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Michelle uses another LPGA exemption for Masters
Tuesday July 25, 2006

While the French fry over American Floyd Landis' Tour de France victory, a small group of Americans head off to the Evian Masters with the hopes of keeping the trophy that Paula Creamer won last year in their possession. From the looks of it, this could be construed as a mini-Solheim Cup battle.

This is, indeed, a very small group. Only about one-third of the golfers heading over to Evian-les-Bains are from the U.S.A.. Americans don't have a good history at this event either. Prior to Paula Creamer claiming the silver cup in 2005, the only American who was victorious here was Juli Inkster in 2003. Laura Davies has been a three-time champion and Annika Sorenstam has taken two trophies in France.

But this year Americans have an ace up our sleeves. As a 15-year-old amateur last year, Michelle Wie finished in 2nd place, eight strokes behind Creamer. This year Wie stands second in the Rolex rankings and is honing her game by participating in both LPGA and PGA tour events. Could this be Michelle Wie's breakthrough tournament?

Not if Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa and Karrie Webb have anything to say about it. Each of these ladies have won events this season and have plenty of top-tens so they are favorites this week.

Don't forget the LPGA's Asian invasion team of Mi Hyun Kim, Seon Hwa Lee, Joo Mi Kim and Se Ri Pak who will also be in this week's field. As Bill Wolfrum aptly states in his blog, "The LPGA is in a much worse predicament as while no one was watching, South Korea was busily cloning brilliant golfers who do most of the winning these days."

Of course Wie is considered Korean to people in Korea (and Koreans who live in America) so if she wins, Michelle might be considered salvation to those Americans who feel that "the ultimate demise of the U.S. is starting on the golf course" and a way for Koreans to feel vindicated that Wolfrum's statement just might be true.

So while Amercians are hinging their hopes of success at the Evian Masters on golfers such as Creamer, Wie and Pressel (each who have yet to win a tournament), keep an eye out for those very able non-Americans, quietly climbing the leaderboards, winning titles and getting the job done.

Read more at World Golf

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