expectations of the crowd and the fans and the media is to be patient with me, also. I'm only human. I have to take time with my body to heal, and like I said, I'm going to be stronger and playing more and I need the experience again, and it's only going to take time. So I need to be patient with myself. I need to be determined to play well this week and I just need to have fun. I think having fun part will be the easiest part out of the three.
Q. When is the last time you had fun?
MICHELLE WIE: The last time -- I had a lot of fun, you know, playing last week, too. Although I didn't play well; it was just so much fun to be in the tournament setting again and so much fun to be out there in the tournament. Even though I wasn't playing good at all, it was like, "Hey, I'm out here again, how good does this feel." I have fun at every tournament. I make that one of my goals, and I feel like I accomplish it almost every week.
Q. In retrospect, do you feel like you owed Annika an explanation for what happened, since she was the hostess and you did have a sponsor's exemption?
MICHELLE WIE: I mean, well, you know, just I don't think I need to apologize for anything. It's just I played bad but that's what golf is. Sometimes you play good and sometimes you play bad. Unfortunately I played bad on that week, and it's just -- I wasn't playing like myself. Like I said, my wrist was not the way I wanted it to be. I tweaked it on 10. And it just wasn't feeling good the whole day. So, you know, I don't really feel like I have to apologize for anything. I just have to take care of my body and move forward and only think of positive things.
Q. Have you or anyone in your camp had conversations with the Commissioner, either today or yesterday, regarding your interaction with your Pro-Am playing partners yesterday?
MICHELLE WIE: Yes, they did have a conversation with her, and I think it was very insulting because I tried my best. Like I said, I mean, it's weird. It was my sixth year out here already and I played in numerous Pro-Ams and I think it's ridiculous to make any false accusations about me. You know, they talked to Kevin at the Ginn Tribute and they said none of the Pro-Am partners complained about my actions. I didn't play too great so maybe they complained about not winning.
But, I mean, what can I do? There's nothing else. I know I took a lot of effort into -- you know, I didn't really have to take a lot of effort. It was a lot of fun to interact with them and just to talk with them and I helped them read a couple of putts. They might have complained about me misreading a couple of putts, but there's nothing I can do about that. I thought it was very insulting that somebody made a false accusation about me like that. I just hope she gets better information.
Q. What was the complaint?
MICHELLE WIE: I don't really want to go into it. Maybe you'll hear about it later. It was just about the Pro-Am and how someone complained -- I don't really know the full story myself. I don't want to think about it too much right now. I have way too many other things to think about. I have housing applications to do this week. I have way too many other things to stress about. That's the least I think I have to worry about right now.
Q. (No microphone.)
MICHELLE WIE: You can ask my manager or you can ask the Commissioner herself. I don't think it's fair to ask me right now.
Q. Obviously last week was uncharacteristic as far as being able to play; but has this made you think at all about playing more against women in the future, maybe rethinking the idea of playing against the men?
MICHELLE WIE: No, not really. Because like I said, my body is not 100%. And unless I feel I'm 100% and I feel like I'm playing my best and I played 88, then I should rethink. But when I play uncharacteristically and I play with my body not 100%, I don't think about things like that.
Like I said, I was just having fun out there and I was taking care of my body and I just want to play well this week and at the U.S. Open.
Q. Is it difficult to focus on golf when all of this other stuff is swirling around?
MICHELLE WIE: Not really. I mean, you know, when I'm on the golf course, like I'm repeating over and over again, I'm just having so much fun out there. It's just so much -- like I don't think anyone has any idea about how I feel when I'm out there on the golf course; that it's I'm just so happy to be out there again. I was sick of sitting at home doing nothing and watching TV. It's just so much fun to be able to use my wrist again, to be able to swing a golf club. Like before I never realized how much I golf so much and I think it just changed my point of view completely and I'm just really glad to be here.
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June 5, 2007
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