Featured Golf News
Wie Out to Capture Magic Again in Canada
Much was expected of Michelle Wie when, as a precocious 10-year-old in 2000, she snared the golf world's attention by becoming the youngest player ever to qualify for a USGA championship (a mark since broken).
Two years later she became the youngest player to ever qualify for an LPGA Tour event in Hawaii - her home state. In 2003, Wie became the youngest to make the cut in an LPGA tournament - a major no less, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, and won a U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links title that sent her public persona soaring.
In 2004 Wie became the youngest player to earn a spot on the Curtis Cup team, helping the American contingent to a 10-8 victory over the squad from Great Britain and Ireland. That same year she was given a sponsor's exemption to play in the Sony Open and set another mark by becoming the youngest female ever to play in a PGA Tour event.
In 2005 she played again in the Sony Open as well as the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic, missing the cut in both. She also went against the men again that year in the U.S. Amateur Public Links, qualifying for match play but getting beat in the quarterfinals by eventual champion Clay Ogden.
Other dalliances in men's competitions ensued - including a failed attempt to qualify for the 2006 U.S. Open and, that same year, a poor performance in the John Deere that forced her to withdraw on the 27th hole after being way over the cut line.
Her back-and-forth moves between the men's and women's pro tours caused the striking 6'1" Wie to become a polarizing figure, mainly because her game wasn't quite up to snuff on either the PGA or European men's tours. She also miffed some of her female cohorts when - after consulting with her agent on the golf course - pulling out of the 2007 Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika (Hall of Fame member Sorenstam) after 16 holes, citing a wrist injury. She was then seen practicing two days later at the site of the LPGA Championship in Bulle Rock, Md.
"I just feel there's a little bit of lack of respect and class just to kind of leave a tournament like that and come out and practice here," a miffed Sorenstam said at the time.
By 2009, after leaving the William Morris Agency and switching to another agency, IMG, Wie gradually got back into the good graces of her fellow women pros. That year she won the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Guadalajara, Mexico, for her first LPGA title, and was a captain's pick on the U.S. Solheim Cup, forging a 3-0-1 record in the American's 16-12 victory at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill.
The following year she notched her second LPGA victory in the Canadian Women's Open at St. Charles Country Club in Winnipeg. In that tournament Wie crafted a wire-to-wire win, finishing at 12-under 276 for a three-stroke cushion over four players.
During this period she began attending Stanford, where she enrolled in September 2007, splitting time between school and tour golf. Wie graduated from the university in March 2012 with a degree in Communications.
Wie is now strictly all about golf, though that hasn't meant she's found much recent success. In 14 starts this year, she's made seven cuts - including just one top-10 - en route to earning $83,317, ranking 73rd on the season's money list.
Now 22, a full decade after bursting onto the scene, Wie is in Vancouver, B.C., this week for another Canadian Women's Open. She had good success in the championship last year, sharing second place with Stacy Lewis behind winner Brittany Lincicome at Hillsdale Golf & Country Club near Montreal.
On Tuesday, from Vancouver Golf Club in Coquitlam, B.C., Wie met with reporters and talked about her success in Canada as well as her eventful career to date. She has no regrets. "I never second guess any of my decisions, really, because what is the use in that? You make a decision and you live with it. I was very happy in the way I lived my life," she said. "I never regret it. I love playing golf, and I still do love playing golf which I feel very lucky that I do."
Here's what else she had to say in a Q&A at the site of the 2012 Canadian Women's Open. The 72-hole, $2 million event starts Thursday.
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Michelle Wie to the interview room, 2010 CN Canadian Women's Open champion. I'm sure it's always good to hear that title.
MICHELLE WIE: It does.
Q. I know last year you finished runner up at this event coming off that win. Seems like you really seem to like this event. It's at a different golf course every year. Is there something about this event that really brings out the best in your golf game?
MICHELLE WIE: I love playing golf up in Canada. I absolutely love it up here. I think the crowds are just so nice. The people are just so nice here. We play different golf courses, but every golf course we go to are topnotch golf courses and always in perfect condition. Being my first time in Vancouver, I got really excited. I got to see a little bit of town yesterday, so I'm having a blast so far.
MODERATOR: Where did you go yesterday? What kind of places did you visit?
MICHELLE WIE: I think we were by Yaletown. I don't know the area specifically, but it was really nice. We had some really good food. I'm loving it here. It's like Asian food heaven.
Q. Last week you had a tremendous performance at the Safeway Classic. I know we've talked about the ups and downs and how this season's been going. But to record a Top 10 finish, how good a feeling was that? How nice was it to see your golf game come together in one week?
