Michelle Wie shot 84-82 to miss the cut by a mile at the 2019 KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Hazeltine National in Minnesota.
From nearly the instant she stepped on the golf course on Thursday, Wie was icing her injured right hand and wrist, trying to mitigate and work through the pain in between shots. Unfortunately, with a two-way miss off the tee, Wie had to expose her wrist to gnarly rough at the former Ryder Cup host site. There were good shots and plenty of crowd encouragement, but Wie couldn't overcome a lack of preparation -- forced by her injury to hit but a few dozen balls days before the championship.
“It was kind of a little foolish to think that I would shoot really well, just hitting golf balls last week,” Wie said.
Despite that, Wie was grateful for the opportunity to get inside the ropes again.
“It’s a tough golf course, but I’m really, really happy that I played," she added. "Just feeling a lot of joy, just being out there, and, you know, competing again. It’s going to take time, and I’ve just got to be patient, and, thankfully, I have all afternoon to get warm again and take care of my wrist.”
Then it seemed to dawn on Wie why she may have come back too soon to the LPGA, particularly a major championship.
“It’s hard,” she said, crying. “It’s just one of those situations where I’m not, you know, I’m not entirely sure how much more I have left in me, so even on the bad days, I’m just, like, trying to take time to enjoy it. But it’s tough.”
It wasn't clear if Wie would even show up to play Friday, but she did. She had to decide on the range if she wanted to try one more time. She gutted it out, and she shot 82.
“Hitting balls on the range didn't feel great, but I wanted to finish,” Wie said. “I came here to play, so I'm glad these two rounds are over. They were very long.”
The emotion was different after the second round: an honest assessment mixed with optimism.
“Not great,” Wie said of her hand. “But at the same time, even on the worst day, it's still great being out here. I still had fun today, just stuff is hard. Hazeltine is hard.”
Michelle Wie had hand surgery last October in an effort to repair an avulsion fracture, bone spurs and nerve entrapment in her right wrist and hand. She returned in February for the LPGA's first Asian swing of the year. She played in the Honda LPGA Thailand, then withdrew 14 holes into her title defense at the HSBC Women's World Championship. She played at the ANA Inspiration, where she missed the cut. Then she played the Lotte Championship in her native Hawaii, looking worse physically and shooting a pair of 77s to miss the cut. She then revealed she would take off an undetermined amount of time to let her wrist and body heal. That amounted to two months.
Wie has faced chronic health problems in her 29-plus years: neck, back, hip, knee and ankle problems. She's dealt with arthritis, and she's changed her swing multiple times to account for all of these problems.
Meanwhile, her personal life is thriving. In March, Michelle Wie got engaged to Jonnie West, the director of basketball operations for the NBA's Golden State Warriors and son of the legendary Jerry West.
Wie has been in the public spotlight for more than half her life. She competed against men in PGA Tour events as a teen and has some success. She balanced playing on the LPGA with getting a college degree at Stanford. She's made millions on and off the course, including winning the 2014 US Women's Open, a handful of LPGA wins and being a star on the Solehim Cup stage. Despite a lifetime of potential-stunting injuries, Wie has enjoyed a tremendous impact on golf.
So, what's next? Is Wie going to retire? Will the 29-year-old take an extended break in hopes of fully healing? Wie herself doesn't know, but it's clear she needs to be willing to listen when her body is telling her 'no.'
“I'm still going to be optimistic about everything,” Wie said. “But definitely try to listen to my body, as I don't do a great job of that. So, going to go back and try to figure out what's going to happen.”