Paolo UghettiESPN4 minute read
Pebble Beach, Calif. — Michelle Wee West had no trouble admitting that. She thought a lot about her final walk to the 18th hole at Pebble Beach, the final of her career. She visualized it, dreamed it, and even idealized it.
“Well, hopefully we’re in the final group with everyone watching,” Wee West said Tuesday. “It’s really unbelievable.”
Wee West decided to make this year’s U.S. Women’s Open at the historic venue her last competitive tournament, and did everything she could to write her own final script. But she is well aware of the unpredictability that the sport that has dominated her life for the past 18 years brings.
That’s why she can no longer devise an exit after the ball flies on Thursday. She made her own decision, describing it as “difficult,” but now has to accept the final consequences it brings.
“When I finished Pine Needles, I thought, oh, but next year I have Pebble,” Wee West said of last year’s US Open, when she first announced her plans to retire. “Next year he won’t have a Pebble.”
Wee West did not express regrets, but spoke of wishes and aspirations. She said she would quit when she had her child. She now has a toddler and although she hasn’t been on a full LPGA Tour schedule since 2018, the sport she’s played her entire life still has a magnetism that speaks to her.
“I really wanted to play longer, especially when McKenna became a girl,” Wee West said. “In an ideal world, I would still be on tour and playing. Unfortunately, I just had to make some difficult decisions with my body. It’s hard. Being a mother here. It’s hard, you have to do a lot of things.” A lot of sacrifices were made. He had to make difficult medical decisions, as well as personal ones. “
On Tuesday, Wee West played a practice round with Stanford University golf alum Rose Chan as family and friends followed her at Pebble Beach, where her husband, Johnny West, caddied her daughter in Stillwater below. – Watched every shot of her while observing seals in the cove. The pairing and setting were fitting for the metaphorical passing of the torch between Wee West and Chan, who foreshadowed her potential next face in the women’s game. The two golfing alumni at Stanford University, heading in different career directions, passed each other and became close.
“It’s definitely been an emotional week for me,” she said. “I just realized that everything I’ve been doing is the last time. The putting practice I’m doing now, if that’s the case, I think I’m not going to do any more putting practice for the rest of my life.” “I don’t have to. So I do everything last, like the last practice round, the line drawing, the writing in the yardage book.”
The melancholy that Wee West describes isn’t evident when she’s playing. Instead, she’s focused on her game, what the ball is doing, what shots she has to hit on her hole, how broken her putt is, and so on. increase. But she can quickly get out of that situation and talk to her friends, media people and relatives as if she wasn’t practicing for the final tournament of her career. For her, this is to enjoy her ending.
“I’ve put a lot of thought into it and am incredibly blessed with the journey I’ve had and the family I’ve built,” Wee West said. “It’s been a really great week to be here.”
Her competitive edge remains, she said. In fact, it’s the hardest thing to replicate off course in any other aspect of her life, but it’s also the easiest to let go of in everyday life.
“When you’re a professional athlete, you’re very high at your best and very low at your lowest,” Wee West said. “Honestly, in the past year, I haven’t felt the best of the best, but I haven’t felt the worst of the worst either. It’s strange how every day is kind of mundane. Get outside.” and eat three meals a day, you take care of your daughter, you watch Netflix at night, every day is fine.”
Wee West seems to have not only reconciled with the next stage of her life, but fully embraced it. Her club is hidden in “the darkest corner of the garage,” but playing pickleball with her husband fills up a little adrenaline tank. She said her home garden needed maintenance. she is her daughter too. And when it comes to golf, she will remain, help, advocate, and do all she can to ensure her legacy lives on beyond her last putt.
“I want to continue to support the growth of the tour, and women’s sport in general, and do everything in my power to continue to empower women, both in and out of the sport, and to close the pay gap,” said Wee West. Told. “I think we have to lead by example, and I hope I can be part of that.”
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