November 23, 2015

In 2002, 12-year-old Michelle Wie’s effortlessly graceful yet powerful swing so bedazzled Tom Lehman that he labeled her “Big Wiesy,” in a nod to Ernie Els. The Honolulu-born prodigy’s talent and potential was so vast it could be compared only to Tiger Woods’. At 13, Wie tied for ninth in the Kraft-Nabisco, an LPGA major, where she led the field with a 286.5-yard driving distance average. At 14, she came within one shot of making the cut at a men’s PGA Tour event, the Sony Open in Hawaii. Alas, life directed Wie away from stratospheric greatness, yet a sober look at the facts yield a substantial record: four LPGA Tour wins, including the game’s most prestigious major, the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open. With plenty more opportunities at age 26 to add to her totals, Wiesy is already the easy pick as the Aloha State’s big kahuna.