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After Further Review: Open win could be just the start for Wie

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Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. In this edition of After Further Review, our writers weigh in Michelle Wie's major breakthough and the successful experiment by the USGA to hold back-to-back Opens at Pinehurst No. 2.

Michelle Wie was the biggest star in the women's game before she won on Sunday, but you wouldn’t have called her the best player in the game, not by a long shot. With her U.S. Women's Open victory, Wie isn’t overtaking Rolex No. 1 Stacy Lewis as the best player in the game, but she’s in that conversation now, too. She’s knocking on the door. Wie’s ball-striking is as good as anyone’s in the women's game, and with her putter holding up so well under pressure at Pinehurst No. 2, she has a chance to make a run at Lewis. If Wie’s confidence in her unorthodox “table-top” putting stroke keeps growing, she isn’t done winning majors. Remarkably, she entered this week fourth in putts per greens in regulation in the LPGA ranks. She won at Pinehurst without a three putt. – Randall Mell


Of all the stats and facts and numbers that have surfaced in the wake of Michelle Wie’s first major championship win, this is by far my favorite: Wie is exactly one month younger than Annika Sorenstam was when she won her first major. That’s right – the same Wie who was written off years ago, who has been labeled a bust more times than she was called a phenom, won one before the 10-time major champion. There’s some delicious irony in that, not to mention a few lessons. Just as some have been quick to criticize Jordan Spieth for not closing in either of the year’s first two men’s majors, patience was rewarded with Wie’s triumph, too. It’s just another reminder that sometimes fulfilling potential can take a while. – Jason Sobel


The U.S. Golf Association’s decision to hold back-to-back Opens at Pinehurst No. 2 was not only doable but it was an inspired choice. Martin Kaymer’s eight-stroke masterpiece was testament enough to the Donald Ross layout, proving again the No. 2 course is one of America’s best at identifying the best player. But this week’s U.S. Women’s Open – which many, including your scribe, thought would be marred by less-than-stellar conditions following last week’s championship – was a telling encore. Michelle Wie and Stacy Lewis dueled late Sunday in another stellar finish. Back-to-back Opens may not be the best idea at many venues, but at Pinehurst it seems to have been a perfect one. - Rex Hoggard