Wie was right on the cut line at Royal Birkdale when she drove into the right rough on the 16th hole. The ball was in a thick bush, and as she approached the ball, Wie figured her only hope was to get relief from a plaque in the ground.
"I actually was glad there was a plaque there," she said. "And then ... it was too far away to get free relief."
She was too upset to read the plaque, and only later did she realize why it was there -- and for whom.
Arnold Palmer was in the same spot 53 years ago in the 1961 British Open when he took a 6-iron and slashed it out of the bush and onto the green for a two-putt par on his way to a one-shot victory. It only added to legend of his strength and bravado.
Wie listened to this tale after her 78, smiled and said, "That didn't happen for me."
She took an unplayable lie.
Wie pulled her next shot into a pot bunker, did well to get out and made double bogey. She made another 6 on the par-5 17th when it took two big hacks to get out of the hay left of the fairway. That all but ended her hopes of making it to the weekend.
A three-putt par on the 18th gave her a 78, her highest score since the wind-swept third round at St. Andrews last summer. Just like that, Wie went from major champion to her first missed cut of the year.
What went wrong?
"I was trying to figure that out myself," Wie said. "I missed a lot of greens. I had a lot of hard par putts today, and I didn't make them. I didn't do much on any of the holes. It didn't go quite as well as I wanted it to."
Wie celebrated her first major just last month at Pinehurst No. 2 when she captured the U.S. Women's Open. She said at the start of the week that Pinehurst was in the past, and it was time to get back to work.
Even after a short week, she still has that shiny trophy waiting for her at home. Wie wasn't having any part of that.
"It does still feel good," she said. "But I'm disappointed in myself. I wanted to play well here."
Wie was in danger of the cut when she made three straight bogeys to close out the back nine. She didn't make a birdie until the par-3 12th, and a birdie on the par-5 15th put her at 6-over par, which would have been enough to make the cut.
But then came that hybrid 2-iron next to Arnie's plaque, and thus began her demise.
"I thought I hit it OK on 16," she said. "Two inches to the left and I would have been fine. But when things go wrong, you don't really get breaks. I didn't hit it well. I got into a rhythm where I was trying to make pars instead of trying to make birdies."
The last time she was out of sorts? She couldn't remember. Wie had not shot higher than 73 this year until Royal Birkdale got the best of her.
"It's been a long time. And it [stinks]. It really [stinks]," she said. "But at the same time, I really got some motivation to look at what I need to do to improve."