Wie has huge following everywhere

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:55 AM ET

WINNIPEG -- Michelle Wie, wearing wide-rimmed white sunglasses like she was headed for the beach in the 1960s, unleashed her drive off the 10th tee, and the cameras clicked like crazy.

The 20-year-old Hawaiian may be 12th in the world ranking and 20th on the money list, but she is without a doubt the No. 1 attraction on the LPGA Tour. When you've done Letterman, played against the men and been famous since the age of 10, that's how it goes, whether you like it or not.

A large group of fans followed Wie's every move during the CN Canadian Women's Open pro-am on Wednesday afternoon at St. Charles Country Club. Her father, B.J. was never far away, and there was even a Winnipeg police officer following the foursome who was no doubt on Wie duty.

When her round with the three amateurs ended at 4:30 p.m., Wie did a brief media scrum just off the 18th green and bolted the second there was a slight pause in the questioning, offering a polite "Thank you" as she headed for the locker-room.

If there's one aspect about coming to Winnipeg she could do without, it's dealing with Manitoba's official bird -- the mosquito. The skeeters were out in full force on Wednesday with little or no wind and plenty of sun.

"I have to say it's not my favourite part of Canada," Wie said with a chuckle, "but hopefully the wind will blow a little bit tomorrow, so hopefully they'll be blown away."

Wie, who captured her one and only LPGA title last November, likes what she sees in the MacKenzie and Ross nines at St. Charles.

"It's interesting. It's a fun golf course," she said. "There's a lot of interesting bunkers in interesting places, but it's a good golf course for a tournament."

One of the longest hitters on tour thanks to her 6-foot-1 frame, Wie's approach shot on the first hole had to go under a tree and over a bunker. She landed the ball about 20 feet to the right of the pin, drawing a hearty round of applause from the crowd.

On the second hole, however, she hit her tee shot up against the lip of a fairway bunker and was able to advance the ball about only 20 yards.

Wie has made 13 of 14 cuts this year, with a best finish of third in the Tres Marias Championship in May. She has three top 10 finishes, but none in her last seven starts.

Wie didn't offer much insight when asked about the state of her game.

"It's a work in progress," she said. "I'm coming over here trying to do better every day and just always working on it."

If there was one answer that seemed like Wie hadn't uttered it a million times before, it was when she was asked about playing in Canada.

"You know, I always like coming back here," she said. "The people are very nice. It just seems like a very relaxed mentality here, and the people are just very welcoming."

Wie tees off at 12:44 p.m. on Thursday. She is playing in an all-star threesome along with Jiyai Shin and Cristie Kerr, two players who have owned the No. 1 spot in the world ranking this year.


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