Thu, Jun 21, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Struggling Michelle Wie takes a break from men's circuit

AP , OAKMONT, PENNSYLVANIA

Michelle Wie hits her tee shot on the 15th hole during the final round of the LPGA Championship at Bulle Rock Golf Course in Havre de Grace, Maryland, on June 10.

PHOTO: AP

Unable to break par against the women, Michelle Wie is taking a break from competing against the men.

Wie decided on Tuesday to withdraw from the John Deere Classic as she tries to return from wrist injuries that have sent the 17-year-old US player into a deep slump of high scores and shrinking confidence.

"While my rehabilitation is on schedule, I do not have all of my strength back yet," Wie said in a statement. "The TPC Deere Run course is obviously very long, and I just don't have the length to play there right now."

Wie said she still plans to play next week in the US Women's Open at Pine Needles, and she said she would keep playing the rest of the summer as she tries to regain strength in her wrists.

Wie has played the John Deere Classic for the last two years on sponsor exemptions, nearly making the cut as a 15-year-old in 2005 with a performance that made her a celebrity with the community. She was one shot below the cut line until a double bogey and a bogey late in her round, missing by two shots with rounds of 70-71.

She opened with a 77 last year, then withdrew midway through the second round with what was said to be heat exhaustion. Wie was taken from the course on a stretcher.

Wie's right wrist was taped at the Sony Open in January on the US PGA Tour, where she shot 78-76, then she broke a bone in her left wrist when she fell while jogging in a park a few weeks later. Wie sat out four months, returning at the Ginn Tribute in South Carolina only to withdraw under curious circumstances.

She was 14 over through 16 holes when she withdrew citing her injured wrists. Two more bogeys would have invoked the US LPGA Tour's "Rule 88," in which non-tour members are banned for a year if they can't break 88. She showed up at Bulle Rock two days later to get ready for the US LPGA Championship, and finished at 21 over par, including an 83 in the third round.

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