Michelle Wie says she was inspired Sunday watching Tiger Woods win the Masters.
Wie, looking to show she can find her best form again after hand surgery last fall, gets a double dose of motivation with her return this week at the Lotte Championship in Hawaii, where she grew up. She makes her home now in Jupiter, Fla., but relishes her return to her roots.
She’s dealing with a lot of emotion, making just her fourth start after the surgery, feeling what she did watching Woods continue to complete his comeback.
“I felt so inspired, so motivated [Sunday], just knowing how much he went through, and is kind of going through what I’m going through,” Wie said. “It’s very inspiring.
“A lot of times when you’re going through injuries you just don’t know if you’ll ever hit a golf ball again and play without pain.”
Wie, 29, said she felt a connection watching Woods, and wants to do the same in her comeback.
“I just felt the emotion,” Wie said. “After he had won, he lifted his hands up in the air, and I felt it.
“I just knew, from a very personal basis, based on everything I’m going through, and I just felt it. I felt everything that he ever overcame. Gave me hope and a lot of motivation and inspiration. It just shows what happens when you just never give up. He just never gave up, when people gave him doubt, and whatnot. It was amazing to see.”
Wie is still feeling her way back after undergoing surgery last October to repair an avulsion fracture, bone spurs and nerve entrapment in her right hand. She tied for 23rd in her return last month at the Honda Thailand, then experienced a setback a week later, in her title defense at the HSBC Women’s World Championship. She was 10 over after 14 holes in the first round when she withdrew in Singapore. She left saying nerve entrapment was still an issue. She missed the cut in the year’s first major at the ANA Inspiration two weeks ago but was encouraged by how well her hand felt.
This week offers another important gauge of where she’s at, with a strong field teeing it up. Rolex world No. 1 Jin Young Ko is making her first start since winning the ANA Inspiration. Eight of the top 10 in the world rankings are playing. Wie has slipped to No. 40 with her time away.
How’s the hand this week?
“I feel good,” Wie said. “I’m not going to say I’m healthy, because I don’t want to jinx anything, but I feel good. Very fresh.”
Wie has been limited in how much she can play and practice, which frustrates her. There was a lot of rust to knock off at the ANA.
“It’s hard to be patient,” Wie said. “I thought I would be 100 percent by now, like running in circles and being able to play 180 holes in one day, kind of thing . . . My mind is there. I feel antsy, like a horse ready to go, but you just got to be patient and listen to your body. Just take it slowly day by day.”