Michelle Wie West isn’t trying so hard to win the U.S. Women’s Open

Michelle Wie West, one of the most celebrated golfers since she was 10 years old, had breakfast on Tuesday morning at the players ’dining hall at the U.S. Women’s Open Women’s Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club in North Carolina.

“Someone approached me,” said Wie West, 32, “saying they put my name on it.”

He rolled his eyes gently and said horribly, “So that made me feel very young. I’m in this phase of my life. ‘

Last week, Wie West announced that he would be out of competitive golf after this week’s tournament. He has no plans to play another LPGA tournament in 2022. The only other event expected to attend is the 2023 U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

He used the word “retirement” only once when he spoke to reporters on Tuesday and admitted that he could change his mind. But Wie West, who competed in major tournaments shortly after her 16th birthday, won five LPGA events, including the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open, garnered $ 10 million in sponsorships and prize money, and most importantly played eight times against her. The man on the PGA Tour, there was a little purpose in his voice.

“It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time,” Wie West said. “It’s been a wonderful journey, and I’m really looking forward to it.”

The future, however, could wait another 10 minutes as Wie West tried to sum up his career, starting early in elite golf, where the international star obsessively lived in bright lights. His career was also severely disrupted by wrist injuries, which caused him to play intermittently or not at all for long stretches. In June 2020, she and her husband Jonnie West became parents for the first time when the daughter of the Makenna couple was born.

“First of all, I want to say that I have no regrets in my career,” he said. “It simply came to our notice then. But no one will ever be 100 percent happy.

“I have certainly had a career up and down, but I am very proud of the resilience I have shown,” he said. “I’m very proud to have had the two biggest dreams I’ve ever had: one to graduate from Stanford and the other to win the US Open.”

Wie West was smiling, laughing, and calm. Of all the public moments in his very public career, this seemed easy, and he was happy to be back on stage to achieve his signature achievement.

“I’m definitely giving myself a little bit of grace and I’m enjoying this last week,” he said.

For Wie West, whose presence, versatility, and tremendous leadership compared her to Tiger Woods, what was left unsaid was the impact she had on women’s golf. She never addressed the issue directly, nor did she acknowledge the impact of the sport’s popularity, but when asked what has changed in the women’s game over the past 20 years, Wie West was encouraged.

“Oh, I mean, it’s changed a lot,” he replied. “Congratulations to USGA for truly buying women’s sport and continuing to grow and push the boundaries of the LPGA.

“When the doors close to us, we continue to push, and I’m very proud of everyone on tour and USGA for actually buying and setting the right level,” he said.

In January, the U.S. Golf Association nearly doubled the U.S. Women’s Open Award prize to $ 10 million, winning this year’s tournament $ 1.8 million, the richest payoff for women’s golf.

A year ago, three women on the LPGA tour alone earned more than $ 1.8 million. Although the U.S. Open Award prize money is $ 12.5 million, USGA CEO Mike Whan plans to raise the women’s bag to $ 12 million in a few years.

The remuneration of the protection contracts of the golf industry continues to extinguish most of the remuneration given to the top male golfers.

But in this regard, Wie West, who joined the LPGA board of directors last year and continues to hold that position, had advice, from personal experience, for the golfers who will replace him.

“As a female athlete, we are often told, ‘Oh, your protection is worth it; you should ask for it,'” said Wie West. value. I know what I deserve. ‘ And ask for more. ‘

When asked if he had done that, he successfully replied, “Yes, for sure.”

She is also an investor in a Wie West company, LA Golf, and said she is committed to launching new initiatives for women golfers with the goal of changing the financial landscape of sponsors.

In the short term, Wie West still has a competition to compete in this week, considering his other priorities, which he didn’t prepare like 10 or 20 years ago.

“I definitely don’t have the training schedule I usually have until the U.S. Open,” he said with a smile. “It simply came to our notice then. Just to see all the fans, to see all the players, to take a walk. It’s very pretty. “

Being a past champion of the event helps Wie West enjoy the experience, perhaps in a more meaningful way than anyone could have expected. Unexpectedly, she said that without winning the U.S. Women’s Open trophy eight years ago, she would now not be able to end her competitive career.

“It’s the only tournament I’ve wanted to win since I started playing golf,” Wie West said. He stressed: “If I hadn’t won the 2014 US Open, I would still have retired. And I would still be out here playing behind that victory. That win means everything to me.”

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