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Michelle Wie to miss Japan Men's event

US teenage golfer Michelle Wie is ending a disastrous season without another challenge against the men, skipping Japan's Casio World Open which she played in the last two years without success.

"It has been decided that she won't play this year," a spokesman for the event's main sponsors, Casio Computers, said Monday.

"Basically, we have determined that she cannot play fully to her potential because she has yet to recover from hand injuries suffered early in the season," Yuichi Miyakawa said.

Wie missed the cut by one stroke at the 2005 Casio World Open despite a buildup for the then 16-year-old sensation fighting against the men.

The Hawaii-born Korean-American finished second from bottom after two rounds last year to miss the cut by a massive 17 strokes.

In her absence this year, the main feature of the 1.2 million dollar event at Kochi November 22-25 will be 26-year-old American Brandt Snedeker who won the PGA Wyndham championship in August.

"What we had really hoped in the beginning was that Wie would make the cut and battle neck-to-neck with the men. We have not achieved results in that sense," Miyakawa told AFP.

"But her presence drew attention from various people inside and outside the golf world. That was an achievement in itself," he said.

The sponsors have never made known how much money they paid Wie, who turned 18 on October 11 and is now a first-year student at Stanford University.

But media estimated that Wie received one million dollars in 2005, a month after she turned professional with multimillion dollar endorsements from Sony and Nike, and was guaranteed nearly 870,000 dollars last year.

For the two appearances, Wie and her parents, B.J. and Bo, used a private jet to fly between their home in Hawaii and western Japan.

She played her last men's tournament in January -- her fourth consecutive sponsor's exemption at the PGA Sony Open in Hawaii. She missed the cut by 14 strokes.

Wie, who has yet to win an LPGA event, has survived the half-way cut only once in her 13 appearances on men's national or international tours, including six on the premier US PGA circuit.

She said she had tendinitis in her right wrist and broke her left wrist in February.

After taking time off to heal the injuries, Wie has missed the cut three times and withdrawn two times.

Earlier this month she played her last tournament of the year, the Samsung World Championship in Palm Desert, California.

She shot 79-79-77-71 and finished 19th in the 20-player field, 36 strokes behind winner Lorena Ochoa.


October 30, 2007

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