CANBERRA, Australia - Michelle Wie is eager to put a dismal year behind her when she tees off at the Women's Australian Open, the season-opening tournament on the LPGA Tour.
Wie, playing for the first time in Australia, said Tuesday she has done her best to revamp her game after missing the cut in 10 of the 23 LPGA tournaments she played last year as her ranking dropped into the 60s.
“2012 was probably the worst year I've ever had in my entire career,” she said. “It was rough. One thing led to another and it kind of snowballed.”
Wie, who turned pro shortly before turning 16 and was awarded exemptions to several PGA events prior to joining the LPGA Tour, said her poor season made her realize she had to work harder to become a better player.
“I just really started from scratch,” she said. “Some reporter asked me earlier on what I worked on in the off season and I replied: `everything.’ That's really what I had to work on after last year.
“I saw (coach) David Leadbetter a lot this off season, a lot more than I usually did and just really worked on my swing, my short game, my putting, everything. I wanted my game to be on a whole other level and hopefully 2013 will be really good.”
At age 13, Wie became the youngest player to make an LPGA cut at the 2003 Kraft Nabisco Championship, and went on to make the cut at the U.S. Women's Open later the same year. In 2004, she became the fourth, and youngest, female to play a PGA Tour event at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
Despite winning just two LPGA tournaments since joining the elite women's tour full-time in 2009 — the 2009 Lorena Ochoa Invitational and the 2010 CN Canadian Women's Open — Wie still has her sights set on one day taking on the men in the Masters.
“You've got to dream high, right? And that's definitely one of my dreams, to play in the Masters, but right now I'm just really focused on this year, this week,” she said. “You have to set up really high dreams, dreams that you may or may not achieve in your lifetime, but to still have them. I'm just really focused on winning tournaments this year, just being happy and enjoying golf.”
Wie will take on 11 of the world's top 30 women in the Women's Australian Open at Royal Canberra Golf Club starting Thursday, including top-ranked Yani Tseng, 2012 LPGA Player of the Year Stacy Lewis and two-time British Open champion Jiyai Shin.
A full list of Canadian LPGA players are also in the field including Maude-Aimee Leblanc, who had to cut short her season last summer due to a stress fracture in her back. Stephanie Sherlock will also be making her 2013 LPGA debut while Lorie Kane, Sara-Maude Juneau and Rebecca Lee-Bentham have been in Australia the past few weeks playing in tune-up events.
THIS WEEK IN GOLF
PGA TOUR - NORTHERN TRUST OPEN
COURSE: Riviera Country Club (7,349 yards, par 71).
PURSE: $6.6 million. Winner’s share: $1,188,000.
TELEVISION: Golf Channel (Thursday, 3-6 p.m., 6:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.; Friday, 3-6 p.m., 8:30-11:30 p.m.; Saturday, 1-2:30 p.m., 9:30-2 a.m.; Sunday, 1-2:30 p.m., 9:30-2:30 a.m.) and CBS (Saturday, 3-6 p.m.; Sunday, 3-6:30 p.m.).
CANADIAN CONTENT: Stephen Ames, Graham DeLaet, David Hearn, Mike Weir, (Alternate - Brad Fritsch)
NOTES: Phil Mickelson, the 2008 and 2009 winner, is playing for the fifth straight week. He is among four of the season’s first five winners entered, seeking a second trophy before the tour leaves the West Coast. Just once in the past three years has anyone won twice on the West Coast Swing – Mark Wilson in 2011. ...Tiger Woods is skipping the tournament. Riviera is the only PGA Tour venue Woods has played more than four times without a victory. Woods made 11 attempts, two as an amateur, but hasn’t entered since 2006. ...Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell and Adam Scott are making their season debuts. Ernie Els and Sergio Garcia are making their first PGA Tour starts of the year. ... Fred Couples, the 1990 and 1992 champion, is making his record 31st start in the event. ...Tommy Gainey, who has yet to take a week off this season, will tee it up in his seventh consecutive event.
LPGA TOUR/ALPG/LET - WOMEN’S AUSTRALIAN OPEN
COURSE: Royal Canberra Golf Club (6,679 yards, par 73).
PURSE: $1.2 million. Winner’s share: $181,500.
