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Michelle Wie West returns to US Open for 1st time since 2018


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Michelle Wie West’s highway again to the U.S. Women’s Open was an extended one with detours for marriage, motherhood and accidents.

The 2014 champion is ready to play her first Open in three years beginning Thursday on the Olympic Club, only a quick drive from her new dwelling base within the Bay Area.

“It’s a really cool feeling being here,” she mentioned. “I guess just staying at my house these two weeks is pretty nice. I’ve never had that happen before at a major tournament. … Being here at Olympic Club, at another amazing venue, it’s really fun. It’s really amazing to be back. It’s an honor.”

Wie West returned from an almost two-year absence from aggressive golf this spring however failed to make the minimize within the three tournaments she has performed thus far this yr. She final made a minimize in February 2019 at a tour occasion in Thailand and hasn’t even been within the working at a serious since tying for tenth place on the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open at Shoal Creek.

That lack of current success has made Wie West an extended shot this week. Seven-time main winner and two-time U.S. Open champion Inbee Park is favored, adopted by Ariya Jutanugarn, Jin Young Ko and Lydia Ko on the Lake Course that figures to be particularly difficult with deep tough and small greens.

This is the primary time the ladies are taking part in the U.S. Open right here however the males have held 5 Opens on this course. Only 4 gamers completed beneath par in these tournaments.

“It’s pretty spectacular,” Jessica Korda mentioned. “There’s no first cut out here. The rough is high. Greens are really small. It’s going to be a difficult test, but I’m really excited about it because this is exactly what a U.S. Open, in my head, always is supposed to look like.”

The deep tough does give Wie West some pause after spending a lot of her time away recovering from a lingering wrist harm that required surgical procedure in 2018. She described the course as a “beast.”

“I look at it, and I’m like, ‘Ugh. It’s terrifying,’” she mentioned of the tough. “I’m doing the best I can. I have my devices at home, and I do all of them. I go through all my PT stuff. I knew when I signed up to come out and play again, especially at the U.S. Open, I knew that it was going to happen. I wasn’t expecting to come out and there to be no rough. Does it worry me? Yes. But the last couple of days I hit a lot of shots out of the rough, and I’m feeling pretty confident about it. It will always be what it is. I’m playing definitely on borrowed time, and I’m grateful for every second of it.”

Wie West has been busy throughout her time away from the tour. She acquired married in 2019 to Jonnie West, the son of NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West and an govt with the Golden State Warriors, gave start to her daughter, Makenna, final June, and is making ready to be an assistant captain for the Solheim Cup.

She acquired a shock greeting for her observe spherical Wednesday with a virtual introduction from her husband and daughter, which led to her wiping away a tear earlier than teeing off.

Wie West additionally helped design a tie-dyed LPGA hoodie that has shortly turn into a scorching memorabilia merchandise after Warriors gamers Kent Bazemore and Damion Lee wore it even earlier than it formally launched in April.

The proceeds from these gross sales go to the Renee Powell Fund, which offers need-based grants to ladies golf applications, together with these in Black communities.

“The coolest part about this is the large sizes sold out first. So we really thought it was going to be the smalls, like the ladies, and the support from the ladies has been great, but surprisingly the large/extra large sold out first, like within hours. It’s crazy,” she mentioned. “It’s been really, really amazing the support, and people wearing it, tagging me on Instagram. It just makes my day seeing the different types of people wearing it and kids wearing it and people that you don’t expect to wear it.”

Wie West has additionally spent some time {golfing} with a star from one other sport, taking part in some rounds this spring with two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry. Wie West mentioned watching an ideal performer like Curry offers some inspiration for her sport.

“He is such an elite athlete. He’s just in a league of his own. His athleticism, his golf game, you could just really tell. What he can do with his hands is just unbelievable. Watching him this season has been so incredible to watch, it’s unbelievable. Every game he plays, I’m like what is he going to do now, what amazing thing?” she mentioned. “Just watching, I feel like I’m hopefully absorbing some of the greatness.”

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