Tom Patri: Men's events are a Wie-bit much

Michelle Wie gets through the first stage of U.S. Open qualifying. Now what? Canoe Brook in northern New Jersey, a long, tree-lined golf course.

Yours truly made it to that venue in 1980 and missed in a close call to play at Baltusrol that year. So now Wie is 36 holes away from playing in the men's U.S. Open, which, as you may know, is being played at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, N.Y.

During my time in Westchester, N.Y., I probably played the West Course at The Foot 20 times. It is a long, tight severe pain in the butt. Recall the 1973 Open there, not won, but survived by Hale Irwin, who won at plus-8.

A plus-8!

Word is they didn't take kindly to Davis Love III spinning around there in 66 during his PGA victory. Hence, tees have been moved back, the rough is very tough and the greens will be like Port Royal granite countertop on a 20-degree incline. Lots of luck!

So, if Ms. Wie gets by Canoe Brook — I'll go on record: she will not, but if per chance she does — Winged Foot will rip her apart.

Why? Why in the good Lord's name will this talented young lady not jump in with both feet to women's golf and complete a lineup of great, young talented women — the best group ever — and do battle?

She has won nothing (oh yeah, the USGA Public Links), repeat nothing. What, may I ask, are her advisers doing? And why? I truly do not get it. Jack Nicklaus learned through all levels to win, as did Tiger Woods. Wie is learning to barely miss, or sometimes make cuts on various men's tours, sometimes learning to finish second in women's events. I just don't get it.

I think no matter what the outcome of her camp's plan, they will look back at hopefully a wonderful run someday on the LPGA Tour, and wonder where seven or eight more victories would have put her on the all-time victory list had she gone there when she should have.

Here's the deal: Wie should be playing with other women, winning championships, re-writing the record books. Enough of turning championship men's golf events into a three-ring circus, with dad B.J. the Clown calling the shots from the center ring.

Tom Patri's teaching academy has moved to Lely Resort, with an indoor studio open at The Health Club of Naples on Immokalee Road. Patri is one of Golf Magazine's Top 100 Teachers in America. He can be reached at tpatri@mindspring.com. To set up a lesson, contact Brandi Hanson at 597-0787 or e-mail brandih@thehealthclubofnaples.com, or go to www.tompatri.com.

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