Wednesday, September 21

Michelle Wie Defends Mixing Books and Birdies

Editor’s note: Brian Keogh is a golf correspondent for The Irish Sun and a contributor to The Irish Times, Golf Digest Ireland and other golf publications. The following excerpt from Brian’s Irish Golf Desk is used with permission. 

By Brian Keogh

MICHELLE WIE HAS HIT BACK at European vice-captain Annika Sorenstam again and insisted that hitting the books has made her all grown up. Ten-time major winner Sorenstam believes the big hitting Hawaiian has made a mistake by mixing the tour with her degree at Stanford University and isn’t “mentally strong enough to finish at the top.”

Michelle Wie is a proud Stanford student.
But as she prepares to lead the US in Solheim Cup battle with Europe at Killeen Castle this week, Wie reckons that mixing books and birdies was just what she needed to make up for a lost childhood.

Set to graduate next March, Wie said: “I think that going to college is a very good decision for me. I think it’s a very personal decision. I didn’t have the normal childhood, per se, growing up in the spotlight.

“Obviously, I was very connected at the hip with my parents, going to every tournament and spending a lot of time together.

“I think for me going to college was a step for me to grow up, for me to go out there in the real world and kind of live out by myself and get an education. I’ve never felt so proud when I got that acceptance letter for me to go. It was a very personal decision. I don’t regret it at all.”

Wie turned professional with Tiger Woods-style hype just before her 16th birthday, signing contracts with Nike and Sony believed to be worth over $12m. But she has won just twice on the LPGA Tour since and Sorenstam reckons she’s got her priorities all wrong and failed to live up to the fanfare.

Sorenstam said: “I think really her focus, in my opinion, should be more on the golf. She’s very distracted with school, doesn’t really play as much full time as I thought she would. I think she needs to come out here and compete more regularly.”

Wie insists her studies make her work even harder on her game and she’s hoping to prove it by grabbing her second Solheim Cup win and America’s fourth in a row. She won three and half points out of four on her debut in 2009 but insisted: “I feel like a rookie. I’m really excited to see what’s going to happen this week.”

The Americans are odds on favourites with the bookies but US veteran Angela Stanford is claiming that they’re the underdogs.

Stanford said: “This is my fourth time and this is the most consistent European team I have faced from top to bottom. They’re solid, and they’re at home.”

Brian Keogh covers golf for The Irish Sun and contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.

(Photo credit: Keith Allison, Flickr, Creative Commons license)


Anonymous said...

This is kinda dicey but Annika Sorenstam wasn't knocking her,Wie.Sorenstam was just indicating why Wie hasn't won as much as everyone thought she would,and it's highly plausible,Wie is a student at Stanford & it's not easy to produce your best golf being a fulltime student & competeting on the LPGA.

LifeGroupie said...

I think Sorenstam was totally knocking her, but Wie is smart in more ways than one. How many athletes come to the end of their careers or get an unexpected injury and have nothing to fall back on. The most successful people know that education is important. It's great to make the big money, but if you are not educated on what to with it, you may end up relying on someone else who may or may not have your best interests at heart. You go Michelle!