Not far from where Michelle Wie earned a degree at Stanford University, but a couple of generations removed, the Grateful Dead crooned to tie-dyed San Francisco: “What a long, strange trip it’s been.”
Wie may not know the song, but she gets the sentiment.
Wie popped onto the national scene at age 12 when she played her first LPGA tournament in 2002. Two years later, she captured hearts when she missed the cut in a PGA Tour event by one stroke. Labeled by Ernie Els “The Big Wiesy,” her potential seemed like a bountiful room with no ceiling.
But what followed has been a roller-coaster ride through the heights and valleys of not just golf but also human emotion. Her long, strange trip has visited injury, illness and missed cuts as well as the winner’s circle and wild popularity. And now, shockingly, the one-time teen sensation will be 30 when the season ends.
Still, the promise of Wie’s potential looms large over the women’s game. For many there is the hope and for some there is the expectation that she will yet produce a single season that will mirror her 10-year LPGA career – five wins, including a major championship.
If only she can remain healthy. And that’s a big “if.”
Last week’s Honda LPGA Thailand was just her second event since Aug. 2 and followed surgery on her right hand in October. That operation is the latest addition to a medical chart that includes appendicitis, bursitis, a strained Achilles tendon, a sprained left wrist and a litany of food alle...
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