Michelle Wie West has applied to play in the 75th U.S. Women’s Open. She posted on Instagram the custom-made shiny belt buckle the USGA sent as an entry gift, keeping with the Houston theme.
Longtime instructor David Leadbetter said he encouraged the 2014 champ to sign up so that she’d have a goal to practice toward. He figures there’s a 50 percent chance she plays.
Wie West’s parents are coming in from Hawaii in a couple weeks, freeing up more time for the new mom to practice. The U.S. Women’s Open will be held at Champions Golf Club Dec. 10-13, the penultimate event on the LPGA’s 2020 schedule.
“I just don’t know what Covid is going to look like,” Wie told Golfweek by phone. “I just don’t know if I feel comfortable traveling with her yet. In my mind I always thought by December it’s going to be safe to travel with her, but now … I’m not quite sure.”
A snapshot from Wie’s Instagram story.
Wie gave birth to Makenna Kamalei Yoona West on June 19 and was on the range hitting balls 10 days later. But don’t let that fool you. Golf hasn’t been much of a priority of late.
“No one tells you about the fourth trimester,” said Wie West. “It’s so hard. The nurses are doing everything for you and all of a sudden it’s like goodbye. What do you mean goodbye? It’s terrifying coming home.”
There was a phase, she said, when the longest stretch of sleep she got was 40 minutes. She’s grateful that Kenna has moved into the 12-hour sleep phase.
Wie West’s in-laws helped out for six weeks, and then her parents did the same. Since then the couple has been on their own, without a nanny.
It was a blessing in disguise, she said, that the Warriors had one of their worst seasons so that her husband could stay at home in their Bay Area bubble rather than the NBA’s bubble in Florida.
There are times when she sneaks away to play nine holes but spends most of the time looking at her phone, counting down the holes until she can return to Kenna.
That being said, a full return to competition remains the plan. In the meantime, she has kept her plate full since stepping away from the tour, from television broadcast work to new endeavors in the business world. Wie recently joined Steph Curry as an investor, partner and global face of Oxigen, a pH balanced water with electrolytes and boosted with oxygen.
Former tennis player Mardy Fish, a fellow Oxigen investor, plays golf with Jonnie and was one of several friends who introduced Wie to the product. Wie West said she had previously considered a hydration startup of her own with a friend from Stanford, but never had the time needed to see it through.
Staying hydrated has long been a personal issue she noted, pointing back to the time she got carted off on a stretcher at the John Deere Classic. Now, as a time-crunched mom, what she puts in her body and how she recovers has never been more important.
“I just don’t have a lot of free time,” said Wie West as she juggled calls around Kenna’s nap schedule. “If I wash my face once every day it’s a win.”
Wie West said she looks up to Curry as a role model for what he does off the court. As she branches out into different areas of interest while on maternity leave, Wie West said her mindset remains on training for her LPGA comeback. After the smoke cleared in San Francisco and she headed back out to the range, she sent Leadbetter a video of her swing.
“I said you better have a few more babies,” joked Leadbetter, “geez that looks really good.”
Leadbetter said they’ve worked to change the position of her hands on the club to minimize wrist cock and have switched to thicker grips. Wie West said she’s never been more aware of the health of her wrists than she is now, because it’s not just about being able to hit a golf ball – it’s about being able to lift and carry Kenna, too.
Wie West last competed on the LPGA June 2019 at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, taking a break first because of her wrists and then to have a baby. It would be strange, Leadbetter said, to make a return to golf for the first time in 18 months at a major, but he wouldn’t put it past her.