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Michelle's Golf Swing Highlights - Turned Professional 2005

Full Name: Michelle Sung Wie
Born: Oct. 11, 1989
Family: Only child of Korean-American parents.
Nickname: The Big Wiesy
Burning Desire: To play in the Masters
Favorite Golfer: Tiger Woods

This 17 year old is a typical kid except when she tees it up. This 17 year old female can drive the ball 280-300 yards. In her 2003 LPGA appearance this year, the Kraft Nabisco Championship on a sponsors exemption, she averaged 286 yards???????? Is this kid for real?

Michelle started to play golf at the age of 4. She always tried to hit the ball hard even as a 4 year old. "Michelle has always liked to hit the ball hard," the father says now. "Sometimes it would go right, sometimes left, but it didn't matter. She just wanted to hit it hard."

The little girl is a big girl now, almost 6 feet tall, the baby fat melting away by the hour. She doesn't look 13 and she doesn't act 13. She doesn't hit the golf ball like she is 13 either. Michelle Wee probably has more potential than any girl we have ever seen.

"Laura Davies hits it a long way, but she does it with both heels off the ground," Gilchrist says. "I don't know if we'll ever see a woman hit it this far with such effortless action. Ever." "The power of her swing, her demeanor -- there's something special about Michelle.

Michelle was paired with Tom Lehman in a recent tournament, who was so blown away by her likeness to Ernie Els that he cleverly nicknamed her the "Big Wiesy."

It's not that Wie's talent is so difficult to comprehend, but the possibilities it may present. At the 2002 Hawaii State Open, the Aloha PGA of America section championship with a smattering of former tour pros, lots of club pros and others who play better than scratch, the Big Wiesy shot eight under for three rounds. She beat every male in the field from a set of tees at about 6,200 yards.

Whether you're 13 or 30, when you hit it 280, it's a long walk to the next shot. "You can read about her all you want," says Fred Couples. "You hear everything there is to be heard, but when you see her swing -- when you see her hit a golf ball -- there's nothing that prepares you for it. It's just the scariest thing you've ever seen."

"The thing about her is there is nobody to compare her to." -- Fred Couples When Michelle gets to high school next year, she'll play on the girls team. Because first and foremost, she is a girl. A U.S. Women's Amateur would be nice, and there will be plenty of national competition in the next five years, but when you're 13 years old and beating grown men, when you've walked fairways with Fred Couples and Tom Lehman, it doesn't really matter if you collect trophies the way other girls collect teddy bears. All people really want to know is how good you can be.

MIchelle's father, B.J., came to America in 1983, her mother, Bo, in 1987. They were married a year later in Los Angeles and moved to Honolulu, where Michelle, their only child, was born a year later, making her a U.S. citizen. The three played a lot of golf together at Waikiki's Ali Wai GC, one of the world's busiest municipals.

Michelle says learning is almost as much fun as hitting a golf ball. Her last report card was superb: all A's except for a B-plus in Chinese, sort of like a bogey on the 18th hole to shoot 63. Her favorite subject is math. Someday, Michelle would like to get her Ph.D. in business or finance.

Maybe she'll get bored. Maybe she'll stop getting better and never become a 21st century version of Mickey Wright. You just never know when they're 13. "I don't want to see her become the best player in the world when she's 16 years old and run out of things to play for," Couples says. "The thing about her is, there's nobody to compare her to."

There is no rush, but Wie dreams of one day making waves in the men's game. Michelle played in three LPGA tournaments last year, missing the cut each time.

You can't miss the big girl in the ponytail. In due time, the big girl in the ponytail can't miss. "Michelle has never needed to be pushed," B.J. says. "The fun has always been in the challenge. The goal has never been to cross gender barriers."

Of course, his daughter would disagree. "My ultimate goal is to play in the Masters," Michelle says.

April 24, 2003

Michelle Wie and her father

Click on the Video Camera to view Michelle Wie's golf swing

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