Teen golf phenom Michelle Wie will play in the 2004 Sony Open PGA golf tournament in January, the governor’s office announced today. Wie, 14, was granted a special sponsor’s exemption by Sony Corporation following a request from Gov. Linda Lingle and Friends of Hawai`i Charities, one of the tournament’s partners. Wie had previously tried to qualify for the event in January and June.
“We want to thank Sony for granting our request and for recognizing the contributions Michelle Wie has made to the game of golf,” said Governor Lingle. “The Sony Open in Hawai`i continues to attract the sport’s top players, and this exemption is certainly a major acknowledgement of the caliber of Michelle’s game.”
Wie, who began playing golf at age four, made the cut in six out of seven LPGA events this year, and was the youngest player ever to qualify for an LPGA tournament last year. Featured on the cover of Golf World and ESPN magazines, fans have dubbed her the “Tigress,” or the next Tiger Woods.
“Allowing Michelle Wie a sponsor’s exemption is a small way to show our appreciation to the people of the state for their many years of support of Sony and this tremendous charity event,” said Sony corporate executive vice president Mitsuru Ohki.
Anthony Guerrero Jr., president of Friends of Hawai`i Charities, said: “Michelle is a local and international star, and inviting her to play will enhance the global exposure for the State of Hawai`i and the Sony Open.”
The Sony Open in Hawai`i is the first full-field tournament of the 2004 PGA Tour season. It is scheduled for Sunday, January 11, 2004, through Sunday, January 18, 2004, at the Wai`alae Country Club Golf Course.