DUBAI, United Arab Emirates » Michelle Wie is looking for a strong finish to a season she calls “a work in progress” after being hindered by injuries and tinkering with her swing.
The 22-year-old Punahou graduate has fallen to 17th in the rankings after spending much of 2010 in the top 10. She’s had just two second-place finishes this season.
“I had a couple of good finishes. But it is frustrating just because sometimes weeks didn’t go my way, but at the same time you learn every week,” said Wie, who struggled with a back injury toward the end of 2010.
“Every week I gave it my all and, as frustrated as I can be, I try to take a positive from it, and I feel like I improved quite a bit,” Wie said. “Whether results show it or not, I’m feeling like I’m getting healthy again with my body. My body feels pretty good.”
Wie is among the biggest names at the Dubai Ladies Masters, the season-ending European Tour event that starts today. Lexi Thompson, the 16-year-old American who became the youngest winner on the LPGA Tour in September, is expected to challenge alongside several top Europeans, including Anna Nordqvist and Sandra Gal.
Like Tiger Woods, Wie has responded to her poor performance with tweaks with her swing.
“I had a couple of swing changes, but just overall working on my game,” Wie said. “Obviously when you do try to work on something, the results sometimes don’t come as quick as you want them to. But like I said, I worked on a lot of things this year. … Hopefully it’ll pay off next year.”
Wie dismissed claims by Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam that her pursuit of a communications degree at Stanford was hurting her game. She said she has always worked to balance school and golf and insisted she has even more time now to practice.
This year, Wie has been overshadowed by No. 1 Yani Tseng and more recently Thompson, who has become a media darling since her five-stroke victory at the Navistar LPGA Classic in September.
“I haven’t been playing very well this year. I shouldn’t be getting the spotlight,” Wie said. “I need to start winning. I need to start getting into the spotlight that way.”