Wie a lady in waiting

Michelle Wie is the defending champion at this week's Canadian Women's Open. (AFP)

Michelle Wie is the defending champion at this week's Canadian Women's Open. (AFP)

JON McCARTHY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:29 AM ET

MIRABEL, QUE. - Michelle Wie is mature for her age.

No, really.

This might be the first time anyone has written those words. But for all the hype, hysteria and great expectations that have surrounded Wie over the past decade, it’s hard to remember she is just 21 years old.

Have you talked to any 21-year-old girls recently?

Probably not. After all, it’s nearly impossible to pull their thumbs away from their phones long enough to have a conversation.

As the defending Canadian Women’s Open champion addressed the media after her first practice round at Hillsdale Golf and Country Club outside Montreal yesterday afternoon, it seemed the teenage golf brat had been replaced by a demure young woman.

Wie has always been confident in her own game, she now seems comfortable in her own skin.

“I’ve learned so much about myself and learned so much about life in general going to college and kind of growing up there,” Wie said. “I think it gave me an opportunity to be myself and kind of mature as a person.”

Blessed with prodigious length and one of the most breathtaking swings on either top tour, the golf world has long been waiting for Wie to become the global superstar on the course that she has long since become off the course.

With just two LPGA wins, her professional career hasn’t been an easy road so far.

“There are times when I did feel the pressure, but most times, you know, it was just kind of me out there on the golf course trying to hit a perfect score,” Wie said. “You can’t really look too far into the future or try to become something that you aren’t.”

Thoughtful answers didn’t used to come quite so easily to Wie. She even had a gracious answer to a question about what it’s like to see world

No. 1 Yani Tseng — who is just one year older than Wie — enjoying the kind of success that many experts had predicted for her.

“It is very motivating to see someone like Yani get really good over the last year and a half. It’s been good to see,” Wie said. “I want someone to say next year how good I’ve become. So, like I said before, it’s always a fight and I am always working on trying to be a better player and a better person.”

Lorie Kane, Canada’s unofficial spokesman for all things women’s golf, hinted that commitment issues are what is holding Wie back.

“I’m going to tell you, Michelle’s probably one of the most talented golfers I’ve ever seen,” Kane said. “I had the opportunity to play in a practice round with her at Carnoustie. When Michelle decides that she really wants to be a winner in this game, I don’t think there’s going to be anything stopping her.”

Although commitment problems would seem reasonable for Wie, who has been force-fed a super-sized helping of golf her entire life and currently is juggling university life at Stanford as well as her LPGA career, a more pressing concern for the 6-foot-1 Hawaiian is her putting.

After averaging nearly 35 putts per round at the U.S. Women’s Open in early July, Wie pulled out a long putter at the Evian Masters two weeks later.

“I really enjoy it,” Wie said of the new putter. “It’s been working well so far. Hopefully I can do a lot better with it.”

The defending Canadian Women’s Open champ is happy to be back in Canada.

“It definitely feels good coming here and seeing my picture with the trophy,” she said. “It brings back a lot of memories and hopefully I can do it again.”

Asked if winning a national open such as the Canadian Open means more than winning a regular stop on tour, Wie’s answer summed up her struggles this season.

“I don’t really have any preference. I’ll take anything,” she said.

As the statuesque Wie exited the interview room heading to do a TV spot, her mother Bo reached up to tuck a few strands of hair back under her daughter’s golf hat. Michelle quickly brushed her mom’s hand away.

Maybe the little girl is still in there somewhere.


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