SAN DIEGO (AP) — New mom Michelle Wie West is trying forward to being nervous again on the golf course.
It’s been practically two years since she performed a aggressive spherical on the LPGA Tour and 9 months since she gave start to daughter Makenna.
She figured the start of the West Coast swing was the proper place to return, notably as a result of she now lives in San Francisco with husband Jonnie West, the director of basketball operations for the Golden State Warriors, and their daughter.
Wie has been away lengthy sufficient that when she arrived this week for the Kia Classic at Aviara in Carlsbad, she didn’t acknowledge various her fellow tour execs, partially as a result of there are numerous rookies and in addition as a result of it’s tougher as a result of everyone seems to be carrying a masks.
But taking part in within the pro-am introduced again a well-known feeling.
“I’m definitely nervous but also grateful to feel nervous again,” Wie West mentioned in a videoconference Wednesday from the course in northern San Diego County.
Wie West mentioned she’s been training in earnest for her return because the first of the 12 months. She mentioned it’s laborious to inform the place her sport is as a result of she’s been away so lengthy. “But I’m pretty proud of myself for grinding it out there. I’ve been grinding. Like I said, I’m just grateful I’m out here. I’m enjoying myself and having a lot of fun.”
She tees off Thursday afternoon within the first spherical of the match being performed with out followers.
“You know, it’s fun hitting balls on the range, fun to kind of mess around, hit a couple chips, but there is nothing like hitting golf shots that matter and you kind of feel those first-tee jitters,” she mentioned. “You feel all the nerves coming out. I’ve missed that. I’m really most excited about getting my competitive juices going again and being that fierce competitor that I know I am.”
Wie West has in all probability been essentially the most talked about LPGA Tour participant since she turned professional in 2005, despite the fact that she solely has 5 wins.
Wie has lived with fame her complete profession, from profitable the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links at age 13, competing in opposition to the boys on the PGA Tour at age 14 and turning professional at age 16. She has 5 LPGA victories, most notably the U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2014. Her final win was the HSBC Women’s World Championship at first of the 2018 season.
Her profession has been slowed by accidents, most lately to her proper hand. She had surgical procedure in October 2018, returned in Thailand the next February and had to withdraw from her title protection in Singapore every week later as she nonetheless coped with ache.
She final performed within the Women’s PGA Championship at Hazeltine in June 2019, capturing 84-82.
She married West, the son of basketball nice Jerry West, in August 2019. Their daughter was born June 19.
Two years in the past, she thought she was prepared to get on with the remainder of her life.
“After KPMG in 2019 I thought I was done, especially when I found out I was pregnant later that year,” she mentioned. “I thought that cemented it. I thought there was no chance of coming back, and I told my husband that. He was like, ‘No, no, just think it through.’
“Then we found out that Makenna was going to be a girl and that just changed my perspective of everything,” she added. “It was crazy how just that one little fact just changes everything. Then I started to think, ‘You know, I kind of want to do it. I want to show her in real time that I can — that I play golf.’ It’s one thing to have her watch YouTube videos, but it’s another thing to have her watch me with her own eyes. Seeing me go out there, it work out hard, and try to lead by example.”
She additionally mentioned she was motivated watching Tiger Woods play together with his son, Charlie, within the PNC Championship in December.
“That moment that Tiger had with Charlie, that is the first thing that popped to my mind and that’s been a huge motivation and that’s been a new dream of mine,” Wie West mentioned.
She mentioned her daughter “really likes to crawl on the green and pick the ball out of the hole. She loves golf balls, so I’m hoping that’s a positive sign.”
Wie West mentioned her dad and mom flew over from Hawaii to assist her look after her daughter. “We’re doing grandma daycare this week,” she mentioned.
AP Golf Writer Doug Ferguson contributed.