Troubled times for Wie as U.S. Open begins

Michelle Wie, U.S. Open
Eric Risberg/AP
Michelle Wie will enroll at Stanford this fall.

You want it to end well, but somehow it doesn't seem it will. Child sports prodigies are a lot like child actors in that everything they do is not so cute once they start growing up.

Michelle Wie is growing up, and fast. Just a few weeks ago she was busily filling out a housing application for Stanford, where she plans to live this fall in a dorm with other kids her age.

Like her, they're smart and gifted. Unlike her, they don't have $10 million in the bank and golf fans scrutinizing their every move.

Lately those moves have been scrutinized more than ever as Wie's game spirals downward on the same path as her confidence level. At age 17, she can't find the fairway with her driver, and the idea of competing against the men seems laughable when she can't even beat her own gender.

Wie made matters worse recently by antagonizing the best woman in the game. And many think she was playing games when she walked off the course during a horrible round recently with a wrist injury that seemed almost too convenient.

Wie's still rich, and she's still famous, or as famous as a female golfer can be. But the novelty of being a long-hitting 13-year-old who could hold her own with the best in the world has worn off, and she has yet to add a trophy of any sort to the family home in Hawaii.

The U.S. Women's Open begins Thursday in North Carolina, where Lorena Ochoa, Annika Sorenstam and teen Morgan Pressel will be among the favorites for the most coveted prize in women's golf. Wie will be there as well, but as more of an afterthought than anything else.

She's ancient history, or merely ancient in the eyes of one competitor. That would be Alexis Thompson, who automatically assumed the mantle of the next great thing by qualifying for the Open at the age of 12.

Not that Wie won't get attention. Reporters will follow her around Pine Needles, not to see if she can challenge for the lead, but to write about her if she doesn't break 80.

They'll keep a sharp eye out to see if she faints from the heat or re-injures her wrist. They'll want to know if Sorenstam is still unhappy with Wie for pulling out of the Ginn Tribute while struggling to break 90, only to be seen hitting balls two days later.

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