Born in Honolulu, Hawaii in October, 1989, Michelle Wie West was the most celebrated golfer since Tiger Woods and, early in her career, looked likely to become a dominant force in the women’s game. In 2002, as a twelve-year-old amateur, she qualified for the Takefuji Classic at the Waikoloa Beach Resort in Waikoloa, Hawaii, making her, at the time, the youngest player to qualify for an LPGA event. The following season, Wie made the cut in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, won the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship and made the cut in the U.S. Women’s Open, making her the youngest player to do so on all three occasions.
Wie turned professional, to no little fanfare, a week before her sixteenth birthday in October, 2005, and reportedly received endorsements worth $10 million a year. Too young to join the LPGA Tour, she relied on sponsors’ exemptions and, controversially, continued to do so after she turned eighteen in October, 2007, rather than entering LPGA Q-School. However, Wie did enter LPGA Q-School in 2008, finishing seventh and thereby becoming eligible to play on the LPGA Tour, full-time, in 2009.
As professional, Wie won her first tournament, the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Guadalajara, Mexico in November, 2009, but thereafter her career did not take off in the way that might have been expected. The following August, she won the Canadian Women’s Open, in Winnipeg, Manitoba by three strokes, but did not win again until the Lotte Championship, in Kapolei, Hawaii, in April, 2014. Two months later, Wie won her first and, so far, only major championship, the U.S. Women’s Open, in Pinehurst, North Carolina by two strokes from Stacy Lewis. After a lengthy hiatus, she won her fifth LPGA event, the HSBC Women’s World Championship, in Sentosa, Singapore, in March, 2018.