Five-time LPGA Tour winner Michelle Wie West could return to competitive golf later this year thanks to the U.S. Women’s Open being rescheduled due to the COVID-19 crisis. She has already missed nearly a full year while dealing with a continued wrist injury and is expecting her first child this summer.
Wie considers returning after baby for US Open
Wie West, 30, last competed at the KPMG Women’s PGA in June 2019 where she missed the cut. It was supposed to be an exciting comeback after a lengthy right hand and wrist injury kept her away, but instead she tearfully told reporters she wasn’t “entirely sure how much more I have left in me.”
She decided to skip the rest of the LPGA season to get healthy and in January announced she was pregnant with her first child due this summer. Wie married Golden State Warriors director of basketball operations Jonnie West, son NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West, in August 2019.
Now that the U.S. Women’s Open was pushed from June to Dec. 10-13 at Champions Golf Club in Houston, Wie West told ESPN she could return to the links this year. Via ESPN:
"Logistically, it opened my eyes and I was like, 'Whoa, like maybe it could happen,'" said Wie West, whose one major title was at the 2014 U.S. Open. "I'm not making a decision right now, but my ears definitely perked up when I heard that the U.S. Open is going to be in December. Suddenly, it's something that seriously needs to be discussed."
Wie West told ESPN whether she plays or not will not only hinge on her health but also on safety during the pandemic since she would be traveling with a newborn.
She had surgery on the hand in October 2018 and teed off in five events before shutting it down last year. She has never missed a season after turning professional in 2005 at the age of 15 and by 16 had finished top-five in three LPGA majors.
Wie considered retiring when she had kids
Wie West said she thought she would retire when she had children. But then she found out she was having a girl. Via ESPN:
"Before I was even pregnant, I thought my career would come to an end when I had kids, and I was fine with that," Wie West said. "Then I found out I was having a girl, and my perspective changed. ... Now, I definitely want to play for her. I want to create a future for her while she sees me being a strong woman and an athlete and being someone that is pursuing her dreams."
The star golfer is on maternity leave from the tour. Players can take leave the year in which they’re pregnant and give birth or the year after birth. The LPGA formally revised its policies in February, mirroring that of tennis, to “freeze” female golfers rankings when they go on maternity leave. It also allows players to defer for a year the events they have qualified for or been exempted from.
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