A respected golf writer and I were discussing how funny it is to hear big, grown up, free-market preaching men who moan and groan about Michelle Wie taking up a spot in the U.S. Open qualifying. Even when she tries to earn her way in and beats a lot of men doing it, they still think the event should be for men only. And they sound ridiculous making their case.
Like Stuart Appleby. As Marla Ridenour reports in the Beacon Journal reports:
"Right now, she should be maturing and playing and winning and getting the rhythm of playing the ladies' tour," Appleby said Saturday. "Playing out on the men's tour, to me, is a pointless exercise, including the Open.
"I don't feel she should be qualifying and should even be allowed. No women should be allowed to qualify in any men's event. Invites I can barely accept, but certainly qualifying... I think it's the men's U.S. Open, and that's the way it should always be." Appleby wondered if Wie's advisers were pushing her in the wrong direction. Some have speculated that Wie's handlers are more interested in worldwide fame than success in the sport.
"I'm not sure if Michelle wants to play with the men or she's being advised through some decision-makers who are having a bigger play in her career than she is," Appleby said. "I think she really has the ability to be a record-breaker on the ladies' tour. I don't believe playing on the men's tour is going to make her a better player.
"If she's going to play the men's tour at all, she should do it when Annika (Sorenstam) did, when she was at her best. That may be 10 or 15 years from now. That's when she should come out and push her game."
Thankfully, there are still some big boys out on the Tour who can handle the competition:
Countryman Adam Scott didn't share Appleby's opinion.
"Anyone who can qualify for the U.S. Open deserves to play in it," he said. "I think it will be unbelievable if she qualifies." Appleby was the only player asked to comment at the Memorial who did not believe Wie should be allowed to try for an Open spot.
"I always felt if anybody had golf clubs and was able to qualify and eligible to play in a golf tournament, they certainly can tee it up," Memorial founder Jack Nicklaus said. "I don't care if that's a man, woman or child. If Michelle Wie has the ability to qualify for the U.S. Open, fantastic. I think it's wonderful for the game of golf. It brings a whole new element that you've never heard before. I have no issue with it whatsoever. Matter of fact, I support it." Many backed Nicklaus' view.