Michelle Wie had her hands full ahead of the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters, the final Ladies European Tour event of the year.
On top of recovering from a back injury, she was sitting a politics exam on Tuesday.
The 21-year-old American was taking a paper on presidential campaigns with another to follow on Thursday. Although she hopes to become a leader on the golf course, she has not ruled out a future career in politics.
“I’m a communications major, so just something that was in that department and it looked really interesting,” said the Stanford University student. “Professor Iyengar is pretty famous out there so it was really neat to take a class from him.”
Wie is one of the stars in the cast of 108 players teeing up on the Majlis course at Emirates Golf Club from 8-11 December.
The World No.10, who claimed her second professional title at the CN Canadian Women’s Open in August, has not played competitively since she withdrew from the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in mid November citing back problems.
|Detail from Michelle’s golf bag|
“I’ve just been rehabbing, recovering. I hit some balls last week so this week I’m just going to go out there and try to play pain free,” she said. “It’s really important to finish strong, so I think it would make my vacation a lot more fun if I play really well this week, just go out there and ending with a bang would be great. Just going out there and have fun for the last time and I know what whatever I do this week, whether I play well or whether I play bad, I know I’m going to want to play better next season.
“I did feel like I improved over the course of the season so that was good. You know, obviously little glitches here and there held me back but hopefully for the next year I’ll be a lot stronger mentally and physically.
“I really hope I haven’t reached my peak yet. I do feel like I have a lot more.”
Wie joins defending champion In-Kyung Kim of South Korea in the field. The 22-year-old, ranked seventh in the world, is also leading the battle for the LET’s Ryder Cup Wales Rookie of the Year.
|Henderson Money List leader Lee-Anne Pace|
Kim, who earned her exemption to the Ladies European Tour following her three shot victory over Wie at the 2009 Omega Dubai Ladies Masters, leads the race with earnings of €176,904.69 from three events played in Europe this season.
Spain’s Maria Hernandez trails that lead by €68,428 and is the only player who can overtake her, but with nothing less than a victory.
The battle for the Henderson Money List — another major highlight of the tournament – is weighed in favour of South African Lee-Anne Pace, who has won five tournaments this season from 24 events played. Only one player stands between Pace and the title: Laura Davies of England who has been crowned European No.1 seven times, firstly in 1985 and most recently in 2006.
Providing the Arabian flavour to the event will be the presence of Naela El Attar of Egypt and Morocco’s rising star Maha Haddioui. Naela, the only woman professional in Egypt, is making her second appearance in the event while for Maha it will be her first experience to play competitive golf at this highest level.
In line with their long-held tradition of encouraging and promoting emerging players, golf in DUBAi has extended a special invitation to Rhea Nair, a young prodigy who learned the basic rudiments of the game at Emirates Golf Federation’s Junior Development Programme before honing her competitive edge in the United States.
|Alexis Thompson, 15, from the USA|
The 21-year-old prodigy has just turned professional after graduating from the Alabama University where she was a key member of the women’s team. Coached by famed Gary Gilchrist among others, Rhea will be playing her first tournament as a professional.
The 2008 champion Anja Monke of Germany will also be in action, as will US Solheim Cup star Christina Kim and teen star Alexis Thompson, 15, who tied for second at the Evian Masters in July.