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Wie says imminent retirement is ‘bittersweet’

Wie says imminent retirement is ‘bittersweet’

Jun 24, 2021; John’s Creek, Georgia, USA; Michelle Wie West plays her shot from the 18th tee during the first round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship golf tournament at the Atlanta Athletic Club. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

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SOUTHERN PINES, N.C., May 31 (Reuters) – Having a U.S. Women’s Open title to her name will allow Michelle Wie to retire with a sense of mission accomplished, the former child prodigy said on Tuesday as she prepared for this week’s $10 million championship at Pine Needles.

Wie, 32, recently announced that her full-time playing days are over, with nothing in her future plans between this week’s Women’s Open in North Carolina and next year’s event at Pebble Beach in California.

“It was kind of bittersweet to announce that, but it’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a while,” she said of her decision.

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Wie won the Women’s Open at nearby Pinehurst No. 2 in 2014, the biggest of her five LPGA Tour victories in a career that never quite reached the heights many expected.

She captivated the golf world by coming within one shot of making the cut against the game’s elite men as a 14-year-old prodigy at the PGA Tour’s Sony Open in Hawaii in 2004.

A golden future seemed assured for a girl whose swing Sports Illustrated described as “the perfect illustration of Newtonian physics.”

However, a myriad of injuries too long to list and perhaps a lack of killer instinct subsequently kept Wie from dominating the LPGA Tour in the manner fellow childhood phenom Tiger Woods ruled the men’s circuit.

“If I hadn’t won the 2014 U.S. Open I definitely wouldn’t retire, and I would still be out here playing and chasing that win,” Wie said. “That win means everything to me.”

Though Wie was not a prolific winner, she remains the biggest name in the women’s game, as evidenced by her picture plastered on a billboard beside the main highway into town.

Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam says it would be harsh to call Wie an underachiever.

“I played with her quite a few times when she was 13, 14, maybe 15 (years old),” said the 72-times LPGA Tour winner.

“I remember her swing was really very powerful, especially

her wedge game. She put a lot of spin on the ball, and being (tall), I was, like, wow, this girl has got it.

“She still had a great career in many ways. Maybe other people thought she would do more, but it’s hard to win out here.”

For her part, Wie said she had “zero regrets” at how her career panned out but almost in the same breath wistfully acknowledged what might have been.

“There’s always that inkling of wishing I had done more but I feel like no matter what, no-one is ever going to be 100% satisfied.

“I have definitely had an up-and-down career, but I’m

extremely proud for the resiliency that I’ve shown.”

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Reporting by Andrew Both
Editing by Toby Davis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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