RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Michelle Wie West’s return to the ANA Inspiration has introduced again a flood of recollections.
It was Thursday morning, 4 holes into Wie West’s return to Mission Hills Country Club, when she practically made a hole-in-one at the par-3 14th gap. All she might take into consideration in that second was Oreos.
“I’m pretty sure I yelled out, lifetime Oreos!” Wie West mentioned about her close to ace on Thursday. “Bolted back to being 13, getting excited about Oreos.”
That’s the place Wie West’s thoughts was in 2003, when the 13-year-old first competed within the ANA Inspiration. This week, 18 years after she made her debut as an novice, she carded a 2-under-par 70.
“I have to say, today was a bit like when I was 13,” Wie West mentioned. “I kind of hit it all over the place and grinded a bit out there. But that feels good. I think that’s kind of how I play. I don’t know if I hit it further when I was 13. I keep looking back on some of the drives I used to hit back then and be like, I can’t believe I used to hit it this far.”
Thursday, the 31-year-old had a youthful exuberance as she gushed with the media about her close to ace and recollections of Oreos. She rolled in putts from lengthy vary and scrambled her strategy to three consecutive birdies in the course of her spherical. It was a totally different Wie West than the one who, at instances in her profession, has been overly technical about her placing arrange or stance. She performed with really feel and the pure capability she displayed in her first journey to Mission Hills, when she completed low novice at T-9 in her first look.
When Wie West made her match debut, the main was sponsored by Kraft Nabisco, who usually offered their merchandise to gamers – together with Oreos. Though Terry Wilcox, the long-time match director who oversaw the championship in 2003, says he can’t recall a lifetime provide of Oreos ever being given away the week of the occasion.
But that’s the thoughts of a teenager, who was wrapped up within the magnitude of the second.
Wie West made the journey from her dwelling in Hawaii to the mainland, 18 years in the past, to compete for the primary time in certainly one of golf’s main championships. It was additionally the primary time she ever ate an Oreo cookie. It was a week that took on a lifetime of its personal within the thoughts of the then 13-year-old – and nonetheless resonates practically 20 years later.
“Looking back, I was a kid. I still feel like a kid,” mentioned Wie, who gave delivery to a daughter in 2020. “Having a baby definitely puts a different perspective on everything. I’m more excited to go home and see her than I was about my round, to be honest.”
It was her daughter, Mackenna, who impressed Wie West’s return to the LPGA Tour at final week’s Kia Classic. Otherwise, she would have doubtless referred to as it quits. Wie West had final competed at the 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship the place she withdrew with a wrist damage, certainly one of many who plagued her all through her profession. But Mackenna impressed her mom to return with a new objective: to point out her daughter that mother can compete, and win, towards the perfect gamers on the earth.
“This place is, as you all know, really a special place to me,” Wie West mentioned. “To be back here, especially with a baby here as well, it’s a really special place.”
Wie West’s strong begin has opened the door for her to recapture the promise she held practically 20 years in the past, when she made her first journey to Mission Hills. Back to a easier time, when she was extra excited in post-round interviews to speak about her earrings than her golf recreation. A time earlier than all of the sicknesses and accidents sidelined her from the sport she beloved. A time when a lifetime provide of Oreos appeared like a dream.