Michelle Wee West is officially ready for the next ‘phase’ of her life

Southern Pines, North Carolina – Michelle We West I woke up Friday morning and decided to solve the puzzle. On the day that would finally see the last LPGA Tour of the year, Wie West grabbed her phone and gave Wordle a shot for the first time. On her second guess, she nailed the word of the day, which she probably felt was chosen especially for her: stage.

“[Friday] She started on a very high note, with a gradual decline after that,” she said with a chuckle after the second round 74 prevented her from making the cut, effectively ending her 2022 season. It’s been a wonderful week, definitely a bittersweet week. Regardless, [missing the cut] Bad, but overall, I had a very positive experience.”

Last week, Wie West announced that she will be stepping away from the game after this year’s US Women’s Open and will only leave next year’s tournament in Pebble Beach on her schedule. This week, she made sure to say she has never regretted her career and reiterate how excited she is for her future endeavors as a mom, businessman, and ambassador for the women’s game.

“I’m excited to be away,” she said. “I’ll probably be letting the clubs gather some dust on them for a while now. There are a lot of projects I’m working on that I haven’t had time to do before, so I’m just going to dive into those.”

Being away almost always seems to be a struggle for top athletes, especially those who have attracted attention like Wie West since she became a professional at the age of 16. ready to move in. And while melancholy was definitely part of the mix of emotions—she said she was torn as she walked the 18th lane—it’s also clear that Wie West is not only at peace with her decision, but enjoys her ride into the sunset.

Throughout the tour, Wei stayed close to fellow competitor Brittany Lange, 36, discussing a number of things, such as how their children of the same age would perform and what kind of locks they needed to put on their doors so they wouldn’t reach them as they grow. Lang said she’s been paired with Wie West often over the years. She said she noticed a clear evolution of Wie West’s approach from hole to hole, from shot to shot.

It’s day and night. It’s playing fast and free now,” Lang told ESPN after the tour. “You can tell a huge difference. I wouldn’t say I’m not interested, but I just felt kinda more comfortable…she’s definitely ready to go.”

There are still moments when Wie West shows flashes of her former self. In a cruel twist, her best moments on the tour were also her worst. Having approached the 5th shot, it fell into the green bunker down the hole, Wie West failed to get the ball out of the sand not once, but twice. Shaking her head and laughing to herself, she came out of the cellar and proceeded to enter into a ghost. No matter how quickly frustration appeared, it gave way to joy.

“The third time is magic!” The can told her.

Embody the round moment. Wie West struggled, but was never angry with herself. She missed the shots, but any disappointment resulted only in a slight shaking of the head, a light slap on her racket, a slap of her lips. The happy-go-lucky approach has always come back, and the conversation with Lange in the lanes always takes a back seat. The next slot always became a blank page.

“I definitely think there have been times when I’ve been very intense in my golf career, but I quickly learned it was still a game,” Wee West said. “Even though it’s your job, golf is still a game. It’s a great game, and it’s time to be there if you’re not having fun. So I decided I would enjoy golf, and I definitely enjoyed it.” [on Friday]. “

Coupled with her sophisticated style of game, Wie West was quick to denounce herself for her current physical and emotional state. She was in very bad shape, she said, adding that her legs were sore and that she didn’t trust her eyes on the greens on Friday. Even when she was teasing what didn’t work for her throughout the tour, she chased everything down with a dose of perspective.

“I played really well with that in mind,” she said. “Just an unfortunate and stupid ghost here and there, but that comes with not playing much. I just rusted a bit more [Friday] what did you do [Thursday]. But overall, I’m very proud of the way I play.”

If this is the end of Wie West, at times it has felt quiet. During the first part of her tour, there were no cameras tracking her. The Morning Wave featured group instead focused on a 23-year-old phenomenon Nelly Korda. Fans cheered West West, but the crowds were scattered. However, Wie West seemed to enjoy the pace with which everything was going. In the thirteenth tee box, backed up, I sat on the ledge overlooking the hole, and opened a can of chili nuts. Later, I went and sat on a chair near Green Zone 15 and spoke to one of the volunteers. At some point, she even forgot it was her turn to launch.

The competitive fire that Wie West showed earlier in her career may be subdued, but she’s not completely asleep. She said she’s excited about Pebble Beach next year, but added that it’s still too far away so she’s not thinking about it.

“The US Open was always the last one I played,” Wee West said. “Public Links was the first tournament I played on the mainland, and the US Open was definitely going to be the last.”

When asked earlier this week where she feels she will be able to channel her competitive spirit moving forward, Wie West said that going live is the closest she feels to playing golf. However, this falls short.

“It’s something you won’t be able to recreate, and that’s the hardest part to get away from,” she said. “There is nothing else that would recreate that feeling.”

I stopped.

“But I’ve also done it for a very long time,” she said.

Even if there’s another tournament on the agenda, another final round, and another final interview, Friday, there’s no doubt about it: Wie West is entering a new phase.