Go to contents

Wie Finally Breaks Jinx, Wins 1st LPGA Title

Posted November. 17, 2009 08:41,   


She used to be called a sensation. She gained the spotlight in her teens for competing in professional golf tournaments for men and women.

She even signed sponsorship agreements worth tens of millions of dollars. Wealth and fame came all at once to her.

Michelle Wie, however, saw the high expectations of her turn into criticism because of a prolonged slump. Making matters worse, she suffered a wrist injury and struggled. She felt as if she was history.

Despite her experience of difficulty that she could barely handle at times, Wie was all smiles yesterday while holding up the champion’s trophy that she so strongly wanted.

In the fourth round of the LPGA Lorena Ochoa Invitational at Guadalajara Country Club (par 72) in Mexico yesterday, Wie shot a three-under-69 to clinch the title with an overall score of 13-under-275.

She won for the first time in 65 tournaments over an eight-year period beginning with the Takefuji Classic in 2002, when she was only 13.

Born in Hawaii, she started golf at age five. She made a name for herself at all major tournaments she played in with the phrase “the youngest” as a high school junior. Standing 183 centimeters (six feet) tall, she had a drive exceeding 300 yards that served as her symbol.

Wie seemed poised to dominate golf as the “female Tiger Woods,” but reality proved cruel to her. She often participated in men’s tournaments, only to invite criticism that her challenges were ill-advised amid a string of failures.

At age 16 in 2005, she turned pro. Fans, however, still have vivid memories of her bursting into tears after being disqualified at her debut tournament, the Samsung World Championship.

When she entered Stanford University in 2007, some wondered if she would give up golf given the pressures of both playing and studying at the prestigious school.

Worse still, she suffered a wrist injury yet played in seven LPGA events. Her average score surged to 76.9, however. She failed to make the cut twice and received the cold shoulder from other competitors.

Last year, she even got disqualified for erroneously filling out her scorecard. After attending qualifying school, she rejoined as a regular LPGA member but her first win proved elusive.

Her road to victory was an elusive, long and tough path. Still, she did not give up and has clinched her first LPGA title on her 65th attempt.

“Wow, life will be a lot better,” she said.