It's difficult to contemplate. This weekend, Michelle Wie was playing in her 11th U.S. Women's Open. Born Oct. 11, 1989, she qualified for the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship at the age of 10 (at the time she was the youngest person to qualify for a USGA amateur championship). She won it in 2003. She was the youngest to make the cut at the LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship that same year. In 2006, Wie was the first female medalist at a men's U.S. Open local qualifier (she failed to advance from the final stage qualifier).
Soon after Wie turned pro, a week before her 16th birthday, the trouble started. Her level of play deteriorated. She found herself the focus of several controversies, from questionable withdrawals and suspicious injuries to accusations that her parents were among the worst of sports parents. (Some of these accusations were probably true.) She finally won an LPGA event in 2009, but in most events during this time she was a side note. Even when she got into contention, she failed to close.
But 2014 appears to the year of a major Wiesy resurgence. She's a few years removed from controversy and her play is improving at a rapidd pace. Her new putting style, odd as it is, has taken her from average at best to one of the best putters on the LPGA. She's always been long, but now she's playing a smarter game with more control. She already won at the LPGA Lotte Championship in April this year, and now... well, let's hit the links.