Michelle Wie wants to play fearless golf at Pinehurst No. 2
By Bernie D'Amato under US Women's Open
Major time. ©USGA/Matt Sullivan.

Major time. ©USGA/Matt Sullivan.

Michelle Wie is having one of her best seasons on the LPGA with eight top-10s, including a win at the LPGA Lotte Championship. In the pre-tournament press conference, she said, “I really feel like this is the beginning. I really feel like there’s so much ahead of me and I’m really grateful for everything that’s happened, and I can’t wait for the future.”

Those are the words of a confident player who is in the midst of a career resurgence. The U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 will be the 11th Open for the 24-year-old.

Like many of the LPGA players, Wie walked Pinehurst during the final round of the men’s championship. She saw Martin Kaymer win, and said, “I’m getting chills right now thinking about it. But it really just got me pumped up for Sunday.” Wie is one of the favorites this week, and she will have the opportunity to hoist the trophy on the same green as Kaymer.

To contend at Pinehurst, Michelle has all the information she needs. She was given the yardage books of Keegan Bradley and Rickie Fowler, and both of their caddies as well.

Wie said, “This is definitely a very challenging golf course. It’s not easy. You have to go out there and really figure out what the best place to miss it, what’s the best place to go, where not to miss it. It’s just a very challenging golf course and you have to hit the right shots and you have to be very prepared for it.”

You are only as good as your misses, but Michelle also wants to be fearless this week. She said, “That’s what I saw on Sunday, is that when I saw Dustin Johnson play, the longer players, that they take risks and if they go in the native, they go in the native. If not, great, then have you wedge into holes. I think that’s something that I need to do this week is to be fearless, and go out there and just play and take the risks.”

Watching the men also gave Wie a vision of how much she would like the women’s game to grow. “I think I was telling my agent that it really, seeing the big grandstands [for] the men, seeing that there were 400,000 people watching men last week, and then kind of directly comparing that to us, it really puts attention to how much we can get better. It really puts attention to kind of our goal.”

Michelle played her first U.S. Open as a 13-year-old, and believe it or not, there is an 11-year-old in the field this week named Lucy Li. Wie said her advice to Li is, “I would say just to have fun. Go out there, try to learn as much as you can, go up to any pro, we’re not scary, we won’t bite. Just ask us anything.”

As a Tour veteran playing in her 11th Open, Wie has the experience and the game to win her first major this week.

–Bernie D’Amato