Michelle Wie gets to celebrate her first professional victory in her Hawaiian hometown while playing golf this week in what she considers her second home.
After winning the Lotte Championship Saturday, Wie flew to the San Francisco Bay Area on a red-eye flight late Sunday night to prepare to play in the Swinging Skirts Invitational this week. After a quick nap, she drove down to Stanford Monday, where she visited the university for the first time since she graduated two years ago.
“I was overwhelmed with emotion,” Wie said in her Swinging Skirts pretournament news conference. “I was like, 'I really want to be back here.' I was a little bit sad. I miss it ... Walked around campus, wanted to hug every single freshman I saw, because I wanted to be them.”
Wie, 24, played professionally while getting a communications degree from Stanford. She had dinner Monday night in San Francisco with friends she made at school.
“I really feel like the Bay Area is my second hometown, some of the best memories I have from my life,” Wie said. “I've always kind of told people, I think the best five years of my life were spent here in the Bay Area.”
Wie liked the way she blended in at Stanford. She said she was never treated like a celebrity or a big shot, and she liked that.
“They really didn't care, because they've accomplished so much themselves,” Wie said. “They're like, 'Oh, you just play golf. I did this and this and this.' So it was awesome. I'm so proud that I'm a Stanford grad. I really believe that we are a bunch of nerds, but at the same time, I think we're kind of cool. They are cool. I don't know if I am.”
Wie said she was also touched by the reception she got from fellow pros after arriving at Lake Merced Golf Club to begin preparing for this week’s tournament. She said Suzann Pettersen and Karrie Webb were among players who gave her hugs.