Michelle Wie West prepares to step away from LPGA after U.S. Women’s Open, leaves tour with no regrets

Michelle Wie West is proud to have blazed her own trail. No one in the history of the game has had a path quite like hers. A history maker, a prodigy, a creative marvel, Wie West commanded a presence in the game with her unique skillset, towering physical presence and daring exploits against the men. As a teen, she was as inspirational as she was controversial, a player many believed would become the Tiger Woods of the LPGA.

And now, as she prepares to fully transition away from the LPGA, Wie West’s legacy in the game is yet unfinished. The 32-year-old mom told Golfweek that she plans to compete in next week’s U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles and will then step away from the tour, with only next year’s Women’s Open at Pebble Beach remaining on her competitive golf calendar. Husband Jonnie West has volunteered to caddie at Pebble next July.

She won’t call it a retirement. After all, look at Annika Sorenstam, who will compete in her first major championship in 13 years in Southern Pines, North Carolina, at age 51.

“I’m definitely not ruling anything out,” Wie West said.

Michelle Wie of the United States celebrates with the trophy after winning in the final round of the 69th U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, Course No. 2 on June 22, 2014, in Pinehurst, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

After more than two decades of competing in the spotlight, Wie West, who gave birth to daughter Makenna on June 19, 2020, said her body can’t keep up anymore. When she teed it up in her only LPGA event of 2022 at the Hilton Grand Tournament of Champions in January, the first day felt great but it was a struggle physically thereafter (71-78-78-81).

“At times, if I do play a lot of golf,” she said, “I’m just in bed. Or I can’t lift (Makenna) up, and that scared me.”

Injuries have plagued Wie West her entire career, and she has entered a phase of life where she doesn’t want to put in the hours of rehab and practice that’s required to compete full time.

Wie West said she’s most proud of the fact that she earned her Stanford degree while competing on the LPGA (winning twice while in school!), and that she captured a U.S. Women’s Open title. Those were her two biggest dreams.

“Because I accomplished both of those, I think I feel very happy in my decision now,” she said. “I think if I hadn’t won the U.S. Open, I’d still be out there competing week to week trying to get that U.S. Open win.”

One thing Wie West stressed about in particular, however, was the call she feared from Nike that would end her contract after she stopped playing.

“I was definitely waiting for the heartbreaking call that Nike wouldn’t want to work with me,” she said, “but it…

Source link : sports.yahoo.com

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