Michelle V West’s road to a comeback at the US Women’s Open was long, with marriages, motherhood, and squabbles over injuries.
SAN FRANCISCO — Michelle V West’s return to the U.S. Women’s Open was a long journey to marriage, motherhood, and injuries.
The 2014 champions are set to play their first Open in three years at Olympic Club starting Thursday, just a short drive from their new home base in the Bay Area.
“It’s a great feeling to be here,” she said. “I think it’s great to be at my home these two weeks. I’ve never done this in a big tournament before. … Here at the Olympic Club, at another wonderful venue, it’s really fun. Back It’s really amazing to come. It’s an honor.”
Vie West returned from a nearly two-year absence from competitive golf this spring, but failed to make the cut in the three tournaments he has played so far this year. She last made the cut at a Tour event in Thailand in February 2019 and hasn’t even been in a major race since tying for 10th place at the 2018 US Women’s Open in Shoal Creek.
The lack of recent success has made Wie West a long shot this week. Seven-time major winner and two-time US Open champion favors Inby Park, followed by Aria Jutanugarn, Jin Young Ko and Lydia Ko on the lake course, which is particularly challenging with deep rough and short greens.
This is the first time the women are playing the US Open here but the men have held five Opens on this course. Only four players were tied in those tournaments.
“It’s awesome,” said Jessica Korda. “No first cut outs here. The rough is high. The greens are really short. It’s going to be a tough test, but I’m really excited about it because it’s exactly like the US Open, in my mind , as it should always be.”
Deep Rough gives Y West some break after spending most of his time recovering from a protracted wrist injury that required surgery in 2018. She described the course as a “beast”.
“I look at it, and I’m like, ‘Ugh. This is terrible,'” he said of the rough. “I’m doing my best. I have my tools at home, and I do them all. I go through all my PT stuff. I knew that when I signed up to come out and play again, especially at the US Open, I knew it was going to happen. I was not expecting it to come out and there would be no ruff. Does this worry me? Yes. But in the last few days I have hit a lot of rough shots and I am feeling pretty confident about it. As it is, it will always be. I’m definitely playing on borrowed time, and I’m grateful for every second of it. “
V West has been busy during his time away from touring. She married Johnny West, the son of NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West and a Golden State Warriors executive, in 2019, gave birth to their daughter, Makena, last June, and is preparing to become an assistant captain for the Solheim Cup . .
She received a surprise greeting with a virtual introduction from her husband and daughter for practice on Wednesday, which led her to wipe a tear before donning a T-shirt.
Wie West also helped design a tie-dye LPGA hoodie that became a hot memorabilia after Warriors players Kent Bezmore and Damien Lee wore it before it officially launched in April.
Proceeds from those sales go to the Renee Powell Fund, which provides need-based grants to girls’ golf programs, including black communities.
“The best part about this is the large sizes sold first. So we really thought it would be like women’s small, and the women’s support has been great, but surprisingly the large/extra-large sold out first, like Within hours. It’s crazy,” she said. “It’s really, really amazing support, and people are wearing it, tagging me on Instagram. Seeing different types of people wearing it and kids wearing it and people you don’t expect to wear it makes my day. “
Wie West has also spent some time golfing with a star of another sport this spring, playing a few rounds with two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry. Vai West said that seeing a great artist like Curry gives some inspiration to his game.
“He’s such an elite athlete. He’s just in a league of his own. His athleticism, his golf game, you can really tell. What he can do with his hands is unbelievable. It’s incredible to see him this season.” Well, it’s unbelievable. Whatever game he plays, I like what he’s going to do now, what’s the wonderful thing?” He said. “Just looking, I guess I’m hoping that I’m absorbing some greatness.”
More AP Golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports