HONOLULU: Although world number two Vijay Singh defends his title at this weeks Sony Open, the biggest storyline at Waialae Country Club is the latest chapter in the long-running Michelle Wie show.
The 16-year-old Honolulu schoolgirl, playing alongside the men this week for the seventh time, will be bidding to become the first woman in 61 years to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.
Babe Zaharias made the 36-hole cut at the 1945 Los Angeles Open.
I think a lot of people have high expectations of me, but I have high expectations of myself, a smiling Wie told a news conference on Tuesday.
This my third time playing here (at the Sony Open) and I have a lot of experience about playing here the last two years.
Playing my first PGA Tour event as a professional, I am starting to feel the difference, added Wie, who joined the paid ranks last October after signing endorsement deals with Nike and Sony believed to be worth US$10mil a year.
I am like: Wow, I am one of them now, sort of. I am actually a professional. It is quite amazing.
I think I have gotten used to the media and all the hype around me playing in a mens event. Playing alongside them, I have learned a lot.
In a sense, I know what to expect. This year, I am trying to take it easy and feel my way around. I just want to have fun.
Fun will be low on Vijays agenda this week as he bids to go one better than his play-off loss to Australias Stuart Appleby at the PGA Tours season-opening Mercedes Championships in Kapalua on Sunday.
The easy-swinging Fijian charged into contention with a final-round 66 at the Plantation Course, before missing a birdie putt from nine feet at the first extra hole.
It wasnt good enough, thats all I can say about that, he said at Kapalua. I did everything good except make one more putt.
But I cant complain about the way I played, the way I finished. Im playing well and Im feeling good about my game. Ill try again at the Sony.
Vijay, who won last years tournament by a stroke from Ernie Els after closing with a five-under 65, is one of only five players in the worlds top 20 at the 7,060-yard Waialae Country club this week.
Seventh-ranked Jim Furyk, world number eight Adam Scott, Kenny Perry (14) and David Toms (16) are scheduled to tee off in todays opening round in the first full-field event of the year.
Among the notable absentees are top-ranked Tiger Woods, US PGA champion Phil Mickelson, twice winner Ernie Els and world number four Retief Goosen.
US Masters and British Open champion Woods is spending time with his family until making his debut on the 2006 PGA Tour at the Buick Invitational in two weeks time.
Mickelson has never played in the Hawaiian event while South Africans Els and Goosen have opted to stay at home this week. Reuters