KOHLER, Wis. -- Michelle Wie agrees with most observers of her golf career when she says, as she did Tuesday at the U.S. Women's Open: "The scariest question of all is, 'What if?' "

Except that Wie does not see the question the way other people do. Others look at the former phenom and wonder, "What if she had not been sidetracked by being a sideshow at PGA Tour events before she ever established herself on the LPGA Tour?"

They also ask, "What if she had played golf full time instead of going to college and joined the tour here and there?"

Wie, of course, never has become the female Tiger Woods, as she was made out to be (in part by Nike, Woods' big sponsor). She has no wins on the LPGA Tour this year, has finished in the top 10 only seven times in 20 tournaments and ranks a mere 18th on the money list. Still, she never asks herself, "What if?"

"Not graduating would have been that for me," she said after her practice round at Blackwolf Run.

Her point is, she has her diploma from Stanford (Woods' former school) and, to her, that feels like a major.

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"One of my biggest goals in life, growing up, was to graduate from Stanford," she said. "If I had dropped out after two years or so, it would have been something that I would have regretted for the rest of my life."

So she is not flummoxed by the swing that hasn't brought results lately, and has admittedly made her think too much about mechanics. She believes she is wiser for having spent the four years at school. And she points out that at 22, she is just getting started, like her classmates who are getting into banking.

"Right when they knew they were going to Bank of America or Goldman Sachs, they were like, 'I think I need to start playing golf,' " she said with a laugh. "I had to explain to them what a par was."