Tell the truth, you wrote off Michelle Wie, didn’t you? You gave up on the kid, dismissed her as just another flash in the pan, another prodigy that fizzled. And you probably shook your head when she decided to finish school before joining the LPGA tour full time. Was she nuts, taking a pass on an opportunity to mint millions just so she could get a Stanford degree in communications?
And I bet you rolled your eyes when she adopted that “table top” putting style (above). What on earth was she thinking, bending over like that, her long, long legs making her look like an exotic bird?
What do you have to say now? Now that she has won her major, not just any major but the Big One, the US Women’s Open, now that she has pocketed $1.6 million and looks to make millions more by year end?
What can you say? What can anyone say?
Michelle Wie was right all along. She stuck to her guns while the critics howled – even overriding her coaches and parents as she matured.
And she did it with a smile. She never abandoned her girlish sense of fun, the whimsical joie de vivre that put streaks in her hair as a 14-year-old playing with the pros and designer bandages on her leg as a 24-year-old winning her first major.
From all accounts, Michelle Wie is popular among LPGA competitors, despite her prodigious talent, which could be expected to incite envy among her rivals. She insists on having fun in good times and bad. And the other pros – most of them anyway – enjoy her upbeat company.
The fans love her too. Old Pinehurst No. 2 shook as the sound waves reverberated across those diabolical greens and winding fairways. Michelle had won – in America! She had already won LPGA trophies in Mexico and Canada, but not in America, not until now.
She took the harder way, the way less traveled, and it has led to her first major win – the first of many, you can go to the bank on that.
How sweet it is! She insisted on doing it her way, the bumpy way, and that has made all the difference. Here’s how she put it after her victory on Sunday:
Without your downs, without the hardships, I don’t think you appreciate the ups as much as you do. I think the fact that I struggled so much, the fact that I kind of went through a hard period of my life, the fact that this trophy is right next to me, it means so much more to me than it ever would have when I was 15.