Wie to play in 2007 John Deere Classic


EAST MOLINE, Illinois Michelle Wie will compete against the men in this year's John Deere Classic, July 9-15, at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill., tournament officials announced today.

It will be the third straight appearance at the John Deere for the 17-year-old Hawaiian, who missed the cut by two strokes in 2005 and withdrew midway through her second round last year because of heat exhaustion.

"We are very excited to have Michelle Wie back in our field for the 2007 John Deere Classic," said tournament director Clair Peterson. "Michelle has become a part of our community over the last few years and she and her family are very comfortable in the Quad Cities. She is a wonderful talent who attracts a tremendous amount of interest among traditional and non-traditional golf fans, which helps broaden the game's appeal, especially among young people."

It will be Wie's second PGA Tour event of the 2007 campaign. She shot 78-76.144 at the Sony Open in her home state and missed the cut.

"I am really happy to be returning to the John Deere Classic," Wie said. "The people of the Quad Cities have supported me and rooted for me like no other. I feel very warm and loved at the John Deere Classic."

In 2005, with only four holes to play in her second round, Wie was in position to become the first woman since Babe Zaharias in 1945 to make the cut in a PGA Tour event. But a double-bogey and a bogey on her 15th and 16th holes (the par four 6th and par 3 7th at Deere Run) doomed her. Her two-day total of 1-under par 70-71.141 was two strokes off the cut line. Last year, she opened with a first-round 6-over 77 and was 7-over after 27 holes before withdrawing.

Along the way, Wie has brought major attention to the Quad Cities and earned the respect and affection of area residents.

In December of last year, Wie, who turned pro in October 2005, returned some of that love. She donated $25,000 to The Travis Hearn Fund after learning that the 17-year-old Rock Island High School football player was paralyzed while making a tackle during a game last fall.

Wie subsequently spoke to Hearn on the telephone and the two high school seniors tentatively planned to meet at this year's tournament. Hearn suffered a burst C-4 vertebrae and is a quadriplegic. Wie's donation went toward building a home that could accommodate Hearn's disability.

It was not Wie's first act of generosity. Upon turning pro in October 2005, Wie immediately donated $500,000 to the U.S. Golf Hurricane Relief Fund with the aim of helping victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Wie is scheduled to play in her first tournament of the season May 31-June 3 of the year at the LPGA's $2.6 million inaugural Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. She has not played in competition since the Sony, having been slowed by a wrist injury.

She also is scheduled to play in the LPGA McDonald's Championship, the CN Canadian Women's Open, and the Samsung World Championship.

Ticket information for the John Deere Classic is available at jdclassic.com or by calling 1-800-336-4655.

MAGIC HAPPENS HERE

JULY 10 - 16