While many saw it coming, it was still a shock to hear that five-time LPGA Tour winner Michelle Wie West will step away from professional golf following this week’s U.S. Women’s Open presented by ProMedica. The 2014 champion is understandably sad to be leaving the LPGA Tour, but Wie West is looking forward to the opportunities that are on the horizon and is excited to continue her work making golf more diverse and inclusive.
“It was kind of bittersweet always to announce that, but it's something that I've been thinking about for a while,” said Wie West, who joined the LPGA Tour in 2009. “Just to be back here where I won the U.S. Women's Open, obviously not the same golf course but the same area, it feels so amazing to come back and see all the fans and see all the players. It's been an amazing journey, and I'm very excited for what happens next.”
Wie West’s win eight years ago just up the road at Pinehurst No. 2 has been the crowning achievement of the 32-year-old’s career, and while she joked that she couldn’t pick the major venue out of a lineup, the Land of the Pines will always hold a special place in her heart. “I walked in Pinehurst Village this morning to get coffee. Funny enough, I don't remember anything about the week. It just looked like I walked for the first time. I didn't recognize it at all. I think I drove by Pinehurst No. 2 I'm like, ‘Oh, that's a cool golf course.’ They're like, ‘That's Pinehurst No. 2.’ I'm like, I don't remember that at all,” Wie West said with a big laugh. “I think I just blacked out that week. It means everything to me. It was the one tournament I wanted to win ever since I started playing golf. If I hadn't won the 2014 U.S. Open, I definitely wouldn't retire, and I would still be out here playing and chasing that win. That win means everything to me.”
Wie West doesn’t play much golf these days, an understandable change with young daughter Makenna at home, and 2022 has seen her play just once in an LPGA Tour event, a tie for 18th at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions. With that in mind, rather than focusing on the results, Wie West is more concerned about making the most of her swansong and wants to simply enjoy the walk at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club, savoring one of her last few events as an active LPGA Tour Member, taking the time to stop and smell the proverbial roses and bid a proper farewell to such a large part of her life.
“I'm definitely managing expectations right now. I haven't had the practice schedule that I usually do leading up to a U.S. Open. This week I'm just soaking it all in,” she said. “I have zero regrets in my career. There's always that inkling of wishing I had done more but I feel like no matter what, no one is ever going to be 100 percent satisfied. I have definitely had an up-and-down career, but I'm extremely proud for the resiliency that I've shown over my career. I'm extremely proud to have achieved the two biggest dreams that I've had, one being graduating from Stanford, and the other winning the U.S. Open. To check both those off the list means everything to me.”