Michelle Wie West drops 30 footer at Pebble Beach to end her professional career

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — There’s no other way it could end.

After a dismal week at Pebble Beach, where Michelle Wie West struggled to find the bottom of the cup, the 30-foot par putt on the 18th green — the last putt of her career — had no reason to give up. . However, the ball kept rolling, then dripping and finally, falling.

All Wie West could do was laugh. This wasn’t quite the ending she envisioned — one where she lasted through the weekend, played well and possibly even made it to the US Women’s Open final in her last tournament — but it’s the end she got and a more lasting memory in a career that has spanned decades.

“The game is a fun game,” said Wie West after announcing a two-day score of 14 on par (79-79) and missed eight shots. “Taking that long hit on the 18th is definitely a sweeter welcome.”

Wie West said she has been battling with emotions since the first tee Friday, holding back tears and waiting for the final moments to come. As she stood on the 18th tee behind her husband and caddy Jonnie West, she took a deep breath and held back her tears just before launching her final tee into the fading light.

Next to her, Annika Sorenstam, a three-time US Women’s Open champion who is also likely to play in her final major championship, asked her son to take a picture of her with her husband and caddy Mike, on the way to play. 18th ball.

Everyone is trying to hold onto this moment a little longer.

“Right now it definitely feels surreal,” says Wie West. “It feels like nothing has changed and everything has changed at the same time.”

Then walk down the 18th fairway and reach the green. As Sorenstam’s son walked with the group, Wie West searched for her mother, who was pushing a stroller with Wie West’s 3-year-old daughter, Makenna, in it. She is sleeping.

After Wie West hit the ball long and walked off the field to another round of applause and a bouquet of flowers from USGA CEO Mike Whan, Makenna woke up. Wie West immediately swooped in and carried her from interview to interview, her presence serving as another reminder of the life Wie West now chooses after decades of dedication to her life. sport brought her here, 2,400 miles across the sea from her hometown of Honolulu. .

“I’d love to play better, but the whole experience is truly remarkable,” said Wie West. “It’s great to have my finalists here at Pebble Beach.”

The setting is fitting for a long career marked by many historical firsts that Wie has amassed over his years in the game. Although she announced her retirement ahead of last year’s US Women’s Open at the Pine Needles, Wie West won’t miss Friday’s final at one of the world’s most famous holes with a final hit. Memorable will take place on Friday. highlight upcoming reels.

“The Public Links was the first tournament I played on the mainland,” Wie West said last year. “And the US Open will certainly be the last.”

The 2000 Amateur Public Links Tournament was Wie West’s first historic attempt in the golf world. She is 10 years old. Two years later, she became the youngest person to qualify for the LPGA Tour event. A year later, she won the Public Link at age 13, becoming the youngest woman or man to win a USGA event. How did she follow that up? By playing in a men’s event (Sony Open 2004 through sponsor waiver), shot 68 and missed only one shot.

Wie West went on to play in a total of six PGA Tour events, and while she turned pro in 2005 – leading to an onslaught of major sponsors and worldwide attention – she She was unable to become an LPGA member until 2009 due to her age. By then, she’d played in six US Women’s Opens and 16 major championships and had seven top 10 finishes to her name.

From 2009 on, Wie West won only 5 times on the LPGA Tour, including the 2014 US Women’s Open at 2nd place Pinehurst, which was the culmination of her long career. That year was the first time women competed in the US Open at a venue where men also competed in the same year.

This year, the importance of the long overdue women’s professional tournament at Pebble Beach represents a fitting end for Wie, who was not only a pioneer in women’s golf but a phenomenon that push the sport to think outside of its set boundaries. Her entrance into not just the women’s, but men’s, world of golf requires more than just audacity, which Wie West said on Tuesday that she hopes is part of her lasting legacy. own, but also a burden that no individual should bear. In many ways, however, Wie West has done it thanks to her larger-than-life entrance into the sport.

That’s why while the results on the field may never match the hype and anticipation that surrounded her in her early years, her influence on the game can still be. palpable. Several players in this year’s tournament broke her record after qualifying or competing in tournaments at an even younger age than her.

Wie West said on Tuesday of her career: “I pride myself on being fearless sometimes and just doing what feels right. “I hope that I also inspire many other girls to make bold and fearless decisions and choices in their careers.”

Although Wie West will be leaving the game — she has made it clear that she likely won’t touch her cane for a while — she says her family is already planning a trip. return to Pebble Beach at some point. Her next round won’t give her the adrenaline she said she’ll miss, but it will remind her of something else she showed after her Friday round. .

“I still enjoy golfing,” she said. “But yeah, it’s going to be weird. It’s definitely a weird feeling. But it feels great.”

However, for now, there are no more batting shots to take, no more interviews. When the sun finally came out and gave Pebble Beach some light, Wie West picked up her daughter, stood beside her husband, and started walking. The rest of her life has officially begun.


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