Swede Sörenstam tells Wie to stop playing with the boys

Swede Sörenstam tells Wie to stop playing with the boys
Swedish golfer Annika Sörenstam cannot understand why US teen prodigy Michelle Wie is continuing to play events on the US men's tour.

Sörenstam, who on Thursday starts her final women’s British Open before retirement, believes the American teenager should also be in the field at Sunningdale rather than lining up for her eighth appearance in a men’s event, in Reno, Nevada.

Swedish star Sörenstam was world number one when she became the first woman for 53 years to play on the US men’s tour in 2003.

Although she narrowly missed the cut, the now 37-year-old Sörenstam, who described her two rounds as “a wonderful experience”, never felt the need to do anything similar again.

And she believes the 18-year-old Wie is not doing herself any favours by playing against the men after slipping down the women’s rankings.

“I really don’t know why Michelle is continuing to do this,” said 10-time major winner Sörenstam, who in May revealed she would retire at the end of the current season.

“I mean, we have a major this week and if you can’t qualify for a major I don’t see any reason why you should play with the men.”

Wie’s loss of form meant she wasn’t granted an exemption for Sunningdale, although she did have a chance of qualifying at an LPGA tour event in Illinois two weeks ago, where she was one shot off the lead after three rounds.

But she was then dramatically disqualified for not signing her second round scorecard until after she had left the recording area.

Wie opted against entering qualifying for the women’s British Open and, in the absence of an invite, chose to go to Reno instead.

Helen Alfredsson, winner of last week’s Evian Masters in France and Europe’s 2007 Solheim Cup team captain, believes Wie should knuckle down to the serious business of being a professional rather than risk become a figure of curiosity when playing in men’s events.

“I think the exhibition time for her is over. I feel kind of sad for her,” Alfredsson said.

“I think she’s a very good person. I feel sad for the guidance that she seems not to have in the right direction.

“She was so good a couple of years ago when she finished second a few times. I think she should just keep working on winning. Winning is tough – it takes a different mindset.

“I think if she wants to be a golfer she should really concentrate on being on the women’s tour. I just don’t see the interest really on being on the men’s tour.

“I thought she had quit that idea, but obviously not.”