MICHELLE WIE: It's a lot of fun last week. It's been my toughest year so far, but I think that I've really tried to see positives through it and done a good job with that. I've enjoyed every single week. Even though I didn't play as well, I still try to take the positives out of it because the game is tough enough without beating yourself up too much. But last week was a lot of fun. After I made that putt, I felt like I had won. It was a really good feeling. Hopefully I can carry that feeling over to this week and play better.
MODERATOR: It's been a year with new challenges. You got done and graduated from Stanford. Transition to now being out here without school to keep you busy on both ends. How different has that been for you not having the balance of school and kind of learning a new routine on how to practice?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I'm playing golf full time, moved back to Florida. So that was definitely a transition for me. But I think with transition, it's always tough. As easy as they may seem or as easy as it may seem that I don't have to go to school now, but a transition is still a transition. I still need time to get used to it. I definitely am more used to it now. But I think it's going to hit me in September when I realize I don't have to go back to school. But it's a good feeling doing what I did, and I got my degree. I'm so proud of myself for that. And now I'm really enjoying playing "full time" I guess.
MODERATOR: You'll get to enjoy being alum watching a football game rather than just being a student. Questions for Michelle?
Q. I was wondering if you could talk about the whole Stanford experience and how difficult was it to kind of balance the golf and the academics? They don't give degrees away at Stanford, as I understand. You have to earn them. It must feel, like you said, very rewarding to have done that. I think a lot of people, when we saw you come out, you seemed focused on so much on golf that maybe you surprised people. You decided to get your degree, unlike Tiger who left a couple years at Stanford, you stayed and finished your degree. Talk about that experience and how much it meant to you?
MICHELLE WIE: It was never really a big - I mean, it was a big decision for me. But it wasn't a big change going from the really good high school and that prepared me well for college. Academics have always been a big part of my life growing up. Obviously, with my dad's side of the family and growing up with all of my family and cousins who are quite competitive academically. It was a very big part of my life. Going to college and Stanford was a big dream of mine growing up. So the fact that I got to do that, I feel so lucky and so grateful for all my experience that I got there. It wasn't that difficult. Struggling at times, it was, at times it wasn't, but it was worth it. I have so many great memories from it. I got my degree, and that is priceless for me. I think it's going to be really important for me in the future. I'm really glad that I did it, and it only took me four and a half years instead of the eight years that I was thinking of, so it's nice.
Q. What is it about Canada? There was a great moment in Winnipeg getting soaked by champagne there on 18. Do you envision that happening again in Vancouver?
MICHELLE WIE: I really hope so. I haven't won since then. In that moment there was a picture of me holding the trophy in my house. I look at it, and it was good times, and I definitely want to relive it. I'll work extra hard this week and hope to get to hold that trophy again because that would be really nice.
Q. What is your degree in?
MICHELLE WIE: Communications.
Q. You were so young when you started out here and there are so many kids starting out now. What do you see when you look at them? Have you ever second-guessed your decision to start as early as you did?
MICHELLE WIE: No, I never second guess any of my decisions, really, because what is the use in that? You make a decision and you live with it. I was very happy in the way I lived my life. I never regret it. I love playing golf, and I still do love playing golf which I feel very lucky that I do. It's nice. It kind of puts me back to golf where I was and I really wish them the best.
Q. The big news this week that Augusta is now allowing women's members. What is your reaction to that and would you consider being a member there?
MICHELLE WIE: I think that's very cool. I would love to play the golf course one time. I think it's great that they're allowing female members now.
Q. Being well rounded and going to University and having that experience. The next five years or ten years, do you want to devote yourself totally to golf or pursue other interests as well professionally? We see Serena and Venus what they did outside of tennis. Is it going to be all golf or 80/20 break down or something like that?
MICHELLE WIE: I don't think there will be a lot of breakdown. Obviously, right now I'm focusing fully on golf. But I think my mind is always busy in other regards. I'm not the one to do one task type of person. I've always been a multi tasker. I guess that's all of us women. But I would love to get into other things as well. But that's far down the line, whether it's with food or fashion, I would love to do other things and be able to use my degree in stuff like that. I think when I go into other ventures with my degree, it would be very helpful. Right now I definitely do want to become the best player that I can be. That is my priority. The other things would be just for fun or hobbies or other interests. But my career is in golf, and I definitely want to become the best player that I can be.
MODERATOR: You're already using that degree as part our LPGA Player Communications Committee and helping us out.
