Michelle Wie West will step away from the LPGA Tour but fell short of confirming a retirement from the game of golf.
The 32-year old former US Women’s Open champion will compete in next week’s $10m Major at Pine Needles and also the following year’s US Women’s Open at Pebble Beach but beyond that, Wie West admits her body simply won’t allow her to tee-it up full-time on the LPGA Tour.
“At times, if I do play a lot of golf, I’m just in bed. Or I can’t lift (Makenna, daughter) up, and that scared me,” Wie West told Golfweek, before falling short of announcing her retirement, confirming, “I’m definitely not ruling anything out”.
The prodigious talent stormed the fairways of women’s golf when she first burst on the scene, winning the US Women’s Amateur Public Links in 2003 aged just 13. The following year she teed up on the PGA Tour at the Sony Open and fired a second round 68, still the best round by a woman on the PGA Tour.
Wie would earn her degree in Stanford while competing, and winning, twice on the LPGA Tour despite still being in school. She was picked up by NIKE, dubbed the Tiger Woods of women’s golf, and won what was considered an overdue Major when getting over the line at the US Women’s Open at Pinehurst in 2014. It’s that victory that’s made her decision to step away from the game a whole lot easier.
“Because I accomplished both of those [and the degree], I think I feel very happy in my decision now,” said Wie West who has five LPGA Tour victories to her name.
“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.”
And another big source of anxiety around the decision which has since been put at ease is Wie West’s relationship with NIKE who were not just fully supportive of her decision to step away, but also wish to continue their working relationship long into the future.
“I was definitely waiting for the heartbreaking call that Nike wouldn’t want to work with me but it was the complete opposite,” said Wie West, with the partnership now extended by five years.
As for any regrets, Wie West steps away without them:
“I don’t have any regrets because I feel like I’ve always learned from every mistake that I’ve made,” she said. “I feel like even if it was a huge major fail, at least it makes for a good story now.”