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However when persistent accidents started to hamper Michelle Wie West’s skill to play the sport she cherished — she featured in simply 5 Women Skilled Golf Affiliation (LPGA) Tour occasions in 2019, making the minimize simply as soon as — ideas of an early retirement flitted via her thoughts.

These damage frustrations had been counterpointed by private happiness. Two months after her final look on the golf course, she married Golden State Warriors government Jonnie West. And some months later, Wie West came upon she was pregnant.

Initially the prospect of changing into a mother cemented the thought of retirement.

Then Wie West found she was going to have a woman — the golfer gave beginning to daughter Makenna Kamalei Yoona West on June 19 — and that “modified every part.”

“It simply fully shifted my perspective. I used to be not anticipating that to shift that drastically, but it surely actually did,” mentioned Wie West.

“Every little thing that I see now, it has modified. And taking part in clever, it is undoubtedly made me need to play once more. After I exit and follow it is undoubtedly not as a lot as I used to have the ability to. I used to have the ability to follow day in and day trip. However now, there’s like every week in between generally.

“It is simply all very unpredictable. But it surely’s made me need to come again and never only for myself, however for her and to type of lead by instance. And I feel it is so completely different when she will be able to see YouTube movies and she will be able to see all that. I can inform her in regards to the issues that I did. However I actually simply need to have the ability to present her and I hope I’ve that chance to take action.”

Wie after she has hit her tee shot on the 13th hole during the first round of the ANA Inspiration in 2019.

‘Ladies Price Watching’

Since turning skilled in 2005, Wie West has witnessed a sea-change in perspective in direction of ladies’s golf.

“I feel it’s altering. It is that sluggish change. However yearly I do really feel like there may be some progress being made,” she mentioned.

Nevertheless, regardless of ladies making up 40% of all individuals in sports activities, it receives simply 4% of sports activities media protection.
Competitors with males’s sport for prime-time TV slots has typically resulted in ladies’s sport dropping out on viewers, though broadcast audiences for main ladies’s competitions have grown over current years.

Nevertheless, for this week’s Ladies’s US Open which is about to kick off on Thursday — Wie West says she entered her title for however isn’t but “comfy flying” together with her daughter but, so pulled out — there isn’t a different skilled golf occurring within the US, which means all eyes are prone to be on Cypress Creek Course in Houston, Texas.

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To have the ability to showcase their abilities to a mainstream viewers could possibly be “incredible” for ladies’s golf, in keeping with Wie West.

Wie lines up a putt on the 10th green during the first round of the PGA Championship.

“We’re in direct competitors with the PGA Tour they usually have a powerful product. They at all times have,” the 2014 US Open winner mentioned. “And after we go head-to-head towards them, as of proper now, it is a bit bit tough.

“You at all times hear the argument why our purses are a lot decrease, it is as a result of our TV viewership is decrease. And that is quite a lot of time as a result of we’re in direct competitors with a product that has been traditionally greater and higher. And we by no means had an opportunity to shine.

“We by no means had the identical TV slots. We have by no means had the identical manufacturing value, manufacturing worth. So I feel this manner the USGA [United States’ Golf Association] is de facto taking cost of that.”

In addition to having fun with household life, Wie West has being discovering her toes as a broadcaster on {golfing} occasions.

She can also be a passionate painter. In an 2014 interview with CNN, Wie West talked of her love of portray. Her art work is darkish, daring and sometimes somber, with black figures and sinister skulls splattered throughout the canvasses. “My mother was like, ‘You had been obsessive about skulls ever because you had been a child,'” she defined.

She has additionally grow to be an envoy for the US’ Golf Affiliation’s ‘Ladies Price Watching’ marketing campaign which goals to “shine a brighter gentle on the unbelievable athletes” that play in ladies’s championships.

“It is only a reminder that the boys are actually enjoyable to observe, however we’re price watching as properly. There’s quite a lot of nice tales that you shouldn’t simply gloss it over as a result of it is a ladies’s sporting occasion. That there are such a lot of nice tales inside this match, inside our tour.

