With the McDonald's LPGA Championship little more than two weeks away, the good news is that Michelle Wie will be there. The bad news is, Annika Sorenstam will not.
"Michelle has confirmed with us that she is going to play," Alice Miller, executive director of the McDonald's, which begins June 7 at Bulle Rock Golf Course in Havre de Grace, Md.
This is news, if you didn't know, because Wie, 17, from Honolulu, has been sidelined with a wrist injury since February. When she missed the Kraft Nabisco Championship six weeks ago, it was the first women's major Wie had missed in three years.
Wie intends to return to action the week before the McDonald's at a new tournament in Charleston, S.C., the Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika, which takes over the slot formerly occupied by the defunct ShopRite LPGA Classic.
Unlike the free-ride sponsor's exemptions Wie gets into men's events, the teen phenom, who plans to juggle pro golf with her freshman studies at Stanford next fall, has earned her spot in the McDonald's field, finishing tied for fifth last year; in 2005, she finished alone in second.
Sorenstam, who won the McDonald's three straight years from 2003 to 2005, is sidelined with a ruptured disk in her neck and a bulging disk in her mid-back. She hopes to return to action at the U.S. Women's at Pine Needles in North Carolina at the end of June.
Coyne's Irish odyssey
Remember a story I wrote last year on Philadelphia writer Tom Coyne's attempt to qualify for the PGA Tour?
If you do, and if you read his book about it, Paper Tiger, you might be interested in Coyne's latest adventure for a new book he's doing, A Course Called Ireland.
For the research, Coyne, who teaches writing at St. Joseph's University, is spending four months playing his way across Ireland, stopping at every links course. He's not only walking from course to course, he's writing a blog along the way for Golf.com. (Click on Courses & Travel). Good stuff.
On his first installment, headlined "Yer Doin' What?" Coyne poses for a snapshot with a leprechaun of a man he met in Lahinch who is wearing a T-shirt that says "Golfers are vermin."
During last Sunday's final round of The Players Championship, NBC's Johnny Miller was riding Sean O'Hair pretty hard for slow play.
Miller suggested O'Hair was no o'hare, pointing out that he and Phil Mickelson had fallen 11/2 holes behind the twosome in front of them and that a PGA Tour official had asked them to pick up the pace.
"Was I slow? Yes. I was. No doubt about it," O'Hair acknowledged last week. "They were on me, rightly so."
In his defense, O'Hair pointed out that he was in the biggest moment of his golfing life - the final pairing on Sunday in one of the biggest tournaments all year with one of the top players in the world.
"I wasn't going to hit a shot that I'm not committed to," he said.
O'Hair also suggested that Mickelson wasn't exactly a speed demon out there. "I'm slower on the greens than he is, but I'm quicker in the fairway," he said.
When Lookaway Golf Club in Buckingham recently sent out a news release noting it had jumped 10 spots, to 15th, in Golf Digest's 2007-08 ranking of the Top 25 courses in Pennsylvania, it prompted me to take fresh look at the list.
No. 1, not surprisingly, is Oakmont Country Club outside Pittsburgh, site of this year's U.S. Open. Merion Golf Club, in our backyard of Ardmore, site of the 2013 Open, is No. 2.
A slew of mostly high-end private clubs round out the rest of the locals on the list: Aronimink Golf Club is fifth, Huntingdon Valley Country Club is sixth, Philadelphia Country Club is 11th, Stonewall is 14th, Rolling Green is 18th, and Hartefeld National is 24th.
The only area daily-fee course on the list is the Golf Course at Glen Mills, ranked 21st.
The list also contains a bunch of semi-locals such as Huntsville Golf Course in Shavertown (fourth), Lehigh Country Club (seventh), all three Saucon Valley Country Club courses (ninth, 12th, 20th) and Lancaster Country Club (13th).
One question for the well-traveled golfer: How can Philadelphia Cricket not be on the list?