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Jan Stephenson controversy rumbles on

Weighing in on Jan Stephenson's comments about Asian players "killing" the LPGA Tour, 14-year-old golfing sensation Michelle Wie downplayed the race factor.

"I don't think it matters who you are if you play the game of golf," Wie said. "If you're black, you're Portuguese, you're Filipino, you're Asian, or you're white, it doesn't really matter.

"Even if you're poor or rich. If you can play the game, you can play the game."

Wie, a Korean American widely considered the future of women's golf, got a chance to meet Stephenson on Sunday, when the two participated in a free two-hour clinic at Ko Olina Golf Club.

The clinic came eight days after Stephenson issued a written apology for comments she made in a recent magazine article saying that Asian players are "absolutely killing" the LPGA Tour because they lack emotion, refuse to speak English and don't do enough to promote the tour.

Greg Nichols, director of golf at Ko Olina, said the comments prompted organizers to consider canceling the event, which was scheduled six weeks ago. They later decided to go on after she apologized.

Despite angering many in Hawaii, where people of Asian descent make up about half of the population, Stephenson was welcomed warmly by the 125 people attending the clinic.

Stephenson, whose 16 career LPGA Tour victories include three majors, made no mention of her comments to spectators Sunday, except to say that that she's been known to "put my foot in my mouth."

"I certainly apologize for the statements," she said. "I was so devastated that it came out as a racially motivated comment. I really didn't mean it that way. I was trying to help the LPGA Tour. (In the interview), we were going over if I was commissioner and what I would do differently, as opposed to when I first came on the Tour, (and) how we made the Tour so popular."

Wie said she would rather stay out of the situation.

"I don't really read that kind of stuff. I'm not really interested in it," she said. "I just want to live a happy life. I don't really want to be in the controversy."

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