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JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Michelle Wie West heard a baby babble on the 18th at Atlanta Athletic Club’s Highlands Course and felt herself tear up.
“I was like, get yourself together,” she said with a laugh.
This week marks the first time Wie West has competed outside of the state of California in 2021, much less on the other side of the country. Daughter Makenna is busy getting spoiled by her grandparents while Wie West makes her sixth start of the season at the KPMG Women’s PGA.
“The guilt is real,” she said. “You go out there and like should I be really here so far away from her? You just have to fight through it and know that she’s having fun and all that.”
After Wie West opened with a 5-over 77 at the KPMG, husband Jonnie gave her a short pep talk.
“He told me to get my head out of my ass, so I did,” said Wie, calling him her sports psych. “I played, got my head out of my ass, and I played some golf today.”
Wie West poured in four birdies in the first seven holes to turn things around. Her 3-under 69 matches her low round for the season, and at 3 over she’s currently inside the cut line in a share of 56th.
“That was the first time in a really long time where I felt like every hole looked like a birdie hole to me,” she said.
Wie West made her first cut of the year two weeks ago at the LPGA Mediheal Championship, held at her new home course of Lake Merced. She said it has taken some time to get used to her ball flying 15 yards farther in warm conditions.
It was two years ago at this event when Wie West didn’t know how much longer she’d be able to play the game. She hobbled around Hazeltine clutching ice packs, opening with an 84 that matched her highest round as a pro. In a rare display of emotion, Wie West broke down in front of a small group of reporters after the round.
Wie West gutted it through the second round to shoot 82 and then announced that she’d be taking the rest of 2019 off to heal her right hand and wrists. She got married, had a baby and came back to the tour in March.
A made cut at Atlanta Athletic Club would mark her first weekend at a major since the 2018 KPMG Women’s PGA, when she tied for 28th.
“It’s pretty crazy when you think about Hazeltine and where I was and where I am now,” she said. “I’m just eternally grateful that I have a chance to come back.”