Queen Of The Greens
A terrific four-day run on the New Tanjong Course at Sentosa Gold Club saw the Hawaiian Michelle Wie take the winner’s trophy (and a cheque of US$225,000) at HSBC Women’s World Championship. The affable 29-year-old tells us about how she bounced back from previous years’ setbacks on and off the golf course, taking the trophy, and how she plans to celebrate.
Congratulations on your victory!
Yeah, it’s great. I don’t know what’s going on.
When you started the day, did you think you had a realistic chance of winning?
I wanted to. I wanted really badly to win, especially after what happened last year, I had some unfinished business here. I knew if I shot almost 7-, 8-under, I’d have a chance.
What went through your mind as you went through with a 35-foot putt on the 18th hole of day four of the tournament?
I never really ask Matt (Galloway), my caddie to help me read my long putts. But I called him in. I said, “Matt, you’ve got to help me read this putt. We’ve got to make this.” I think I hit that hole pretty hard. But I think that has to be the best putt of my career so far.
Did you know what was going on around you? Did you know that everyone was going so low?
This golf course did open up for birdies on some of the holes. I wanted to get revenge after last year a little bit. I kind of came with a slight chip on my shoulder in the morning, and I knew that I had to shoot low to even have a chance, and everyone played great. Everyone was really clustered up there on the leaderboard. I’m just really proud of myself for making a lot of birdies and keep going, and never really getting out of my head, which I’m really proud of doing today.
Can you talk about the chip on your shoulder about last year and the course? Perhaps sometimes you just want to come back and master a course?
For sure. Having that lead on the last day and coming up just a little short last year, I came back, having the confidence knowing that I can do it, and I just really wanted to finish the deal. I feel like I’ve been playing this tournament for a long time. I definitely came determined this year for sure.
This is Asia’s major, and HSBC has been such a great supporter of women’s golf and it always has a world-class event. So for me to win this event, it just means the world to me.
Were you keeping an eye on the leaders?
I wasn’t really focusing too much on the leaders. I was thinking, if I just posted a certain score, I’d be happy with however I finish.
Your last win was the US Open four years ago, and this is your fifth win on the LPGA. How has that journey been?
That’s a long time ago. This feels new. It’s been a tough journey since 2014. I’ve had some injuries, had a really bad year, just lost a lot of confidence. But I’m just really proud of myself for pulling myself out of it. I felt like I had a good year last year, a year where I built confidence, and I just want to keep building confidence from there. I just want to keep rising, playing the best I can, trying the hardest I can and trying to become the best player that I can be.
What does winning mean to you? What does it do to you and for you?
Winning is everything. There is no better feeling than when you think that sink that winning putt. It’s a high, for sure. You go out there, and it’s this feeling that gets you going. It’s this feeling that makes you practice. It’s that winning putt that makes you practice for hours and hours and hours, and even the hard times, it gets you going back.
Winning aside, where do you keep all your golf trophies?
I put them in the living room and they are kind of all over the fireplace. I have a shelf above the fireplace and they are kind of there, below. Some are on a table. I need to build a wall but I haven’t. I’ll find a place for them.
How do you plan to celebrate your win? Is there going to be a big party?
I think I’m going to go shopping. We went to Marina Bay Sands last Monday, and I kind of had a practice round, [telling myself] I’m going to get this if I play well. So I kind of picked a couple stuff out, but we’ll see. I’m going to have some good sushi and just have fun.
Years ago that you said Singapore reminded you of Hawaii in many ways. Does that still apply?
Yeah, for sure. I love Singapore. Singapore is definitely one of my favourite cities, such really great food, great shopping, and in my book, that’s a pretty great city. Everyone’s just been so welcoming. I’ve been coming here year after year, and every year, I feel so welcomed here.