It is fitting that Lucy Li, the 11-year-old who qualified for the US Open, debuted in the first major victory for Michelle Wie. There was some debate about whether Li was too young to participate in part because of the perceived plight of Michelle Wie. Michelle Wie made her début on the LPGA Tour at 13 years old. At the age of 14 Michelle finished 4th at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, which is a women’s major. Wie was such a ‘sure thing‘ that she played against the men on the PGA Tour before she won anything on the women’s tour. In hindsight that may not have been the best option, but Wie did break par at a PGA event, something even the great Annika Sorenstram didn’t do.
Michelle Wie was a child star, so it’s no wonder that she needed to leave the game for a while to rekindle her passion, and hopefully now she is here for the long haul. She has been away from the spot light, so people have forgotten about her, and the expectations aren’t as high, which probably helps. Golf is a mental game, and if you aren’t at peace mentally, then you can’t excel on the course. The LPGA hopes that Wie can excel because they need some excitement. It could be considered parody that no women golfers have been consistent enough to establish a name since Annika Sorenstram retired in 2008, but that is not a good thing especially for a woman’s sport. The big LPGA story this year was Paula Gretzky getting the cover of Golf Magazine, and not someone from the LPGA. Michelle Wie has name recognition, so she can bring women’s golf to a broader demographic. Whether she wins again or not, this victory put the LPGA in the spotlight more than they had been in years.
Michelle Wie on emotional US Women’s Open win (ESPN)