Wednesday, May 30, 2007

LPGA Tour adds star power with return of Sorenstam, Wie

Who’s the bigger draw this week at the "Ginn Tribute Hosted By Annika" - Annika Sorenstam or Michelle Wie?

It’s too close to call right now.

Sorenstam and Wie are the two most compelling figures in women’s golf, though obviously not the two best players.

Lorena Ochoa, Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel, Brittany Lincicome and others have had better years, but Sorenstam and Wie are bigger stars and both are using this week to return to competition.

Sorenstam doesn’t expect much in her first tournament in six weeks. She’s still recovering from disc problems and isn’t 100 percent. But she had to dive back into playing eventually and this is the week to resume the process. If she never wins another tournament, her place in history is secure.

Wie’s place is still to be determined, but then she’s only 17.

Is she the next great women’s player? I’m not sure. I don’t know that anyone is sure.

Wie is obviously a spectacular talent whose willingness to challenge men has captured the attention of a culture, not just a sport. She’s the player everyone at RiverTowne Country Club in Mount Pleasant, S.C., wants to see this week, to see how tall she is, how pretty she is, how far she hits the ball.

I want to see her win. It probably won’t happen this week – she said her game isn’t razor sharp after her forced time off because of wrist problems. But Wie needs to win.

That’s asking a lot, considering she can only play seven LPGA Tour events a year until she joins the tour full time (whenever she decides to do that). But Wie has positioned herself so that much is expected of her.

Winning an LPGA Tour event would be far more impressive than making the cut in the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic. Playing against the men has lost its allure.

She’s flirted with winning major championships, which shows us how good she can be. Now that high school is behind her, Wie can concentrate on golf this summer.

Everyone is watching to see how good she can be.

Ron Green Jr.