News & ToursJuly 3, 2009

Woods, Wie, et al.: Setting up an interesting weekend

  • Tiger Woods has opened a one-shot lead at the halfway point of the AT&T National, which doesn't bode well for those in pursuit. Of the 37 previous times that Woods has held or shared a 36-hole lead, he's won 31 of them. That's a pretty good batting average (.816, to be precise).

Woods' two victories this year, at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Memorial, each came in his final tuneup for a major championship. In each of the ensuing majors, the Masters and the U.S. Open, he tied for sixth. Should he win the AT&T, should we assume then that he'll tie for sixth in the British Open?

  • Michelle Wie's play has begun hinting at a player ready to begin cashing in on her still enormous potential. She enters weekend play at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic tied for seventh, three shots in arrears of the leaders. In 10 previous starts this year, Wie has had four top-10 finishes, including a tie for 10th at the Wegmans LPGA last week.

Wie will break through with a victory eventually. This weekend, perhaps?

  • Danny Lee, who last year at 18 years, one month broke Woods' record as the youngest ever to win the U.S. Amateur, is facing the most important weekend of his young professional career. Lee, now 19, turned pro after the Masters and is attempting to avoid Q-School by playing his way into PGA Tour membership.

Lee stands tied for eighth at the AT&T and desperately needs a big check and a top-10 finish, the latter good for a start in the John Deere Classic next week without having to burn a sponsor exemption.

He has already used five of the seven sponsor exemptions to which he's entitled in an attempt to earn in the neighborhood of $860,000 (enough to equal or better what the player who finishes 125th on the money list will earn this year) to earn his card for 2010, and to date he's earned only $169,304. The other pertinent number: $537,958. That's the sum earned by No. 150 on the money list last year. Can Lee reach that number, he'll be entitled to accept an unlimited number of sponsor exemptions the rest of the year.

-- John Strege

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