Ep. 33: Michelle Wie West Concludes Her Pro Golf Career, But Won’t Use the “R” Word

August 18, 2023

Michelle Wie West arrived for what she said was her last pro golf event this summer in early July to play the U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach.

And while Wie West didn’t make the cut—nor did golf superstars Lexi Thompson, J.Y. Ko, or Annika Sörenstam—she did leave Pebble Beach feeling great about the long professional career she began when she was only 15 years old.

But Wie West said she isn’t opposed to the general idea of some competitive golf down the road. She wouldn’t officially call herself “retired.”

“There’s a reason that I hesitated to use the R-word. It sounded like such a harsh word, so the “little R” to me felt like a transition that would be so much smoother,” Wie West said during our Zoom interview in mid-July.

Listen to Episode 33: Michelle Wie West here

This year, amidst playing her last round of LPGA events, Wie West has been plenty busy, mentoring junior golfers, hosting her own set of golf events and being a parent to her small child.

For now, it’s about making choices. “For me, it means I won’t play a full schedule or tee off in another major.” But golf is not something you truly ever give up.

“When you play golf, you do play golf for the rest of your life,” Wie West said, pointing out that “it’s such a fun game.”

But outside her ongoing roles as a parent and essential member of the golfing community. Michelle Wie West has taken up a new role as an investor in a new spirits brand.

Earlier this year, she and her husband signed on as the newest athlete-celebrity partner with Casa Azul, a brand founded by Lance Collins, the marketing and branding whiz behind Fuze, CORE Hydration, and BODYARMOR.

The 33-year-old Hawaii-born golfer and Stanford grad also joins NFL star and two-time Super Bowl winner Travis Kelce and Mexican TV star Eiza González.

Chonburi, Thailand – FEB 23:Michelle Wie of USA in action during Honda LPGA Thailand 2014 at Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Course on February 23, 2014 in Chonburi, Thailand.

The tequila-based fizzy drink in a can might sound like just the latest addition to the very crowded sector that also includes White Claw, Wie West says that there is a golf tie-in and big social aspect to what she’s doing.

Social drinking, she said, “is a fun thing to do,” Wie West said, “when you’re out there, driving a golf cart around, when you have a cold can of a beverage, the music playing, and you’re out there with your friends, having a good time.”

During Episode 33 of Andy Frye’s Sports Podcast Michelle Wie West also discusses her career, growing up in golf, her biggest wins, and what it was like to swing clubs with Adam Sandler.

Read more in my recent Forbes.com interview with Tony Hawk here.

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