Michelle Wie skyrocketed to golf fame in her early teens, endured a rough stretch in which it appeared her potential might not be realized, then settled into an LPGA career.
Date of birth: Oct. 11, 1989
Place of birth: Honolulu, Hawaii
Nickname: Sometimes called "The Big Wiesy." It's a play on Ernie Els' nickname, "Big Easy," because of how her swing resembled Els' early on; and also because she is so tall at around 6-foot-1.
Michelle Wie Pictures
LPGA Tour Victories:
- 2009 Lorena Ochoa Invitational
- 2010 Canadian Women's Open
- 2014 Lotte Championship
Awards and Honors:
• Member, U.S. Solheim Cup team, 2009, 2011, 2013
• Member, Curtis Cup team, 2004
• Fred Couples on Wie at age 13: "When you see her hit a golf ball ... there's nothing that prepares you for it. It's just the scariest thing you've ever seen."
• Michelle Wie won the Women's Amateur Public Links Championship at age 13, making her the youngest person, male or female, to win an adult USGA championship.
• Set record as youngest player to play her way into an LPGA event (12 years, 4 months, 14 days at 2002 Takefuji Classic) via a qualifying round. This record was later broken.
• Holds record as youngest player to make the cut in an LPGA event (13 years, 5 months, 17 days at 2003 Kraft Nabisco Championship).
(For more, see the Michelle Wie Quiz, which covers her career up to her first LPGA win.)
Michelle Wie Biography:
A phenom in the world of golf, Michelle Wie traveled a path that was not just new to women's golf, but unique in the annals of golf history. How successful that path will turn out remains to be seen.
Only 17 years old by the end of 2006, Wie had already earned around $20 million in her rookie professional season - a previously unheard of figure for a female golfer.
That earning power was due largely to her star power around the world, which is driven not just by a winning smile and engaging personality, but by a series of achievements in her early teens no other golfer had ever before had.
However, injuries and swing problems halted Wie's progress in 2007, leading to a disastrous and controversy-filled season.
Wie rebounded in 2008, and in late 2009 posted her first LPGA victory. All along, it was her ability to excel at the highest levels of women's golf at such a young age, and her willingness to attempt playing at the highest levels of men's golf, that made her a lightning rod for attention, adulation, and criticism.
Wie's unusual path to golf stardom meant bypassing top junior competition and most top amateur competition to compete in LPGA Tour events as a sponsor's exemption, while also playing in traditionally men's tours around the world. She came close a couple times to making the cut on the PGA Tour, but also stumbled badly in some PGA Tour events (and during 2007, even in some LPGA events).
Her track record on the LPGA Tour through the end of 2006 was strong despite the lack of a victory, with high finishes, including many Top 5s, the norm. By the time of her first win late 2009, she had finished second in six tournaments with multiple strong showings in LPGA majors.
Wie's career path took a gloomy turn beginning at the end of 2006, when she developed soreness in one wrist. Things worsened in early 2007, when she suffered a fractured wrist after a fall.
Then the Wie camp made matters worse by attempting to return Michelle to tournament play much too soon. In her first round back following the wrist injury, she was 14-over par when she walked off the course in the 2007 LPGA Ginn Tribute. Wie struggled mightily through all of 2007.
In 2008, she began regaining her former form, but controversy still stalked her. She was in second place at the LPGA State Farm Classic after three rounds, but was disqualified for failing to sign her scorecard.
Wie looked much better over the second half of 2008, leading her fans to hope 2009 would mark a full return to form. And it did, as she successfully navigated LPGA Q-School at the end of 2008 and joined the LPGA Tour full-time for a successful rookie season in 2009. That year was capped by Wie's strong performance in the 2009 Solheim Cup, and then Wie's first victory as a pro at the 2009 LPGA Lorena Ochoa Invitational.
Wie hasn't played in a men's tournament since 2008. But since 2009, she has played in more Solheim Cups and added another LPGA victory. The year 2013 was a poor one for Wie, but she bounced back in 2014 with a series of strong finishes that culminated in her third victory at the Lotte Championship.
For more detail on Michelle Wie's early years in golf and her career path, see Michelle Wie's early years, or check the Michelle Wie Timeline, which traces her career path up through her first LPGA victory.