“And she eagled the second hole twice during the matches, and there were players that couldn't reach that second hole. It was a long golf course. So it was kind of a no-brainer pick. She's just likable. She's fun, everybody wanted to be around her. She just had a great kind of magnetic personality and I think that's what drew the general public to her.”
Two-time U.S. Women’s Open champion Meg Mallon remembers just how much interest Wie West generated in women’s golf and the LPGA Tour in her early years as a member of the organization. When she first arrived on the golf scene, the young phenom was often compared to Tiger Woods, a big compliment but also a challenging analogy that came with a litany of expectations to live up to, and Mallon sympathized with that.
“As far as being called the next Tiger, that's a very difficult thing to do to anybody when they're 14 years old,” said Mallon. “That expectation level goes up for everybody so no matter what you do, it's not good enough.
“No, she probably didn't have the career that she imagined she'd have but she also didn't imagine having all those injuries either and having to fight through a lot. With that being said, she did well in spite of the injuries and also brought a lot to the Tour as far as outside interest. People that never would have watched the game, watched the game because of her. We should all be grateful for that.”
While it wasn’t the 50-plus wins and 10 major titles that everyone had seemingly scripted for her career, Wie West still had a lot of success during the peak of her playing days. She won five times on the LPGA Tour, including the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst, and recorded 44 additional top-10 finishes throughout the course of her career. Her final putt at that Women’s Open is a moment that will forever be iconic, an accomplishment that was a huge source of inspiration for the next generation of Asian-Americans aspiring to play professional golf, for players like 2022 Portland Classic winner Andrea Lee.