Michelle Wie West started her golf career with a bang, and she ended with one as well. The 33-year-old sank a 31-foot putt on the 18th hole of the 2023 U.S. Women’s Open on Friday night. Given Wie West announced before the tournament that she would be retiring at its conclusion, her putt also served as the final shot of her professional career.
Sitting 14-over through the first two rounds wasn’t enough for Wie West to make the cut at Pebble Beach, but this highlight is a fitting consolation prize for the Hawaiian and her fans.
Wie West is stepping away from golf after winning five LPGA events, including the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open, over her 14 years on the tour.
She initially burst onto the season at age 10 as the youngest player to ever qualify for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship; two years later, Wie West became the youngest two qualify for an LPGA event. The next year, at age 13, she became the youngest to make an LPGA cut while tying the amateur record for a women’s major championship with a 66 in the third round.
Wie West went on to become the youngest person to win the U.S. Amateur that year and the youngest player to make the cut at the U.S. Women’s Open. At age 14, she was the fourth (and youngest) woman to play a PGA Tour event by receiving a sponsor’s exemption to the 2004 Sony Open in Hawaii. Wie West played multiple men’s events before turning pro a week before her 16th birthday.
She explained that her decision to retire stemmed from the physical effects of motherhood. Wie West gave birth to her daughter, Makenna, in June 2020.
“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,” Wie West told ESPN. “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. 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.”
Despite her retirement, Wie West has taken a never-say-never attitude about eventually returning to the game, perhaps hoping her physical condition will improve in the coming years.
A phenom since the beginning of her career, Wie West broke numerous barriers and will be remembered as one of the most popular and notable female golfers.