At the conclusion of the 2023 U.S. Women's Open this coming weekend at Pebble Beach, Florida, professional golfer Michelle Wie West's career will end with her retirement, she has announced.
Wie West, 33, a native of Hawaii, started playing golf when she was 4. When she was 10, she qualified for the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship, although that mark was passed eight years later by fellow Hawaii native Allisen Corpuz. She was a young star similar to Tiger Woods and, for today's landscape, Rose Zhang.
She joined the LPGA Tour in 2009 when she was just 20 years old after becoming a professional golfer a few years earlier, on Oct. 5, 2005, just a week before her 16th birthday. In the wake of that announcement, Wie West signed a sponsorship deal with Nike and Sony for about $10 million per year. She attended Stanford University college but was ineligible for the golf team.
Throughout her career, Wie West has five victories, including one major. These events include:
- Lorena Ochoa Invitational (2009)
- CN Canadian Women's Open (2010)
- LPGA Lotte Championship (2014)
- U.S. Women's Open (2014)
- HSBC Women's World Championship (2018)
In her first season with an LPGA membership, she had a hole in one during the third round of the McDonald's LPGA Championship. She also hit a 64 in the final round of the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic.
In addition to her five victories, she's also notched 49 top 10 finishes; and, according to the LPGA, she's earned $6,825,282. Her net worth is reported to be anywhere around $20 million, but that number isn't confirmed.
Before taking the 2020 season off for paternity leave, Wie West married husband Jonnie West, who NBA fans might recognize. He'll be caddying for Wie West at her final tournament, too.
Michelle Wie West is Married to Jerry West's Son, Jonnie West
Michelle Wie added West's last name to hers in 2019 when they tied the knot in a private home ceremony in Beverly Hills, California, attended by sports stars such as basketball player Stephen Curry, fellow golfers Danielle Kang and Jessica Korda, and tennis star Eugenie Bouchard.
The last name "West" might not immediately signal anything for many, but Jonnie West is the director of basketball operations for the NBA's Golden State Warriors, which explains why Curry was at the wedding. He's held that position since 2018. He attended West Virginia University, where he played basketball and earned an MBA in business administration.
Jonnie West is also the son of NBA legend Jerry West, who spent time as a player, coach and executive (general manager) for the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies. Jerry is famously referred to as "The Logo" because the NBA's logo is his outline.
How Family Life Changed the Course of Her Career
This is Makenna Kamalei Yoona West in a photo with her parents.
— Chris La Puma? (@ChrisLaPuma) February 20, 2021
Together, the couple have a daughter named Makenna Kamalei Yoona West. After the girl's birth, Wie West initially pushed to return to golf.
"I just want that experience of her, of Makenna watching me play and hopefully watching me come down the stretch and win a golf tournament," Wie West said last summer. "That would just mean everything to me because I want her to grow up and be a strong woman and everything that I value, and hopefully whatever she values."
The couple and their daughter reside in San Francisco, California.
Since returning to the golf course, Wie West played in six tournaments in 2021 and twice in 2022. She also appeared in the U.S. Women's Open last year but missed the cut.
She could not play more due to injuries, as she told the "No Off-Season" podcast in August 2022, according to Max Schreiber of the Golf Channel. Wie West has arthritis in both wrists and also had surgery on her right hand in October 2018.
The Women's Golf U.S. Open, which starts Thursday, will mark the end for just one of six women in history to compete in a PGA Tour event. She told ESPN's Paolo Uggetti that she felt now was the right time to call it quits, because of her body and family.
"I really, really wanted to play longer. I really wanted to — especially after having Makenna and her being a girl, I really wanted to play longer. In an ideal world I wish I was still out on tour and playing. Unfortunately it's just I had to make a hard decision with my body," she said. "It is hard. It is hard to be a mom out here. You have to make a lot of sacrifices. I just had to make a hard medical decision and also a personal decision."
Hats off to a terrific career for Michelle Wie West, and we wish her the best as a mom.
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