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Last Updated: Friday, 14 October 2005, 04:25 GMT 05:25 UK
Wie excited at Open entry chance
Michelle Wie
Hawaiian teenager Michelle Wie was delighted to hear women are to be allowed to qualify for the Open.

Wie, 16, who turned professional last week, was tied third in the Women's British Open so would be eligible for Open regional qualifying for Hoylake.

"I will definitely try and qualify if it fits into my schedule," she said.

"It would be a really good experience to play in the men's British Open. I know it is a tough route but it would be all worth it."

Wie has played in three PGA Tour events and never made the cut but admits it is her dream to play alongside the men regularly.

Women were previously barred from entering the Open, but under new rules the top five finishers from each of the four women's majors will be allowed to take part in 18-hole Open regional qualifying.

If successful in that - this year 1,700 players competed for 286 spots - there would still be the 36-hole final qualifying to negotiate.

No woman will win the Open in my lifetime
Trish Johnson

Just 12 places in the Open were on offer this summer from a field of 384 split across four courses.

Women's long-time number one Annika Sorenstam, though, revealed she does not share Wie's ambitions.

"If it was on a course that I really wanted to play, then who knows?" said the 35-year-old.

"But I don't think players would go over to Britain from America for qualifying rounds.

"But I think it's great that they are opening it up to women, although I don't think that I would really be interested."

England's Trish Johnson, meanwhile, insisted it was futile trying to beat the men on equal terms.

"What is the point in trying to get into a tournament you have no chance of winning," she told The Times.

"No woman will win the Open in my lifetime and I say that with total confidence."

Champions in any sport shouldn't be decided by gender
Tessa Jowell, secretary of state for culture, media and sport

American Solheim Cup star Cristie Kerr said: "I can't believe they changed the rules. But I think I would need to put on 10 pounds of muscle and gain 30 yards to make it viable."

The move was welcomed by Tessa Jowell, secretary of state for culture, media and sport and also women's minister.

"This is a big step forward for women in golf and sport in general," she said.

"It makes the Open truly open for the first time. Golf is finally moving with the times and I want to see this attitude extended to the clubhouse next.

"Champions in any sport shouldn't be decided by gender; it is about who is the best - plain and simple.

"If women are good enough to compete with men, archaic barriers shouldn't get in the way."


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