Player Profile: Michelle Wie
24 Apr 2014
On Sunday, Michelle Wie won her third professional title at the LPGA Lotte Championship. This week’s player profile traces Wie’s successful career as she makes her mark on women’s golf.
Early days in Hawaii
24-year-old Wie was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, of South Korean parents. A talent for golf runs strong in the Wie family – Michelle’s mother, Bo, was South Korean women’s amateur champion in 1985 and many of her relatives are avid golfers. With such strong influences around her the young Wie soon developed a love of golf, winning her first amateur tournament at age 11.
A red-hot amateur career
Wie’s teen years were filled with victories on the US amateur circuit. In 2003 she set the record for youngest amateur to make a cut at the Kraft Nabisco Championship – Wie was just 13 at the time. Later that season, she won her first title at the Women's Amateur Public Links tournament – setting another record for youngest golfer to win a USGA event. Just a few months shy of her 14th birthday, Wie was already gaining a reputation as golf’s girl wonder.
Two years after her first amateur win, Wie turned professional at the age of 16. Nike and Sony were on hand to offer her generous sponsorship deals as she continued to draw media attention. LPGA rules only allow golfers aged 18 and older to compete at professional events, and Wie was forced to wait until the 2009 season to make her official debut in women’s golf. During the 2006 -2008 seasons she participated successfully in selected events on the LPGA Tour.
Following her 2009 debut, Wie has won three times at professional level. Her first victory came in her first season on tour when she won the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, beating seasoned pro Paula Creamer by two strokes. The follow year, she won the Canadian Women’s Open to build a solid reputation for winning on the LPGA Tour.
After a gap of three seasons, Wie was victorious again on Sunday, reminding fans that she is a force to be reckoned with in the world of professional golf – all before the age of 25.