Michelle Wie knows the competition from the likes of Stacy Lewis, Lexi Thompson and Paula Creamer will be stiff, but that only fuels her drive to fulfill a childhood ambition of playing golf in the Olympics next year in Rio.
"It [making the U.S. Olympic team] is definitely a big goal of mine," the reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion told reporters on Tuesday from Singapore, where she’ll make her third start of the season at this week’s HSBC Women’s Champions tourney.
Golf is back on the Olympics docket for the first time since 1904, which thrilled the lifelong fan of the quadrennial event.
"I always grew up watching [the Olympics] and [thought] it would be so cool to represent my country. But I was also very sad because I would never have the opportunity," Wie said. "Now that I have the opportunity, it's definitely one of my biggest goals, one of my biggest dreams is to compete in Rio. So I'm going to be working hard and hopefully I'll get it."
Wie, a former teen phenom who achieved one of her career goals when she lifted her first major trophy in 2014, played a key role in putting golf back into the summer games.
"I was actually in Copenhagen with ... people associated with the golf associations and we worked hard to get golf into the Olympics and we were very successful," said Wie, who has thrived in team play in the Solheim Cup. "Since then, I've been working really hard and it's definitely a big goal of mine to make the U.S. Team."
With the 60 highest-ranked players in the world, and a maximum of four from each nation, eligible for the Olympics, Wie is in good shape to make the trip to Brazil. Sixth in the world and second-highest U.S. golfer behind Lewis in the Rolex rankings, Wie appears to be a shoo-in, even though it’s not a done deal yet.
"That is everything that I have ever wanted, to represent my country in the Olympics," said Creamer. "I have a little bit over a year to kind of get my butt back into shape and … make that team."
Creamer, who hopes to defend the HSBC title she clinched last year with that "miracle" 75-foot eagle putt, is No. 26 in the world and eighth on the U.S. roster.
"I know I have to work hard because everybody else is working hard," said Creamer.
Should either or both make the team, they’ll have the honor of facing Lydia Ko, the 17-year-old New Zealander who this week is going for her third straight worldwide victory -- and 11th overall of her young professional career.
Wie will have the opportunity to check out the whiz kid’s game up close and personal for at least the first two rounds in Singapore. She and Ko will join yet another former wunderkind, 2014 Kraft Nabisco champ Lexi Thompson, Thursday and Friday at Sentosa Golf Club.
Creamer drew the winner of last week’s Honda LPGA Thailand, Amy Yang, and Azahara Munoz, whom she defeated in a playoff in last year’s tournament.