Wie hoping to cook up major success


2007 Kraft Nabisco ChampionshipRANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – When Michelle Wie is upset, cookies appear by the dozens.

Oatmeal-raisin cookies start coming out of her oven like they’re on an assembly line.

Brownies, too.

When she’s frustrated, she also likes to sew.

That’s what we learned about Wie in the aftermath of her derailing with a two-shot penalty in the final round of the Kia Classic.

Michelle Wie
Michelle Wie has her sights set on her first major victory. (Getty Images)

“I baked for five hours,” Wie said.

If Wie wasn’t rolling cookie dough Monday morning, she was stitching hems.

“I made a nice dress,” Wie said. “It was a very productive morning.”

Wie’s penalty for grounding her club in a hazard on the 11th hole at La Costa Sunday might have infuriated her, but she made it clear Tuesday that it’s behind her with her focus on this week’s Kraft Nabisco Championship. She managed to skillfully diffuse any tension that may linger over the ruling with good humor.

Wie was chasing Hee Kyung Seo Sunday at the Kia Classic when she was penalized for grounding her club in a hazard after hitting a shot from the water beside the 11th green. She insisted she was using the club to help her catch her balance, which is permissible under the Rules of Golf. She was upset that LPGA rules officials thought otherwise in denying her appeal. The two shots meant Wie finished tied for sixth instead of tied for second.

“I think it was very unfortunate, and I’ve left that where it was last week,” Wie said. “Now, I’m here at Kraft Nabisco, and I’m really excited to play this week.”

Wie has a good history in the year’s first major championship. Combine that with her returning form, and she’s among the favorites to win. She broke through to win her first LPGA event at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational last fall and appears ready to make a run at winning her first major.

“I didn’t have the run I wanted to have [last week], but I think it definitely brings motivation into this week,” Wie said. “I’m really ready. I’m really excited, and I just can’t wait.”

The first time Wie teed it up at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, she played her way into the final Sunday pairing with Annika Sorenstam and Patricia Meunier-Lebouc, who went on to win. Wie was just 13. She finished fourth the next year and tied for third when she was 16.

Wie seemed destined to win the Kraft Nabisco and so much more, but a pair of wrist injuries sent her into that woeful slump in the 2007 and ’08 seasons. She missed the Kraft Nabisco both those years and struggled when she returned last season, shooting a pair of 81s in the middle rounds on the way to tie for 67th.

“I was still injured at this point,” Wie said.

The wrist injuries were improving, but the damage done to Wie’s swing and confidence was still a factor a year ago.

“Michelle was still rehabbing the wrist back then,” said David Leadbetter, her swing coach. “She is so much stronger now than she was a year ago. All the strength’s back in her arms and wrists. She has all the lag back in her swing. She’s really hitting it long again.”

Wie’s victory late last year did wonders for her confidence despite an ankle injury that caused her to withdraw from the season-ending LPGA Tour Championship. She reports she’s completely healthy now.

“As long as I don’t walk into any holes or walk into a tree, I’m good,” Wie said.

Leadbetter says improved health has done wonders for Wie’s swing.

“She is swinging pretty much as good as ever,” Leadbetter said.

If Wie’s ball striking is on this week, it could come down to her putter. Though she spoke with putting guru Dave Stockton last week and briefly again this week, Stockton said he hasn’t worked extensively with her since their union sparked her terrific putting performance at the Solheim Cup last year.

Wie’s greatest asset this week may be her renewed determination.

“She’s pretty confident,” Leadbetter said.