There was a time, over a decade ago, when we looked at Michelle Wie as being the “female Tiger Woods“. She burst onto the golf scene as a teenager, hit the ball a mile, and even competed with men in PGA Tour events. When she struggled, our expectations diminished. Now, following her win at the U.S. Women’s Open, it looks like she’s ready to step up and reach those lofty heights once and for all.
It’s easy to forget that Wie is still just 24 years old in a game that’s getting younger and younger seemingly by the week. By comparison, current world No. 1 Stacy Lewis is 29, Anna Nordqvist is 27, and a resurgent Karrie Webb is enjoying success at 39. Wie may not have experienced the overnight success many expected of her, but in reality, she still has an entire career ahead of her.
What could this mean for women’s golf as a whole? If Wie can maintain some success, only good things. As loathe as many of us may be to admit it, golf is more popular to the casual fan when a household name is on top of the sport. Ratings for this year’s men’s U.S. Open were down dramatically without Woods, even though Martin Kaymer‘s absolute dominance was a compelling story in its own right.
Should Wie continue to run off high finishes and victories, that will draw more fans, something the LPGA desperately needs. More fans equals better attendance and TV ratings, which in turn equals more money. It’s a win for everybody, and something that’s been years in the making.
Really though, all that is for the future. Right now, this more mature version of Michelle Wie, one who had stardom thrust on her perhaps before she was really ready for it, is something incredible to watch, and it’s going to be a lot of fun to see where this goes.