Wie begins new season in Australia after revamping every aspect of game

Michelle Wie
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Michelle Wie was asked what part of her game she worked on this winter, and she replied: 'Everything.'
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PGA.com news services

Series: LPGA Tour

CANBERRA, Australia -- Michelle Wie is eager to put a dismal year behind her when she tees off at the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open, the season-opening tournament on the LPGA Tour.

Wie, playing for the first time in Australia, said Tuesday she has done her best to revamp her game after missing the cut in 10 of the 23 LPGA Tour events she played last year as her ranking dropped into the 60s.

''2012 was probably the worst year I've ever had in my entire career,'' she said. ''It was rough. One thing led to another and it kind of snowballed.''

Wie, who turned pro shortly before turning 16 and was awarded exemptions to several PGA Tour events prior to joining the LPGA Tour, said her poor season made her realize she had to work harder to become a better player.

''I just really started from scratch,'' she said. ''Some reporter asked me earlier on what I worked on in the offseason and I replied: 'everything.' That's really what I had to work on after last year.

''I saw (instructor) David Leadbetter a lot this off season, a lot more than I usually did and just really worked on my swing, my short game, my putting, everything. I wanted my game to be on a whole other level and hopefully 2013 will be really good.''

At age 13, Wie became the youngest player to make an LPGA Tour cut at the 2003 Kraft Nabisco Championship, and went on to make the cut at the U.S. Women's Open later the same year. In 2004, she became the fourth, and youngest, female to play a PGA Tour event at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Despite winning just two LPGA Tour events since joining the circuit fulltime in 2009 – the 2009 Lorena Ochoa Invitational and the 2010 Canadian Women's Open – Wie still has her sights set on one day taking on the men in the U.S. Masters.

''You've got to dream high, right? And that's definitely one of my dreams, to play in the Masters, but right now I'm just really focused on this year, this week,'' she said. ''You have to set up really high dreams, dreams that you may or may not achieve in your lifetime, but to still have them. I'm just really focused on winning tournaments this year, just being happy and enjoying golf.''

Wie will take on 11 of the world's top 30 women in the Women's Australian Open at Royal Canberra Golf Club starting Thursday, including top-ranked Yani Tseng, 2012 LPGA Player of the Year Stacy Lewis and two-time British Open champion Jiyai Shin.

And despite her struggles last year – she recorded just one top-10 finish on the LPGA Tour and only 19 below-par rounds over the entire season – 2012 wasn’t a complete writeoff. She completed her degree at Stanford with a major in communications, leaving her to now focus on her career on the course.

"All that I can really remember is just wanting to go to Stanford and just kind of achieving that goal of mine was almost as important as playing golf," she said. "So just being able to do that was awesome."

She learned a lot on the course as well, she said.

"Sometimes you've got to really look at yourself," she said. "I really needed this offseason, I think, to just kind of take some time and not try to fix everything in one week the week before a tournament or whatever, but just take a good month, two months to really let it slowly get back on track, instead of just trying to change it all in one week.