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Breach of etiquette upsets tour veteran

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NORTH PLAINS, Ore. — Danielle Ammaccapane allegedly pushed 13-year-old sensation Michelle Wie and later berated her over a breach of etiquette at the U.S. Women's Open, Wie and her father said Friday.

B.J. Wie, who caddies for his daughter, said the contact came on the 14th hole of Thursday's first round at Pumpkin Ridge. Wie played with Ammaccapane and Tracy Hanson.

The young golfer said Ammaccapane, a 16-year veteran on the LPGA Tour, was upset that Wie had walked in her line as she prepared to putt. Wie said she was trying to go behind Ammaccapane to get to her own putt.

The father claimed Ammaccapane bumped, pushed or brushed his daughter on the green.

In the scoring tent after the first round, Michelle Wie said Ammaccapane, 37, had words with her, although the teen wouldn't disclose what was said.

"I was really surprised, because I guess I've always played with really nice people," Wie said.

B.J. Wie would only say the exchange was "nasty," although he wasn't in the scoring tent at the time.

"She's young," B.J. Wie said of his daughter. "Danielle is 40, so Michelle is like a daughter. How can she treat a little girl like that?"

Ammaccapane, who has seven LPGA Tour victories and was playing in her 17th Open, wouldn't talk about the matter after her round Friday.

"I don't have any comments about playing, or etiquette or anything else," she said as she left the course. She and Wie did not speak or shake hands after the round.

Hanson also had no comment.

"I'm not going to answer anything about Michelle," she said.

It was the second time in three years that a teenager has been in the middle of controversy over etiquette at the U.S. Women's Open.

Morgan Pressel, 13 when she played at Pine Needles in the 2001 Women's Open, frequently walked in the putting line of her playing partners. One of them, Heather Daly-Donofrio, tried to speak privately to Pressel about the breach, but the teen wouldn't listen.

"Whatever," Pressel said at the time.

Daly-Donofrio also declined to comment two years ago, sensing she had nothing to gain by publicly criticizing a kid.

It also brought back memories of the 1998 U.S. Open, when Peter Kuchar angered Justin Leonard for his movement on the green and cheerleading while caddying for his son, U.S. Amateur champion Matt Kuchar.

Wie shot a 73 and at 4-over 146 was assured of making the cut. Ammaccapane had a 74 and was at 148.

Wie, a 6-footer from Honolulu who has been hailed as the future of women's golf, has grabbed attention with her 300-yard drives.

Two weeks ago Wie became the youngest player to win a USGA title for adults at the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links. Earlier this year, she played in the final group of an LPGA major at the Nabisco Championship.

She was one of 14 teenagers playing at Pumpkin Ridge.

USGA spokesman Marty Parkes walked with the group Thursday and noticed tension rising. He said on the 8th hole, Wie hit out of turn and Ammaccapane followed with a poor shot from the bunker.

He also said that the Wies had a tendency to walk up to quickly to their ball, and Hanson at times told them to stop and back up.

"Down the stretch it was a little frosty," Parkes said.

B.J. Wie said he complained to the USGA on Thursday night, asking that Ammaccapane not speak directly to Michelle and instead go through rules officials.

Krendra Graham, senior director of rules and competition for the U.S. Women's Open, would not discuss details about the alleged conflict or B.J. Wie's request.

"From what I understand there was some discussion and some effort was made today," said Graham, who met with Ammaccapane in the scoring area to discuss the matter after her round Friday.

"I think it's between Danielle and Michelle," Graham said, refusing to say whether any further action would be taken concerning the matter.

"He's entitled to what he has to say," Ammaccapane said of B.J. Wie. "If he wants to bad mouth me, he can bad mouth me."

After their round Friday, Ammaccapane left the green before Wie made her final putt. The two did not exchange words or shake hands.

"It was a good learning experience, I guess," Michelle said. "Now I won't do that anymore."