Michelle Wie West has moved into a new place with a new nanny, a new puppy, and the desire to play freely. The one-time prodigy’s life has been a frenzy of changes in recent years, and she enters this week’s Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions as a surprise entry.
To begin with, Wie West, 32, hasn’t won an LPGA tournament since 2018. The TOC normally invites winners from the previous two seasons, since Wie West was unable to attend last year due to maternity leave. Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the 2020 season was cut short, thus champions from the previous three seasons were invited to the event in 2021.
“I texted Marina (Alex) before I committed, ‘Hey, what’s up with this event?'” Wie West explained. Is it genuinely something I want to be a part of? ‘Is there something I should do?’
Alex gushed about the celebrity component of the competition, saying it’s a fantastic way to celebrate a win. Wie West just teed it up with Mardy Fish, a former tennis player who won the celebrity portion of the TOC last year, and said he’s the finest celebrity she’s ever played with. In 2019 and 2020, John Smoltz was the most popular celebrity.
The tournament will be held at Lake Nona Golf and Country Club this year, and it will include a field of 29 players, including previous year’s winner Jessica Korda and her sister, World No. 1 Nelly Korda. LPGA participants will compete for a purse of $1.5 million, plus a $225,000 winner’s share. The 50 celebrities compete for a prize pool of $500,000 in a modified stableford style.
Wie West and her husband Jonnie West, the son of NBA icon Jerry West and a Golden State Warriors executive, recently relocated from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
“I guess we came down south for warmer weather,” Wie West stated during a pre-tournament press conference. But, yes, it’s been a significant shift.”
Wie West, who joined with Excel Sports Management at the start of 2022, said she hasn’t yet established roots in terms of a membership near her new house, but she does have access to the Hillcrest range. She’s seeking to get a membership at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana, California, which was designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and renovated for $10 million in 2017. Rees Jones was the driving force for the restoration of his father’s work.
In terms of time spent working on her game, Wie West stated her daughter Makenna has reached an age where she runs around so much that she no longer takes her to the range. The new babysitter has been a “game changer” in this regard, allowing Wie West to practice for two to two and a half hours each day.
“I’m not at the point in my life where I can go beat up on balls for four hours,” she explained. “So, yeah, constantly keeping my body in mind, as well as my wrist and neck.”
In terms of the new puppy, the Wests got another sheep dog named Daisy after Gatsby.
Life is busy for the businesswoman, wife, mother, and competitor who wants to be a good role model for Makenna above everything else. Last year, after returning from maternity leave, the Stanford grad raced in six events, making the cut in two of them. The KPMG Women’s PGA in June was her last competitive round on the LPGA. Wie West said she hasn’t made up her mind regarding her schedule for this year.
“Before she came around, golf was my top focus,” she explained. “I ate, slept, and breathed golf.” It’s now her turn. It’s because of her that I’m playing at all.”
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