Q. Given the Augusta news is there an Augusta Master's title in your future? What do you see for women's golf?
MICHELLE WIE: You know it's not really relevant, I guess. I think that it's good that women have a chance to play at the golf course. Playing in a Masters has always been a dream of mine. You got to dream big, but you never know, but it will always be a dream of mine.
Q. You spoke earlier about young golfers. We've got one in this tournament. There is a 14 year old girl from Ontario a lot of Canadians will be following it on Sirius. When you look back when you were 14, what would you say the big challenge is in hindsight with someone following in your footsteps would have to be aware of?
MICHELLE WIE: Never mind the challenges. It's such a great experience. I'm so excited for her just to be out here. I remember when I played in my first LPGA event, I was just so star struck everywhere I went. I hit balls behind Meg Mallon. You grow up watching all these players, and you finally get to not only watch them play, but play with them. I think it's a fabulous experience. I think she's going to have a blast. I'm really excited for her, and I cannot wait to meet her and wish her good luck for this week.
Q. Did you have any courses from Professor Rice at Stanford?
MICHELLE WIE: Condoleezza Rice? No, I did not. Her class is really difficult to get into. It's not my major, per se. But I did see her a lot. I played a round of golf with her when she was in Hawaii by accident, so it was really nice catching up with her. She was at a lot of football games. She's a big sport activist. So it was really nice seeing her and just being able to talk to her was awesome.
Q. Do you get time to visit the city? Do you try to do that?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, you know, especially in cities like this. There's not a whole lot of cities that have this much culture. I really try to experience it. I probably won't have a lot of time to do a lot of things, but at least I got out yesterday and got to see a little bit of it. I went to Chinatown yesterday for lunch which was really fun. So I'm hoping to getting to to a lot more place this is week.
Q. How adventuresome were you with the menu items in Chinatown?
MICHELLE WIE: Pretty adventurous. We had dim sum, and some chicken feet, and all that fun stuff. I wouldn't go near the snake soup though. I crossed the line there.
Q. With your degree in communications, have you thought about working in the media?
MICHELLE WIE: No, my major in communications wasn't focused. I did take a class on reporting, which was fun. It was definitely interesting to be on that side of the looking glass than this side. It's hard. But my major isn't really focused on that. It was more focused on the research side of communications and social theories and stuff like that.
Q. How would you describe the state of your game now? Do you feel like you're ready to win again? How tough are the struggles that you've gone through this year where your play hasn't been as consistent as you're used to, obviously?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I think that's always where I've struggled with being consistent. I think that right now I definitely have gained a lot of confidence from last week which I'm definitely going to carry over to this week. I don't know. Just being consistent, going through every day and being comfortable out there and being confident in what I'm doing and being aggressive. That's really just what I'm focusing on this week.
Q. Have you had a chance to be out on the course and what are your early impressions?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, front nine and back nine are very different. Very slopy on the front nine. I was walking down 1, and I was like back up and I was like, oh, however much we go down, we have to go back up, and my caddie looked over like, yep. And then on the 4th hole, we went straight up the hill again. It's a very fun golf course. I like that the front and back nine are very different because you have a different view of every hole. It's a very interesting golf course. It's in great condition. The greens are really nice too. You don't want to be past the pin on a lot of the holes, but I think it's a very good golf course.
Q. Now that you have school behind you, do you think you can raise your level to the game like Yani and challenge to be number 1 in the world?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, that's where I'm looking to get my game. I want to be number 1. Now that I have the time, hopefully, that will help in that process. But I'm working really hard, and it's not always easy. But I'm really trying to be the best that I can be. I'm doing everything I can.
Q. What do you see you need to improve in your game?
MICHELLE WIE: Everything (laughing). You know, I've got to be more consistent. I feel like I'm a little bit streaky. So just need to be consistently good and getting the putts down. I just have to bring my entire game to the next level.
Q. How influential were your parents on you, and what, if any other sports, did you either play or follow?
MICHELLE WIE: I was a very active person ever since I was little. I loved playing sports. Music was not my forte. I took a couple of piano lessons, and I quickly found out that I was not musically talented. So I focused more on sports. I played a lot of sports growing up. I played baseball. I swam. I did soccer, ballet, tennis and golf, obviously. But you know, my parents wanted me to go out there and be active. I studied a lot since I was little too.
MICHELLE WIE: No, not really. I really liked it. The only thing they pushed was for me to go to Korean school on Sundays, and I'm thankful that I did, so I know Korean, so . . .
Q. (Indiscernible) with 48 of the top 50 women golfers in the world here?
MICHELLE WIE: The Canadian Women's Open always has one of the strongest fields of the year. We always look forward to coming to these events. It's a strong field. It's one of the strongest.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.