By Doug Ferguson ,AP
SOUTHPORT, United Kingdom — As much as Michelle Wie prefers to look forward, this is one week when it’s tempting to get caught up in the past.
That could include her recent tour of New York as the U.S. Women’s Open champion or a decade ago when the teen prodigy from Hawaii got her first taste of links golf along the Lancashire coast of England.
Both are relevant memories this week at the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
Wie is among the favorites when the LPGA Tour’s third major of the year gets underway Thursday at Royal Birkdale and not just because she won the last major.
Wie has two victories among eight top 10s in her last nine tournaments. She has played in the final group at both majors. Her unique, bent over “table-top” stance while putting has proven to be the perfect complement to her power. She has become a force in women’s golf, capped off by her two-shot win at Pinehurst No. 2.
She was introduced at her press conference as the reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion.
“It’s never going to get old,” said Wie, smiling “I think it’s amazing that it will be there forever — my name will be on the cup. Once it’s engraved, it can’t really be taken back. It feels amazing. I’m extremely proud of myself.”
And now it’s back to work.
“I let myself really bask in it for a few days,” Wie said. “And after that … just because I won a major, it doesn’t mean that I’m going to play well in the future. It doesn’t guarantee that I’m going to win the British or win anything.”
Wie made her links debut just down the road at Formby when she played in the Curtis Cup at age 14. A year later, in her final tournament as an amateur, she closed with a 69 at Birkdale in cold, windy conditions and tied for third in the Women’s British Open.
“I didn’t know what hand-warmers were,” she said. “And I remember playing with Catriona (Matthew) and I saw her with the hand warmers and I was like, `What is that? That is so genius.’ I have never been so cold in my entire life. That’s what I remember from the first Birkdale.”