TELEVISION: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, 12:30-2:30 p.m.; Saturday, 3-6 p.m.; Sunday, 3-6:30 p.m.).
CANADIAN CONTENT: Maude-Aimee Leblanc, Sara-Maude Juneau, Stephanie Sherlock, Lorie Kane, Rebecca Lee-Bentham, (Alternate - Alena Sharp)
NOTES: The tournament opens the LPGA Tour season. ...Maude-Aimee Leblanc is making her first LPGA start since last July after ending her rookie season early due to a stress fracture in her back. ...Amateur star Lydia Ko is in the field, coming off her one stroke victory at the New Zealand Women’s Open. It was the 15-year-old's third victory in a professional tournament. Last year, she won the New South Wales Open to become the youngest player, male or female, to win a professional event, and the CN Canadian Women's Open to become the youngest LPGA Tour winner. ...Karrie Webb, who has four Women's Australian Open titles, won her eighth Australian Ladies Masters title two weeks ago. ...Michelle Wie is making her season debut.
CHAMPIONS TOUR - ACE GROUP CLASSIC
COURSE: The TwinEagles Club, Talon Course (7,193 yards, par 72).
PURSE: $1.6 million. Winner’s share: $240,000.
TELEVISION: Golf Channel (Friday, 6:30-8:30 p.m.; Saturday, 12:30-2:30 a.m., 6:30-9:30 p.m.; Sunday, 2:30-4:30 a.m.; 7-9:30 p.m.; Monday, 2:30-4:30 a.m.).
CANADIAN CONTENT: Jim Rutledge (Alternate - Rod Spittle)
NOTES: Rocco Mediate won the Allianz Championship in Boca Raton last week in his first start on the 50-and-over tour. He is the 16th player to win in his Champions Tour debut. He won the last of his six PGA Tour titles in 2010. ...Last year, Kenny Perry won by five strokes, closing with a 70 after opening with rounds of 64 and 62 to break the tour’s 36-hole record at 18-under 126.
EUROPEAN TOUR/SUNSHINE TOUR - AFRICA OPEN
COURSE: East London Golf Club (6,632 yards, par 72).
PURSE: $1.34 million. Winner’s share: $212,170.
TELEVISION: Golf Channel (Thursday, Saturday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.).
NOTES: Retief Goosen, Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen are all former winner's of this event. Oosthuizen is the two-time defending champion but is skipping the tournament this year.
PGA TOUR LATINOAMERICA - QUALIFYING SCHOOL, NO. 2
COURSE: Sun N Lake Golf Club - Deer Run
CANADIAN CONTENT: David Markle, Jace Walker, Matt Johnston, Peter Campbell, Adam Cornelson, Derek Gillespie, Billy Houle, Tai Gyu Kang
NOTES: 126 players are competing for 20 full-time Tour cards in 2013
eGOLF PROFESSIONAL TOUR - PALMETTO HALL CHAMPIONSHIP
COURSE: Palmetto Hall Plantation, Robert Cupp Course (7,079 yards, par 72) and Arthur Hills Course (6,918 yards, par 72)
CANADIAN CONTENT: Cam Burke, Greg Doherty, Robbie Greenwell, Matt Hill, Mackenzie Hughes, Christopher Magi (a), Ryan Terdik
NOTES: This is the season opening event for the developmental tour.
GATEWAY PRO TOUR
COURSE: Anthem Golf and Country Club, Ironwood, AZ (7,247 yards, par 72)
CANADIAN CONTENT: Dallas Mengel, Ryan Desharnais, Quinn Carbol, Jordan Krantz, Thomas Hay, Craig Gibson, Glen Lengyel, Keith Martin, Steven Shantz, Richard Boychuk, James Love, Chris Baryla, Beon Yeong Lee, Tyler LeBouthillier, Brennan Rumancik, Jeff Graham, Aaron Crawford, Wes Heffernan, Kent Eger, Tyler Mancini, Eric Hawerchuk
COURSE: Foothills Golf Club (6,377 yards, par 72)
CANADIAN CONTENT: Alena Sharp, Jessica Wallace
SUNCOAST LADIES TOUR
COURSE: LPGA International Legends Course (6,448 yards, par 72)
CANADIAN CONTENT: Danielle Mills, Natalie Gleadall, Chelcia Petersen, Ellen O'Brien