Love: Wie’s win at Open is a feel-good story

What a great story unfolded last weekend as Michelle Wie won the prestigious Women’s U.S. Open.

Wie, at just 24 years of age, has already lived a lifetime of tremendous highs and lows on the golf course.

At age 14, Wie competed against the men at the PGA Tour’s Sony Open. She amazingly played better than half the men in the field – missing the cut by a mere one stroke.

This was followed by a slew of top finishes in LPGA majors as a teenage amateur before turning pro and signing a $20 million endorsement deal with Nike.

Things would soon turn sour. Wie experienced several years of mediocre play, a balky putter and several curious tournament withdrawals – allowing golf fans to wonder if they would ever see Wie become the dominant golfer she once seemed destined to become.

The past year has finally seen a revival in her play. Wie’s putting skills, attitude and overall play have improved dramatically. Everything seemed to come together last week, seeing Wie capture the top prize in women’s golf in a dominating performance.

I found myself really rooting for her to win. The top brass at LPGA headquarters must have been happy, too, as Wie’s victory continued this year’s list of popular female winners.

Tiger’s return

I must say that I was very surprised by the announcement that Tiger Woods would return to tournament golf this week.

I really felt strongly that Woods would return from back surgery by mid-July at the earliest so he would be ready for this year’s British Open.

Surely, the fact that Woods is the host of this week’s tournament – the Quicken Loans National – played a significant role in his early return.

Here’s hoping that the Woods’ return will be safe and healthy. Golf is an infinitely more exciting game with the man in the red shirt competing on Sundays.

Fantastic finish

Lost in all the hoopla of Wie’s Open win and Woods’ announced return was the fantastic finish of Kevin Streelman in last week’s Traveler’s Championship.

The 35-year-old Streelman had just one PGA Tour victory coming into last week. He entered the final round on Sunday as a non-factor before rattling off an amazing string of birdies on his last seven holes to finish with a one-shot victory, at 15-under par.

It was the first time a player finished with seven birdies to win a tournament since the PGA Tour began keeping hole-by-hole statistics in 1980.

Fond memories

As the Mount Union ALCC celebrates its 40th annual best-ball tournament this weekend, it’s a nice time to remember one of the club’s most prominent members.

Long-time club member Elinor Wible passed away in August 2012, at the age of 87, after amassing an incredible record at this popular Huntingdon county golf course.

Wible, who was introduced to the game of golf by her father, won her first club championship in 1940 at the age of 16.

She would go on to win the ladies’ championship for an amazing 45 consecutive years.

After missing out on her 46th attempt, Wible added a couple of more titles before settling into a routine of playing golf just for fun. In recent years, she could often be found each Wednesday night at the Mount Union club, enjoying a round of “league golf” – right up to her last days.

Love covers area golf for the Mirror. His column runs on Fridays.