she realized many of her friends were
graduating in four years and leaving
Stanford last summer. Wie accelerated
her pace, stayed in school for the 2011
spring quarter and took a full class load
in the fall and again this winter.
Inevitably, her two worlds intersected.
Sometimes, during tournaments in distant lands, Wie awoke at 3 a.m. to take a
midterm. She often brought her laptop
on trips and wrote papers late at night.
The perpetual balancing act and travel
schedule occasionally left her exhausted,
but she wanted a Stanford degree.
Beyond the academic prestige, Wie
embraced the social life. She enjoys
being part of a large group, whether
it’s joining Espinoza and other friends
in Arizona for the Fiesta Bowl or
joining Kim and other golfers for the
Solheim Cup. She claims she will even
miss the stress of final exams because
students often gathered to study and commiserate together.
Wie’s Stanford years have made her realize she loves meeting new
people, eating new foods, trying new things. Those discoveries might not
help win more tournaments, but they matter to her. “I didn’t go into college
thinking, ‘Is this going to help my game or not help my game?’ ” she says.
“It’s just something I needed as a person. … Now that I’m going to be done,
I’m more ready to fully commit to golf.”
so after 4½ years in college, she has a Stanford degree, friends for life, a deep reservoir of good memories, newfound respect from her parents, colorful hair and a cute dog. What to make of Michelle Wie, the golfer? She collected two LPGA wins during her college years, the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in November 2009 and the CN Canadian Women’s Open in August 2010. Wie finished
in the top 20 on the money list in each of her first three years as an
LPGA member, showing impressive steadiness.
Then again, she didn’t win last year (though she posted seven
top-10s), and she struggled in her first two starts this season (T- 38
in Thailand and 59th in Singapore). She
played much better in majors as a 15- and
16-year-old (five top-fives) than she did the
past three years (one top- 10).
Wie offers no regrets about her forays
onto the PGA Tour, where she made eight
starts as a teenager (plus one on the
Nationwide Tour), and she still dreams
about playing in the Masters. But she
repeatedly insists her prevailing ambition
is to reach No. 1 in the women’s world rankings. She is currently 20th.
“Given her physical ability, she still has
the potential to be very good,” says Kay
Cockerill, the longtime tour pro and current Golf Channel commentator. “I just
don’t know how strong she is mentally
or how passionately she wants to play
the game. Does she want to get that little
ball in the hole faster than anybody else,