Michelle Wie was supposed to be the savior of the LPGA. Young and beautiful, with a swing that seemed perfect, the Hawaiian was the subject of huge expectations when she turned professional six years ago at the age of 15. With her prodigious length off the tee, Wie was expected to dominate the LPGA and be competitive on men’s tours.
Six years later none of those expectations have been met. Wie, now 21, has struggled to match her educational aspirations – she’s at Stanford pursuing a communications degree – with her golf career as a can’t miss superstar. It is hard to imagine, given the hype placed on her – and created by her team when she turned professional – that she would be a complete bust playing against male pros and only have two wins on the LPGA. One of those wins came last year in Winnipeg when Wie won the CN Canadian Women’s Open. She’s in Montreal defending this week.
“Obviously golf is a very long road, and I’ve had my ups and downs,” Wie told reporters during a press conference at Hillsdale Golf and Country Club, the host course for this year’s CN Canadian Women’s Open. “I’ll never know, you know, when I reach my full potential. I think I’ll know that after I’m done. It’s something that you kind of look at and realize after you’re done. You’re like, oh, this is when I played my best, because right now it’s a constant fight.”
A constant fight indeed. This year has seen Wie start a dalliance with a long putter – astounding considering her fearlessness when she first joined the LPGA – and she hasn’t finished higher than a tie for 28th in her last five events. Not exactly the Tiger-esque career most pegged her for when in 2003 she became the youngest player ever to make the cut in the LPGA.
Was too much expected too soon?