The best is yet to come for Michelle Wie.
If it wasn’t clear after the 65 in the final round in Singapore, or that fist pump to put an exclamation point on the win, it was abundantly clear after her 15 minutes in the media center at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
While she tried to temper the hype and expectations that come from winning early in the season, she’s confident that more good is around the corner.
“I always think the best is in front of me,” said Wie, who has five career wins on the LPGA. “That’s why I practice and work so hard. It (the win) makes me really excited for this year and the future."
Wie’s putting has been a major reason why she’s placed T11 or better in her first three starts of the year. She ranks 10th in putting average (28.36).
For perspective, during her injury-riddled years of 2015 and 2016, she ranked 85th and 76th in the same category.
She’s a full two strokes better on average than she was in 2016.
“I putt and chip for five hours a day (in the off season) and it feels really good that the time is paying off,” said Wie. “Putting is one of those things I like working on.”
Mentally, Wie also appears in a great place. Her perspective on her career is so measured.
“When I was younger and I was playing really well, I just saw my life at this (upward) trajectory,” explained Wie. “I think the first down really shocked me. I took it really hard and it wasn’t easy.
“Then, you start to realize that life doesn’t really happen that way,” continued Wie. “I just draw strength from knowing that I’ve reached very low's and I’ve pulled myself out of it.”
During the off week between her victory and the Founders Cup, in between watching Tiger Woods, Wie traveled to New York to get her arthritic hands treated with a natural injection.
Wie said she’s at the point where cortisone shots are no longer an option, instead she's receiving collagen injections in order to free up space in her joints.
“It’s been really helping,” said Wie, who is going to New York every three to four months for the injections. “My bones don’t have any joint space and it (results in) bone on bone grinding and that’s where the pain comes in. They inject the collagen substance so my bones don’t grind. The doctors have been really great.”
After getting a win early in the season for the first time in her career, Wie’s goals have changed. But they always seem to revolve around her health.
“I just really want to be healthy and be able to give it 110 percent,” said Wie. “I try so hard, and then I can’t and have to play 70 percent. I want to play as many tournaments as I want to. I just want to be able to play unrestricted.”
Her carefree mood never wavered and at the end of the press conference she remarked that she’s personally responsible for opening up the “flood gates” for golfers that haven’t won.
“I heard that me, Phil (Mickelson) and Steve Stricker, it was 4,000 something days since our last win.”
Everyone laughed, including Michelle, and then she stood up and confidently walked off the stage to go prep for another win.