By Alex Myers
Remember when Michelle Wie was overhyped? That's not the case anymore.
Wie may have snapped a 79-event winless drought on Sunday with a victory at the Lotte LPGA Championship in Hawaii, but the breakthrough was inevitable. Wie, 24, hasn't just been playing well in 2014, she's played the best of anyone on the LPGA Tour.
Don't believe our hype? Let's examine the numbers. Wie is first on the money list at $615,555 in seven starts. She's first in scoring average at 69.57, more than .3 ahead of Stacy Lewis and Inbee Park. And she's first in greens in regulation at an eye-popping 81 percent (No one has cracked the 80-percent barrier for a season since the LPGA officially started keeping track of the stat in 1992).
Even Wie's putting -- weird stance and all -- has improved. She ranks only 70th in putting average, but that number is skewed because of the high number of greens in regulation she hits (Again, 81 percent!). More telling is Wie ranking 17th in putts per greens in regulation (Unfortunately, the LPGA doesn't keep strokes gained/putting). She ranked 119th in that category just two years ago.
Wie's four top 10s in 2014 are one fewer than what she had in the past two seasons combined, and her worst finish so far was a T-16 at the Kia Classic last month. She also finished runner-up to Lexi Thompson at the year's first major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
After starting the year at No. 61 in the Rolex Rankings, Wie has moved all the way up to No. 13 with three terrific months of golf. At this rate, she'll be knocking on the door of the top five soon. Believe it.