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“It is actually cool for these younger women to be like, I need to play a sport meaning one thing and is price one thing. And it resonates not simply in sports activities, however in firms and the enterprise world and leisure that you recognize extra about gender equality and that we’re price watching and we’re price equal.”

Wie West and Mark Rolfing on the Golf Channel set during a practice round prior to The Players Championship.

An early begin

Wie West’s mom, Bo, was an novice golf champion in South Korea and the 31-year-old credit her mother for introducing her to the sport at an early age.

Having began taking part in golf on the age of 4, it was in 2000 that Wie West grew to become the youngest participant ever to qualify for the U.S. Ladies’s Beginner Public Hyperlinks Championship, although that report was ultimately surpassed eight years later by Allisen Corpuz.

At simply 13 she grew to become the youngest lady to make the minimize at an LPGA match, the distinguished Kraft Nabisco Championship — one of many ladies’s majors.

And on the 2004 Sony Open she grew to become solely the fourth — and youngest — feminine to play on the boys’s PGA Tour. She turned professional in 2005, simply shy of her sixteenth birthday.

BJ Wie (left) and his wife Bo Wie watch their daughter during practice for the 2004 Curtis Cup Matches.

Since blossoming into the LPGA Tour’s greatest stars from such an early age — with 5 wins together with her debut main victory in 2014 — Wie West has lived a lot of life within the public eye.

Regardless of the eye, Wie West says she’s lucky she grew up with “just about no social media.”

“It was wild. After I was a child, I imply, properly, we had MySpace perhaps and Fb actually wasn’t a factor and there actually wasn’t Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat. And I am very lucky of that as a result of my dad and mom actually hid all of that from me, like all of the articles that had been written on me.”

If she had grown up these days and had “the identical quantity of consideration and the identical quantity of scrutiny and similar quantity of articles written” about her, Wie West is not positive she would’ve achieved the identical degree as success she’s loved.

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“However again within the day, in case your dad and mom actually need to conceal information from you, they might. And I am simply actually glad as a result of in my very own bubble, my very own private bubble, my life felt very regular. I nonetheless went to high school full-time. I had my similar buddies that did not know something about golf and that was the identical case once I went to school as properly, too.

“So I really feel very lucky that I grew up in that period the place social media actually wasn’t a factor. It is robust as a child. On occasion, you by accident come upon an article that perhaps is not written favorable about you or your dad and mom.”

Wie celebrates with the trophy after winning in the final round of the 69th U.S. Women's Open in 2014.

Studying from others

Via her husband Jonnie, Wie West has fashioned an in depth friendship with three-time NBA champion Steph Curry.

Wie West coached Curry for his look in “The Match III” — a charity occasion aimed toward elevating funds to assist main US Black schools and universities. In the meantime, the two-time NBA MVP has provided recommendation to the Wie West’s on diaper altering.

Seeing how Curry, who has three youngsters, is ready to stability his basketball profession and private life has additionally helped Wie West imagine she might juggle being a mother and proceed taking part in golf professionally.

Wie and Jonnie West attend Game Six of round one between the Golden State Warriors and the LA Clippers in 2019.

“The extra gamers that I see which might be capable of stability that and stability it properly, like him, it is reassuring to me going again into work,” she defined. “He was I feel one of many first those that Jonnie instructed.

“When he came upon he was having a woman, I imply, he has 4 brothers. Having a woman, he was like: ‘Oh my God.’ Freaking out a bit bit. Steph actually grounded him and calmed him down.

“Any athlete that I discuss to that basically is ready to stability being a dad or mum and being an athlete, knowledgeable athlete properly, it simply undoubtedly is reassuring to me and somebody that I look as much as and somebody that we at all times ask questions being like: ‘Oh, what do you do when this occurs?’

“It is nice to have this neighborhood the place I can lean on and study from.”



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