November 15, 2009
After all the promises and the hype, after all the endorsements and the embarrassing gaffes, after all the celebrity-before-achievement insanity that has surrounded Michelle Wie for most of the last decade, we at last have this: Michelle Wie has won her first LPGA tournament.
Wie notched a two-stroke win over Paula Creamer at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Guadalajara, Mexico, marking a new high point in a 10-year career that began when she qualified for a USGA event at age 10.
It wasn't an easy win, and Wie had every opportunity to give this one away. Creamer and Cristie Kerr were even with Wie as late as the 12th hole on the final day, but this time around it was the others, not Wie, who faded in the stretch. And all of a sudden, Michelle Wie's story looks much different today than it did four days ago.
Because she had so much so soon for so little effort, Wie has naturally attracted legions of detractors who critique her every misstep. And it's easy to see why; she got untold millions based on potential alone, and then appeared to squander that potential time after time. But right around this time last year, she buckled down, played her way onto the LPGA, and now here we are.
Sure, this is just one win. She could easily go into a tailspin. But combine this with her outstanding, undefeated play at the Solheim Cup and a newfound sense of perspective on the course, and you could be looking at that rarest of all sports breeds – a prodigy who lives up to her potential.
As we wrap, it's worth pointing out one little statistic. Here are the ages when several of golf's most prominent names won their first LPGA tournament.
Annika Sorenstam: Age 24
Lorena Ochoa: Age 22
Cristie Kerr: Age 24
Jiyai Shin: Age 20 years, six months.
Oh, and Michelle Wie? She turned 20 a month ago.
At long last, Michelle Wie gets 1st LPGA Tour win [AP via Yahoo! Sports]