she posted her best finishes ever on the LPGA tour. She finished
second at the first event of the year, in Hawaii, and at the
second Major of the year, the LPGA Championship, she not only
became the first non-LPGA member to be allowed to play, she
finished by herself in second place behind Annika Sorenstam.
She was tied for the lead at the US Women's Open going into
the final day, but did not do very well on Sunday, and finished
tied for third at the British Open.
Surprising virtually no one, Michelle turned
pro just after her 16th birthday, and immediately thereafter
signed huge endorsement deals with Nike and Sony. She is not
interested for the moment in joining the LPGA tour full time,
although she will continue to play a number of times on that
tour during the year. In her first event as a pro, the 2005
Samsung World Championship, she played well, but an illegal
drop in the third round forced her disqualification.
In 2006, she continued her pro career, and
unlike her problems at the Samsung, she could seemingly do
no wrong. She finished third at the Fields Open, then contended
in the first three Majors on tour. She finished in the top
ten in every LPGA event she played through July in 2006. She
also managed to finally make a cut on a men's tour: she finished
tied for 35th at the SK Telecom event on the Asian tour. Thus,
the only living women to make the cut at a men's tour event
are she and Se Ri Pak, who finished tied for 10th at a KPGA
event in 2003.
Wie's game took a marked downturn towards
the end of 2006. It started when she was forced to drop out
of a PGA event due to dehydration. She went on to finish virtually
last in the next couple of men's events she played. Even when
she played a women's event, the Samsung, she was not competitive.
As she reached 17 years of age, she was mired in the first
slump of her career.
Michelle graduated from high school in 2007
and, in the fall, went to Stanford. That was about the only
positive news she had all year. On the golf course, she had
a disastrous time. Her wrist injury forced her to miss several
months of tournaments, including the year's first Major, the
Nabisco. When she returned to action at the Ginn Open, she
played so poorly that she was in last place when she was forced
to bow out. Instead of challenging for wins thereafter, she
was frequently struggling just to finish the event or make
the cut. Even when she did make the cut, she would finish
last in the field among those who did. Wie only broke par
twice in 2007, and made less than $10,000 on the course.
After her fall semester at Stanford, Wie took
the spring off to prepare for golf in 2008. Although she struggled
with her long game, she still started the 2008 Fields Open
(in her native Hawaii) well, shooting her first round in the
60s in over a year. But she struggled toward the end and finished
last among those making the cut.
Wie showed definite improvement by the time
she reached her final event of the year, the State Farm Classic.
In fact, after three rounds, she was in the hunt for the title.
But she forgot to sign her scorecard before leaving the tent
after the third round and was disqualified.
Wie went to Qualifying School at the end of
the year and earned her exempt card by finishing tied for
7th. So at last, Michelle Wie became a rookie on the LPGA
tour in 2009.
In her very first tournament of the year,
in her home state of Hawaii, Wie very nearly won. She faded
at the end of the final round, however, and finished second.
She had a few more top fives after that, but was never quite
able to get the win. She finally broke through in her final
LPGA event of the season, the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, winning
for the first time since she won the Pub Links as a 13 year
All in all, it was a very good first season
on tour: she made nearly a million bucks, won her first tournament,
played on the Solheim team (thanks to a Captain's pick), and
collected 8 top tens.
In 2010, Wie continued to split her time between
college and professional golf. She was a bit inconsistent,
mixing great finishes with weaker ones all season. At the
Kia Classic, she had a 'classic' rules controversy when she
grounded her club in a hazard; the two stroke penalty docked
her from 2nd place to 6th.
The middle of Wie's season was pretty mediocre,
but she picked up the pace strongly in the Fall. She won her
second LPGA tournament by beating top Korean Jiyai Shin in
a final round duel at the CN Canadian Women's Open. The next
tournament she finished 2nd. In all, she managed 5 top tens
in 2010 and finished 9th on the money list, her first time
in the top ten.
Her 2011 season was a tad worse than 2010,
but still pretty strong. That year she finished 18th on the
money list with 7 top tens. She struggled in the Majors, although
she did have one top ten, at the Nabisco. Her best chance
to win came at the Canadian Women's Open, where she finished
second defending her title. She also appeared in the Solheim
Cup again, but had a pretty weak competition. She only won
one match, a foursome paired with Cristie Kerr, while losing
three other matches.
Wie struggled in 2012, making only one top
ten and missing 10 of 23 cuts. She earned a bit more than
$158,000 and finished 64th on the money list. She also graduated
from Stanford, and hoped to be able to focus full time on
Wie improved a little in 2013, although she
didn't win or even contend very often. She did make 4 top
tens during the season, including a tie for 9th at the LPGA
Championship, her best finish at a Major in some time. Her
best event, however, was the Hana Bank Championship in Korea
in the Fall. She made a final round charge that fell just
short, finishing tied for third, a shot out of the playoff
won by Amy Yang. Wie also played at the Solheim Cup as a Captain's
Wie had by far her career best year in 2014.
She won twice, ending her years-long winless streak, and captured
her first Major at the US Women's Open. She also finished
second at the Kraft Nabisco; those two Major finishes allowed
her to offset a cut and two skips at the other Majors to win
the Annika Award for best performance in the Majors in 2014.
All in all, Michelle accumulated 13 top tens
and made over $1.9 million, which was more than twice her
next best ever money earned in a single season. She also finished
4th on the money list and ended the year in the top ten in
the world rankings. And she ended the year with a sub-70 scoring
average to boot. Truly the best year of her career by a large
After her amazing 2014 season, her 2015 campaign
was a big step back. Her scoring average was 2 full strokes
worse for a start. She made only $348,000, which left her
49th on the money list. She did not win any events and did
not even make a top ten during the year (her best finish was
a solo 11th place in defense of her US Women's Open title).
Despite her struggles, she was still chosen
as a captain's pick for the Solheim Cup, and still easily
maintained full status on tour for 2016.
2016 was a struggle for Wie. She only finished
105th on the money list, dropping her to category 3 for 2017.
She managed only a single top ten all year, a tie for 10th
in China at the Blue Bay LPGA.
2017 was a return to form for the Hawaiian.
She finished 19th on the money list with nearly a million
dollars earned. She had eight top tens, including a tie for
third at the British Women's Open (she made a huge run at
leader IK Kim on the final day but fell just short) and a
solo 6th at the ANA Inspiration. She also did well at the
Solheim Cup. Her play in 2017 earned her category 1 status