Wie West is planning a poignant week at the U.S. Open to end her career. Michelle Wie West has no problem confessing that she has frequently contemplated her final walk up to the 18th hole at Pebble Beach, the last of her career. She has envisioned it, imagined it, and even idealized it.
Wie West said on Tuesday, “God, I hope it’s in the final group with everyone watching.” That would be absolutely extraordinary.
Wie West, 33, has written her own final chapter by determining that this year’s U.S. Women’s Open at this historic venue will be her final competitive tournament ever. Nevertheless, she is well aware of the unpredictability that the sport that has dominated her life for the past 18 years can bring.
As a result, once the ball is in the air on Thursday, she can no longer design her exit. She has made her decision, which she described as “difficult,” and must now accept the finality that it entails.
“When I was done with Pine Needles, I was like, oh, but I have Pebble next year,” Wie West said at the U.S. Open last year, where she first announced her retirement plans. “There is no Pebble next year.”
Wie West did not express remorse, but she did communicate her desires and wishes. She had always stated that she would stop working once she had children. She is now the mother of an infant and hasn’t played a full LPGA Tour schedule since 2018, but the sport she has played her entire life continues to captivate her.
“I desperately wished to play for longer. “I really wanted to play longer, especially after having Makenna and discovering that she was a girl,” Wie West said. “In an ideal universe, I wish I were still touring and performing. Unfortunately, I had to make a difficult decision regarding my physique. It is tough. It is difficult to be a mother here. You must make numerous sacrifices. I recently had to make a difficult medical and personal decision.”
On Tuesday, Wie West played a practice round with fellow Stanford golf alum Rose Zhang, with her family and friends trailing behind, watching her every stroke at Pebble Beach, while her husband Jonnie West caddied for her and her daughter observed seals on Stillwater Cove below. The pairing and setting were appropriate for a symbolic torch-passing between Wie West and Zhang, who is predicted to be the next face of women’s tennis. The two Stanford golf alums have become close as their respective careers take them in distinct directions.
“It’s definitely been an emotional week for me,” she said. “I just realized I’m doing everything for the final time. I won’t do another putting drill for the rest of my life if I don’t need to after completing the current putting drills. Therefore, I am completing these tasks for the final time, including the final practice rounds, obtaining the line, and writing in my yardage book.
The melancholy that Wie West describes is not precisely apparent in her performance. Instead, she is focused on her game, the behavior of the ball, the type of stroke required by the hole, and the slope of the putt. She can converse with an acquaintance, a member of the media, or a relative as if she were not in the midst of practicing for the final tournament of her career. For her, this is what it looks like to appreciate the conclusion.
Wie West stated, “I’ve been doing a great deal of introspection and feel incredibly blessed for my journey and the family I’ve built.” It is a particularly enjoyable week to be here.
She stated that her competitive motivation still exists. In fact, it is both the most difficult to replicate outside of class and the simplest to abandon in her daily life.
Wie West stated, “When you’re a professional athlete, the highs are so high and the lows are so low.” Since the beginning of this year, I have not experienced the highest of highs or the lowest of lows. It’s odd that daily life is somewhat mundane. You go outside, consume three meals, take care of your daughter, and then watch Netflix at night. Simply put, every day is fine.”
Wie West appears to have not only accepted the next phase of her existence but also fully embraced it. While the clubs are stored in “the darkest corner of my garage,” playing pickleball with her spouse will help replenish her adrenaline. Her garden at home requires tending, she said. Her daughter, too. And with regard to golf, she is adamant that she will continue to assist, advocate, and do whatever she can to ensure that her legacy will outlive her final putt.
Wie West stated, “I continue to want to help the tour grow and female sports in general, and I will do everything in my power to continue empowering women and closing the pay gap, whether in or outside of sports.” “I believe we must set an example, and I hope to be a part of that.”