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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 September 2006, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Wie 'good for the game' - Garcia
Michelle Wie pictured in Crans Montana in Switzerland
Wie is making her debut on the men's European Tour
Sergio Garcia believes Michelle Wie's presence in this week's men's European Masters is "good for the game".

"Anything that helps the game of golf is good, no matter what," said Garcia, who played a practice round with Wie.

"It might not help the guy she takes the spot from this week, but it might help him in the future.

"When I see Michelle or Annika Sorenstam playing on a golf course I don't see them as female players, I see them as golfers."

European Tour chief executive George O'Grady has previously described the practice of women playing in men's events as a "gimmick".

Wie is only the second woman to play in a European Tour event, after Laura Davies finished second last in the 2004 ANZ Championship in Australia.

There are going to be some people that aren't happy with me playing in men's tournaments

Michelle Wie
The 16-year-old has so far made the cut in only one of the nine men's events she has competed in - in Korea earlier this year.

But Garcia - the only member of Europe's Ryder Cup team playing in Switzerland - believes anything which increases interest in the game, keeps sponsors coming in and prize money high is a positive step.

The Spaniard warned, however, that Wie's relatively low ball flight could count her against her this week on Crans-sur-Sierre's small, undulating greens.

"She is a wonderful player, pretty long for her age and being a woman and she has beautiful distance control with the irons," he added.

"She might struggle a bit if it doesn't rain because some of these greens are really difficult to hit for us. If we are struggling to hold them with nine irons, you can imagine what it's going to be like with longer clubs."

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Wie, who believes it is "totally possible" she could play in the Ryder Cup in future, will play alongside Nick Dougherty and Gonzalo Fernandez in the opening two rounds in Switzerland.

"There are going to be some people that aren't happy with me playing in men's tournaments," she said.

"I am not expecting 100% support every week but that is the way the world works.

"There are going to be people that support me and others that don't but I feel people here have been very supportive and welcoming.

"I am not just doing it for the support I get, I am doing it for myself and my own self happiness.

"I love playing men's events and the challenge. I feel an adrenaline rush when I play these events and it is a lot of fun."



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