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Morning Bytes | Exemption for Wie? Why?

The young golfer has gotten a reputation for not winning.

Michelle Wie will celebrate her 18th birthday this fall in much the same way she has celebrated her previous 17: by not winning a professional golf tournament.

Wie, whose publicity-to-performance ratio might soon exceed that of Anna Kournikova, was granted a fourth straight sponsor's exemption to play in the Samsung World Championship at Bighorn Golf Club in Desert, Calif.

A "sponsor's exemption," for those not familiar with the term, is what tournaments extend to players who have no chance of winning but who will arrive with their own entourage, a trunkful of miniskirts, and at least 1,000 paparazzi.

To sum up, a winless teenager will play for the world championship with 20 golfers who actually deserve to be there.

Curiously, it was at the 2005 Samsung event that Wie began her streak of earning exemptions for no discernible reason.

"There is nothing like going back to where my professional career began," said Wie.

Yes there is.

It's called winning. Or waiting your turn.

"No (bark!) fighting (bark!) here." Falcons quarterback Michael Vick continues to insist that dogs have never fought in his Virginia home - except for that one time when Ryan Leaf and Mario Williams got into a scrap over who got to pack Vick's water bottle.

Week's biggest non-event. The city of Harrisburg has agreed to sell the double-A Senators for $13.25 million.

Since when is it news when someone buys senators in our state capital?

Out at last! Phils first base coach Davey Lopes has missed several games this week. The only explanation has been "personal reasons".

Those who remember Black Friday will note that perhaps the real reason Lopes is out at first is that, 30 years later, Bruce Froemming finally got the call right.

When intellects collide. My favorite exchange from the thoughtful dialogue between WIP's prince of darkness, Howard Eskin, and Phils manager Charlie Manuel:

Eskin: "Grow up."

Manuel (borrowing a line from Demosthenes): "I been growed up!"

Welcome to Louisville. Here's what West Virginia high school basketball phenom Patrick Patterson said when asked why he chose Kentucky over Florida.

"I didn't want to have to move my family to Jacksonville."

A few points:

1. I hadn't realized it was up to high school students to determine where their families reside.

2. I know his parents live in West Virginia, but don't they have jobs?

3. One suspects Patterson won't be a geography major since the University of Florida is in Gainesville.

Phillies fodder. I think Wes Helms might finally have found a position - the bench.

Why did Manuel bring in Brett Myers to pitch the ninth inning of a game the Phils led 6-2, Wednesday? Myers had pitched the previous two nights. I know the rest of the bullpen is weaker than a stadium beer, but is the manager trying to ensure arm problems for his one effective reliever?

Myers' entrance theme is "Children of the Grave" by White Zombie. White Zombie? Wasn't their lead singer Travis Lee?

The Milwaukee Brewers seem like nice collection of guys. But, quite frankly, they've got some of the ugliest players I've seen on a diamond since the softball game at Lyle Lovett's family reunion.

How come . . . the Pistons got Philadelphia-area players such as Rip Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace and the 76ers got Michael Bradley?

Then he drained a six-pack. In suburban Atlanta, 106-year-old Bill Hargrove became the oldest league bowler in U.S. history last week.

Afterward, he attributed his relatively youthful appearance to the regular physical activity.

"Without it," Hargrove said, "I might look as old as Greg Oden."