A breakdown on #16, a decisive birdie putt followed by a fist pump that out-Tigered Tiger on #17, a stately par before a filled grandstand on 18 and Michelle Wie claimed dominion over Pinehurst No. 2 last Sunday, becoming the 2014 US Women’s Open champion. It was her first major victory, her fourth career win, sweet vindication for the outrageous girl golfer now grown into a self-assured, focused, twenty-four old athlete who’s game has been incubating for a decade, nurtured by playful rounds with buddies Ricky Fowler and Ernie Ells and tested on playing fields around the world.
Wie danced a victorious hula at the LPGA LOTTE Championship in April and she’s been having the best season of her young career, so her win at the Open feels in some respects like a natural progression of events. Yet to win the US Women’s Open is a heady experience, and calls for a great celebration. Wie was up to the job, demonstrating her winning athletic style by finishing off Sunday drinking from a beer-filled Harton S. Semple Trophy while Hawaiian reggae band pals provided the background accompaniment in a private room at the ever-so-proper Carolina Hotel.
Wie’s the first American to win the Open since Paula Creamer claimed the victory in 2010 and she’s being embraced like a home-town heroine by people who’ve never touched a golf club, including my friend Bettie Rose, who emailed me a single query Monday morning: Were you satisfied with Wie’s win? Of course I was satisfied!
Wie followed her beer guzzling Sunday night bash with a whirlwind PR tour on Monday and Tuesday — an appearance on the Today Show, radio and other television interviews, fielding questions with the skill of a seasoned celebrity, promoting the LPGA, and getting in a bit of NYC shopping before heading to Rogers, Arkansas and the WalMart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G, where it’s back to work for the LPGA’s newest champ!