Michelle Wie West named assistant captain for 2021


Michelle Wie West didn’t sit around waiting for a call. When she heard that Pat Hurst was going to be the 2021 Solheim Cup captain, Wie West texted her “Pod Mom” saying that she’d love to be an assistant captain.

Hurst didn’t give the nod right away, but Wie West got her wish.

“All the players love her,” said Hurst. “They respect her, and that’s what I need.”

It doesn’t seem all that long ago that Wie West was a mystery to most. When she competed on her first Solheim Cup team in 2009, it marked the first time players got to know the former phenom away from an entourage. They discovered that the “kid” could hang. And her passion shone through in a rousing 3-0-1 Cup debut.

Juli Inkster was so impressed that she predicted a Wie West victory on the LPGA before the year was out. Wie West proved her correct in November at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.

“I won my first LPGA tournament after I played in the Solheim,” said Wie West on a media conference call, “and I don’t know if I hadn’t had that experience if that was going to happen that year.”

Wie West, 30, gave birth to daughter Makenna on June 19 and has posted several pictures with her on the range in recent weeks. The five-time LPGA winner confirmed that she still wants to continue playing on the LPGA, even in 2020 if possible, but her return mostly comes down to safety.

“It just depends really on the state of the world more than the state of my game at this point, unfortunately,” she said.

A silver lining to the pandemic break is that husband Jonnie West, an executive with the Golden State Warriors, will be mostly be her side through the end of the year.

“One positive thing that happened, there was a scenario where if (the Warriors) went to Orlando in the bubble and I was home by myself,” said Wie West, “I was quarantined, my parents couldn’t come, I could have been a single mother for a couple months all by myself, and that was a scary thought.”

Her parents, Bo and B.J., are in town now and Wie West took full advantage, recently playing 18 holes for the first time in a long time.

“I had to pump after nine holes,” she said, laughing.

Practice time on the range looks a bit different too these days. Wie West said she hits two balls and then goes over to check on McKenna before returning to hit two more.

The dream of hoisting hoisting a trophy on the 18th along with Makenna fuels Wie West to keep competing. She wants what Tiger Woods enjoyed at Augusta National last year.

That being said, she’s now more impressed than ever by what LPGA moms who have come before her have accomplished, notably Suzann Pettersen at last year’s Solheim Cup in Scotland and Catriona Matthew winning the Women’s British Open 11 weeks after giving birth to her second daughter. Wie West marveled at the idea, noting that she’s barely hitting driver 220 yards now.

For two Solheim Cups, Wie West was in Hurst’s player pod and greatly benefited from her nurturing approach. Wie West hopes that she can help other players feel comfortable too, given that she’s likely experienced every emotion there is in her five Solheim Cup appearances.

Wie West joins Angela Stanford as an assistant on Hurst’s squad. The 2021 Solheim Cup will be contested Sept. 4-6 at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. Next week the LPGA restarts its season at Inverness at the new Drive On Championship where prominent Americans Nelly Korda, Danielle Kang, Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda and Stanford are among those in the field. Hurst won’t be onsite for the competition, however, as it’s closed to spectators.



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