KAPOLEI, Hawaii (AP) — Michelle Wie is healthier, stronger and determined to succeed but says her injured wrists will never be the same.
“I just accepted the fact that it’s never going to be 100 percent ever again. After a major injury last year, it’s never going to be the way it was before,” she said on Tuesday as she prepared for the U.S. LPGA Tour’s Fields Open, which begins on Thursday.
The 18-year-old Wie said she’s accepted that her wrists are as good as they can be.
“Obviously, it’s not 110 percent, but I feel pretty healthy,” she said. “I feel a lot stronger. I feel like I can be a lot more aggressive with the ball. I feel more like an athlete right now.”
Wie is starting the season on her home island of Oahu for the fifth straight year on a sponsor’s exemption. This time, she’s playing against women.
She injured both wrists last year but kept playing, and struggling. She made only three cuts. In nine starts, she withdrew twice and broke par only twice in 19 rounds against women.
Wie is wrapping up her first year at Stanford University, where her courses include Japanese, humanities and a hip-hop dance class. She shared some of her Japanese abilities for the Japanese media, but refused to demonstrate any dance moves.
“Don’t ask me to show you anything,” Wie said.
She had started her season at the U.S. PGA Tour’s Sony Open the previous four years and nearly made the cut as a 14-year-old. But she has yet to make a cut in seven tries on the U.S. PGA Tour. Wie hasn’t completed her schedule yet and wouldn’t rule out playing against the men.
This is her first start since the Samsung World Championship in October, where she finished 19th in a 20-player field.
Wie has a lot to prove, especially after her highly publicized troubles last year where she was even criticized by Annika Sorenstam, who was angered by Wie pulling out of the Swede’s tournament, only to be seen hitting balls on the range at the next tournament.
Sorenstam also is entered in the Fields Open and has successfully returned from injuries last year. She is seeking a Hawaiian sweep after winning the season-opening SBS Open at Turtle Bay for her 70th U.S. LPGA Tour title and first since September 2006.