Catching up with Michelle Wie

This week Michelle Wie is shifting her focus from her studies at Stanford back to professional golf. The 21-year-old is in New Jersey for the Shoprite LPGA Classic. The 54-hole, $1.5 million event starts Friday at the Hugh Wilson- and Donald Ross-designed Bay Course at Seaview - A Dolce Resort in Galloway.

The Hawaiian native is part of the season's best fields in women's golf to prevent Ai Miyazato from repeating as champion. Miyazato, a 25-year-old from Japan, won last year's Shoprite LPGA Classic by two strokes over South Korea's M.J. Hur for one of her five titles in 2010.

Wie first appeared in the tournament as a 13-year-old. "I can't believe it's been over eight years ago, and it's been a fun journey," Wie told reporters Thursday. "I'm really glad to be back. The golf course is in great shape, and I'm really looking forward to tomorrow."

After getting her first LPGA victory in November 2009 in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico, Wie notched her second win last August in the CN Canadian Women's Open. In the latter event she finished 72 holes in 12-under-par 276 at St. Charles Country Club in Winnipeg for a three-shot margin over Kristy McPherson, Suzann Pettersen, Jee Young Lee and Jiyai Shin.

Here's what else Wie told the media during a Q&A on the eve of this year's Shoprite LPGA Classic.

Q. Thirteen years old you were when you came here the first time. I'm sure that seems like a lifetime ago, but obviously this place holds a special place in your heart, right, being able to be here. Can you talk about your thoughts being here?

MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, for sure. I can't believe it's been over eight years ago, and it's been a fun journey, I'm really glad to be back. The golf course is in great shape, and I'm really looking forward to tomorrow.

Q. Is this course playing harder than last year from what you've seen?

MICHELLE WIE: They really put in the Fescue in. And it's pretty thick. I think the wind conditions make it pretty tough. The greens aren't really as soft as I want them to be, they're pretty firm. And I think it's playing pretty challenging, but just got to keep in the fairways, get on the greens and make some putts.

Q. Usually the scores here are pretty low, do you think they might be a bit higher this year?

MICHELLE WIE: You never know. There could be someone that shoots really well. I think it's playing a little bit harder, but you've just got to go out there and try to shoot a low score, and I think someone will.

Q. Can you talk about the challenges of the wind, Michelle?

MICHELLE WIE: It's pretty windy. I always think that the ocean wind is a little stronger than it is inland. But it makes the golf course very interesting, so we'll see. I had some different yardages today than I did in the practice round, so the wind makes it very interesting.

Q. Is it difficult changing from two weeks ago?

MICHELLE WIE: Not really. You know, kind of in playing issues, but I had a lot of fun at Sybase, lot of fun playing Match Play. But it's good to be back to stroke play again, and I'm very excited about it.

Q. What do you have to do here?

MICHELLE WIE: It's not a very long golf course, so I think keeping it on the right part of the fairway is very important to get it on the right part of the greens.

Q. Are the greens tough to read?

MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, they are tricky. They have bumps in them, and tomorrow I have to get on the right side of the green and get easy putts.

Q. How is your education going? Are you done yet?

MICHELLE WIE: No, I'm not done yet. I graduate next March, but I'm done for this year. I'm currently working on a paper, and I have an exam next week.

Q. What is your major again?

MICHELLE WIE: Communications.

Q. How's everything going, sometimes off, sometimes on, how's that been going for the last three or four years?

MICHELLE WIE: It's been tough. It's been very challenging to get my work done, and to stay on task. But I'm proud of myself. If I do finish next March, I'll be done for four and a half years and I won't jinx myself.

Q. When you're done with your studies, do you think that full time will help you in golf as well?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, it's funny, I play 20 tournaments a year, which is basically almost a full schedule, so I haven't been laying off much on the golf, per se, but it will be nice to come back from playing and just sitting on the couch and doing nothing without having to pull out my lap time.

Q. You have a couple issues this year, and you haven't won yet, what's separated you from winning?

MICHELLE WIE: It's a very fine line. A putt here, shot there, drive there. You know hopefully this week we can get it all together.

Q. What is your paper on?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, it's basically on the Internet and whether or not code is more important than national or state law in regulating behavior online.

The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.