Wie flies feminist flag as she drives the teenage bandwagon

Young generation flex their muscles but Sorenstam proves she is still the golfer to beat

The cheerleader in the clubhouse, of course, is Michelle Wie who is only 15 and is joined by Carlotta Ciganda, a European champion from Spain who is an even younger 15-year-old. They are about three Harry Potter books behind Paula Creamer, an American, who has so much confidence she can spell the word backwards.

When Creamer (the crop?) was 17 last season she won the US qualifying school and set about achieving a number of goals. She has hit the net more consistently than Artmedia Bratislava.

Last week Creamer won the Evian Masters, becoming the youngest player to win a European Tour event and, added to her maiden victory in a tournament in the Big Apple, she is a cert for the Rookie of the Year title and probably a place in America's Solheim Cup team.

If you are thinking of putting your daughter on the stage, Mrs Worthington, think again. Creamer, in the space of 11 months, has become a dollar millionaire, just like that, and, as the Carpenters would say, she's only just begun.

Creamer is younger than the other teenagers who have been competing here, Aree Song, Bo Bae Song and Brittany Lincicome, but is some way down life's fairway compared to both Ciganda and Wie.

Wie, from Hawaii, is being globally marketed in the women's game as a cub version of Tiger Woods. Like Tiger she drives the ball miles and this, almost more than anything else, appeals to the ad men, the spectators, television and anything else you can think of. Her short game, however, is vulnerable, particularly her putting. At six feet and in a black Nike top she looks every inch the part. Can she play? Oh yes.

She was second to Creamer in the Evian and runner-up to Sorenstam in the LPGA Championship although on neither occasion was she breathing down their necks. She led after three rounds of the US Women's Open but disappeared from the leaderboard with an 82, providing further ammunition for her detractors.

Creamer has got to the top by graduating through college where she won a heap of events in the American Junior Golf Association. On the other hand does Wie know what it is like to experience the tickle-under-the-arm feeling of actually lifting a trophy? Not yet but the people who run the dream factory say it is only a matter of time.

Because of the empty cupboard, the poor girl has been hit by a bandwagon, steered by Woods and Sorenstam, that has so many passengers there is no room on top. Woods and Sorenstam, who have been known to practise together, say that Wie would be better off competing against girls of her own age.

Wie will not play ball: "I want to make a statement to all women that there are no limitations. If I can drive the ball 300 yards, if I can compete against the men, if I can make it to the Masters, then maybe I can inspire them to break free in their own lives."

Louise Stahle, a young Swede who, like so many other talented players, has honed her golf at Arizona State University while fading or drawing past the cacti, shot 65 in the second round here at Royal Birkdale and will turn professional tomorrow when she returns to her home country. She will not be in Sweden for long.

America beckons, and her fellow Swede Sorenstam has pointed the way by amassing more than $17m (£9.7m) during the course of an extraordinary career. Stahle, asked what degree she was studying for, replied: "I wasn't really... I was playing golf."

Wie, officially at least, has no earnings. After Birkdale, where her father B J Wie has been carrying her bag, she returns to school, not the qualifying school but the sort of establishment where children learn a basic education.

"Hi Michelle, what have you been up to?" "Well, I've been travelling the world and if I'd been a pro I'd have picked up pocket money of half-a-million. I've just come from a place called Birkdale where the weather was dreadful. I've played in the wind before, I've played in the rain and I've played in the cold but never all together. I'm glad I missed the hurricane season."

For Wie, a suffragette in waiting, the die appears to be cast. On 11 October, when she is sweet 16, her postman will ring twice. This is when she is expected to turn professional and she will receive as many contracts as cards, not to mention invitation to men's events on the PGA Tour as well as competing against the best of her sex on the LPGA.

The hype has the sponsors queuing up and not many 16-year-olds get to cut a tape which is worth $20m.

Where there's a will there's a Wie. She says she wants to study business and follow in the footsteps of Tiger by attending Stanford University. For a role model she only has to look in the mirror. Business and golf go hand in glove.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine