For a second straight year, Michelle Wie will not be playing in the Safeway International due to an injury to her left wrist that is more serious than first diagnosed.
Tom Maletis, the president of the Tournament Golf Foundation, which runs the Safeway International, said the injury also will keep Wie from playing the following week in the Kraft Nabisco Championship — the LPGA’s first major championship.
“I’ve been in constant contact with B.J. (her father) and the Wie camp,’’ Maletis said when asked about the 17-year-old superstar’s status for the Safeway International, which takes place March 22-25 at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club.
“Officially, she’ll miss our event, and, unofficially, she’ll also miss the Kraft Nabisco. Apparently, last week she had the cast taken off, and the doctor found that (the injury) was not healing like it should — there was still some pain — and so the doctor put the cast back on for another two weeks.’’
Maletis said he was somewhat surprised that the official word on both tournaments had yet to be released.
“But B.J. told me she’s not going to play in either tournament,’’ Maletis said. “I mean, she would just be getting the cast off, and that’s hardly the time to make your first (LPGA) start of the season.’’
It’s been a frustrating 2007 for Wie to date. She showed up at the Sony Hawaiian Open on the PGA Tour in January with her right wrist bandaged, which Wie labeled a “little injury.’’ At the time, she said she wasn’t sure if the wrist was sprained or strained, or whether she had a pinched nerve.
In February, she fell while reportedly running backward during a visit to Stanford, where Wie will attend college this fall. It was diagnosed as a severe sprain, and her left wrist was put in a cast. Now, it’s in a second cast.
“It’s really too bad, because the week of our tournament Michelle would have been on vacation, so we were pretty sure she was going to accept the exemption, at least that’s what B.J. had told us,’’ Maletis said. “She was hurt, but still had plans to come and then play the following week in the Kraft Nabisco.
“We’ll miss her, but we also know how important and serious it is for her to be fully recovered and healthy for the rest of the season.’’
In 2004, Wie finished in a tie for 19th at the Safeway International and was fourth the following week at the Kraft Nabisco. She finished tied for 12th in 2005 at the Safeway and was 12th at the Kraft Nabisco. Last year, when she skipped the Safeway International, she missed a 10-foot putt on the final hole at the Kraft Nabisco that would have put her in a playoff after sharing the lead on the back nine with eventual champion Karrie Webb.