WHO WOULD have guessed that Michelle would be a better golfer at 14 than she is now, at 18? Four years ago she was a prodigy. This year she graduated from high school, enrolled at Stanford and played eight LPGA events as a pro, earning $23,000, missing the cut three times and finishing with a 76.4 stroke average.
It's hard to say what's wrong with Wie. She said she broke her left hand in a fall last February and has had tendinitis in her right wrist, but the injuries were never described as significant by Wie, her parents or various (and often changing) representatives. Wie has endorsement deals said to be worth more than $12 million a year, and with big money comes high expectations and demands, and a kind of pressure few teenagers would be equipped to handle. But the expectations and demands were part of Wie's life in 2006, too, a year in which she contended in three majors.
In 2008 Wie is unlikely to get exemptions to play in PGA Tour events, based on her recent track record. She can play in six LPGA events on sponsors' exemptions, and she probably will. In the meantime the mystery of Michelle Wie deepens.
8 TIMES TIGER WOODS HAS TOPPED THE PGA TOUR MONEY LIST ($10.9 MILLION IN '07), TYING JACK NICKLAUS'S RECORD
.3 TENTHS-OF-A-YARD DROP IN AVERAGE DRIVING DISTANCE (288.6) ON TOUR, THE FIRST DECREASE SINCE 1993