Wie says imminent retirement is ‘bittersweet’

Wie says imminent retirement is ‘bittersweet’

Jun 24, 2021; John’s Creek, Georgia, USA; Michelle Wie West plays her shot from the 18th tee during the first round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship golf tournament at the Atlanta Athletic Club. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

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SOUTHERN PINES, N.C., May 31 (Reuters) – Having a U.S. Women’s Open title to her name will allow Michelle Wie to retire with a sense of mission accomplished, the former child prodigy said on Tuesday as she prepared for this week’s $10 million championship at Pine Needles.

Wie, 32, recently announced that her full-time playing days are over, with nothing in her future plans between this week’s Women’s Open in North Carolina and next year’s event at Pebble Beach in California.

« It was kind of bittersweet to announce that, but it’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a while, » she said of her decision.

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Wie won the Women’s Open at nearby Pinehurst No. 2 in 2014, the biggest of her five LPGA Tour victories in a career that never quite reached the heights many expected.

She captivated the golf world by coming within one shot of making the cut against the game’s elite men as a 14-year-old prodigy at the PGA Tour’s Sony Open in Hawaii in 2004.

A golden future seemed assured for a girl whose swing Sports Illustrated described as « the perfect illustration of Newtonian physics. »

However, a myriad of injuries too long to list and perhaps a lack of killer instinct subsequently kept Wie from dominating the LPGA Tour in the manner fellow childhood phenom Tiger Woods ruled the men’s circuit.

« If I hadn’t won the 2014 U.S. Open I definitely wouldn’t retire, and I would still be out here playing and chasing that win, » Wie said. « That win means everything to me. »

Though Wie was not a prolific winner, she remains the biggest name in the women’s game, as evidenced by her picture plastered on a billboard beside the main highway into town.

Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam says it would be harsh to call Wie an underachiever.

« I played with her quite a few times when she was 13, 14, maybe 15 (years old), » said the 72-times LPGA Tour winner.

« I remember her swing was really very powerful, especially

her wedge game. She put a lot of spin on the ball, and being (tall), I was, like, wow, this girl has got it.

« She still had a great career in many ways. Maybe other people thought she would do more, but it’s hard to win out here. »

For her part, Wie said she had « zero regrets » at how her career panned out but almost in the same breath wistfully acknowledged what might have been.

« There’s always that inkling of wishing I had done more but I feel like no matter what, no-one is ever going to be 100% satisfied.

« I have definitely had an up-and-down career, but I’m

extremely proud for the resiliency that I’ve shown. »

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Reporting by Andrew Both
Editing by Toby Davis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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