Michelle Wie begins to deliver on immense promise with Open win
Michelle Wie's impressive US Open showing leaves her as the only woman under par.
In 2003, Michelle Wie was 13 years old.
She was a phenom then, she's a phenom now. Except then the expectations for her world were out of control. Here are the kinds of things her dad was saying about her then as a barely-teenager.
"Tiger is her benchmark. Not women -- Tiger."
That seems silly for anyone, much less a 13-year-old, much less a 13-year-old who doesn't play in the same league as Tiger Woods.
Or, as Adam Sarson said:
Wie's another example of a player held to the unrealistic Tiger standard. Winning at this level isn't easy, and she's still just 24.— Adam Sarson (@Adam_Sarson) June 22, 2014
That was silliness, of course, but her journey to what she accomplished Sunday at Pinehurst No. 2 in becoming the 2014 US Women's Open champion was anything but.
Wie shot a scarier-than-it-sounds 70 on Sunday to beat Stacy Lewis by two and win the first major championship of her career: The 2014 US Women's Open.
How cool does that sound?
On Sunday, Wie made a mess of the 16th hole as a double bogey dropped her to a one-stroke lead over Lewis. But then she recovered with a huge putt on No. 17 for birdie to seal the deal. Here's a look:
On Saturday Wie said that despite her long, winding journey, she was nonplussed.
"Yeah, I mean this is exactly where I wanted to be. That's why I work hard, I want to be in positions like this," she said.
"I want to be in the final pairing of the US Open and it's just great. It's really, I think it's more and more motivating that when I play well that I want to work harder."
Her day-by-day scores from Pinehurst: 68-68-72-70 to finish 2 under for the championship. It's the first time in four years an American has won this tournament.
"I definitely got a lot of goosebumps walking up No. 18," Wie told NBC's Steve Sands after her win.
"There are moments of doubt in there but I had so many people surrounding me. They never lost faith in me, that's what kind of pushed me forward."
The doubt at one point was quite big. Wie ended the 2008 year as the 238th-ranked golfer in the world. She addressed this and her bumpy run as a teenager earlier in the week at Pinehurst.
"When I was 15 and 16, I think kind of the troubles that I came into when I was younger is that I tried to plan my life," Wie said. "And a lot of times, things don't happen the way they should, or the way they should in my mind. So I'm just kind of going out there living it day by day."
There's more, though.
More to Wie and more to her story.
There's irony, too. Because Wie, using a strange tabletop putting stance that looks somewhat similar to how a robot would putt, didn't three-putt all week.
In 2010 Wie talked about how she releases tension off the course by drawing robots.
"I think my life is so uniform, I make fun of it by drawing robots."
Wie's reaction (seen above) to following her double bogey with a quick chuckle to her caddie and dagger birdie on the next hole was exactly the opposite.
It was personal and real and fun and everything we've ever wanted from Wie.
It was perfect.
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