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Michelle Wie has stood tall in refusing to give up her spot in the Samsung World Championship.
Michelle Wie has stood tall in refusing to give up her spot in the Samsung World Championship. (.)

Golfer Supremacy Rankings get scientific to analyze Michelle Wie

William K. WolfrumBy William K. Wolfrum,

Here at the Golfer Supremacy Rankings, we have an unquenchable interest in the human body. And not just in the "Wow, Natalie Gulbis has a super fantastic body" sense, either, though she does, and we applaud her for it.

No, here at the home offices where the GSR super computer is busily humming along, we have a strong appreciation of the many unknowns of the human body. Luckily for us, science is always on the ball. And while scientists still can't answer how Camilo Villegas gets into those intricate putt-reading positions of his, they may have learned one of the great mysteries of our time - what the appendix is for.

It seems the extraneous organ was once used to create "good" bacteria that would help protect the stomach against nasty things like cholera and the like. So, thanks to science, we here at the GSR can now move on to thinking about a host of other mysteries that have long puzzled the world. Because we're all about knowledge, you see.

So the questions on our mind this week are what purpose the Valero Texas Open on the PGA Tour serves, and if a tournament just hands out exemptions willy-nilly like the Samsung World Championship, can it still be considered elite in any way?

Golfer Supremacy Rankings

1. Michelle Wie

Comments: When Annika Sorenstam turned down an invite to the Samsung World Championship, heads turned. Here was one of the greatest players in the history of women's golf taking a moral stand. Sure, few would complain about Sorenstam's inclusion in the event, due to her amazing career record. But Annika was having none of it, feeling as though that after a sub-par 2007 campaign, other golfers deserved the spot in the tournament that is supposed to be for the world's top-20 female golfers. For that, we honor young Ms. Wie, who received an exemption for the 2007 Samsung last December, we believe. And despite the fact that Wie has missed more cuts than a drunken hairdresser in 2007, it appears the young former phenomenon will play in the event regardless of who deserves her spot more.

And while some may view this as hubris by Wie and her crack team of Nike managers and parents, we have no choice but to recognize her fierce determination. And her willingness to make the other 19 golfers involved feel good about themselves after they thoroughly trounce her in the event.

2. Justin Leonard

Comments: When the Valero Texas Open rolled around this year, many wondered "why?" After all, didn't the FedEx Cup playoffs already decide that Tiger Woods was the supremest of supreme for 2007? Why was it necessary to continue with the charade of the PGA Tour? Was it just a plot to let Steve Flesch win more golf tournaments?

Well, it turns out the answer is that the PGA Tour needs the Texas Open, because otherwise, what reason would we have for keeping Justin Leonard around. Leonard, who has been slowly working himself back into form, won for the first time since 2005, and notched his third career Texas Open victory. All told, it was the 11th career PGA Tour victory for Leonard, who still hopes he can be remembered for more than that spastic celebratory romp of his in the 1999 Ryder Cup.

3. Loren Roberts

Comments: According to brief and haphazard research, it appears to us that the Champions Tour has something like 14 or 15 "majors" each year, and that Loren Roberts wins the ones that Hale Irwin doesn't. But we could be wrong. Nonetheless, Roberts stormed to victory at the Senior Players Championship, lapping the field and beating second-place finisher Tom Watson by six strokes. The victory gives Roberts three majors on the Champions Tour along with seven wins overall. Not bad for a guy who managed just eight wins in more than an eon on the regular PGA Tour.

Honorable Mention: While Suzann Pettersen beat her in a playoff to win the Longs Drug Challenge, World No. 1 Lorena Ochoa became the first player to pocket more than $3 million during an LPGA Tour season.

Honorable Mention II: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland became the youngest player ever to earn a European tour card and it only took him two tournaments to do it. McIlroy, 18, earned $300,000 for his second-place finish at the Dunhill Links Championship to earn his card, achieving the feat in the shortest time in European Tour history.

William K. Wolfrum keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation. You can follow him on Twitter @Wolfrum.

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