Michelle Wie West shot a 74 on Friday at Southern Pines, falling to 5-over par at halftime of the U.S. Women’s Open. She is expected to miss the cut in what was thought to be her final career start.
Last week, Wie West announced that she would be retiring from the LPGA Tour after the season’s second major. Yet, on Tuesday, she hedged a bit, saying that the 2023 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach will remain on her schedule, for now.
“I definitely teared up a little bit knowing that it would be one of my last times doing that,” she said of her walk down the 18th fairway. “It was really cool … definitely a bittersweet week.”
Wie West’s final week was sort of a microcosm of her golf career: world-class hype followed by a mediocre performance.
The 32-year-old Hawaiian won five times on the LPGA Tour during a controversial and turbulent 16-year career. A record-setting amateur golfer, who at just 10-years-old qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship, Wie became a lightning rod after turning pro in 2006 on her 16th birthday.
Barely 16, with no professional resume, Wie signed multi-million-dollar contracts with Sony and Nike and used sponsor invites to play in pro tournaments, including five on the PGA Tour, where she failed to make a single cut.
The PGA Tour experiment ended in 2008, and Wie West earned her LPGA card for the 2009 season. She won in her rookie season, and again in 2010. She finished her first two seasons ranked among the top 10 in the world, and at just 21 seemed headed for a promising career.
It never happened. Wie West made more headlines outside the ropes than between them.
She enjoyed her best season in 2014, winning twice, including her only major at the U.S. Women’s Open in Pinehurst, North Carolina.
In her late twenties, Wie West became a fan favorite as a fiery flag-waving member of Solheim Cup teams. But more recently her once pro-American, apolitical persona became hyper-focused on woke politics.
Wie West has said her post-playing career will be focused on pushing identity politics in golf.