Michelle Wie West going to Solheim Cup as assistant captain


FILE – In this Aug. 20, 2017, file photo, United States’ Michelle Wie looks down the fairway on the first hole during her singles match against Europe’s Caroline Masson, of Germany, at the Solheim Cup golf matches in West Des Moines, Iowa. Now a new mother, Wie was appointed assistant captain for next year’s Solheim Cup. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

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Already a new mom, Michelle Wie West now has another new job. She was appointed Thursday to be one of Pat Hurst’s assistant captains for the Solheim Cup next year in Ohio.

“Just ecstatic,” Wie West said.

She married Golden State Warriors executive Jonnie West — son of NBA great Jerry West — nearly a year ago. They had their first child, a daughter named Makenna, last month.

The 30-year-old from Hawaii is young for this kind of role in golf, although hardly anything Wie West has done in her career would be classified as the norm.

A USGA champion at age 13 and a U.S. Women’s Open winner at Pinehurst No. 2 a decade later, Wie West has been among the biggest stars in women’s golf from competing on the PGA Tour as a teenager and turning pro before her 16th birthday. The last of her five LPGA Tour victories was more than two years ago, and she hasn’t played much since because of numerous injuries.

Asked about playing at Inverness Club for the Sept. 4-6 matches next year, Wie West said that would depend on Hurst and how much Wie West was even playing. Her last appearance was at the Women’s PGA at Hazeltine a year ago.

“I definitely want to compete again,” Wie West said. “That’s so far down the road. It’s not predictable at all. But I told Pat that I’m totally leaving it up to her. It’s her decision. And if she wants me to play, I’ll play. If she doesn’t want me to play and only be an assistant, I’m fine either way.”

She says she has been taking her daughter to the range to hit a few balls and recently played 18 holes. Wie West has said she wants to play again so her daughter can see her as an athlete.

Juli Inkster was U.S. captain the last three times, and her bid for a third straight victory ended at Gleneagles in Scotland in 2019 when Suzann Pettersen — a new mother who agreed to give up her assistant’s role to play — made the winning putt.

Hurst was selected the next captain, and it didn’t take long to hear from Wie West.

“Michelle called me early on and said, ‘If you haven’t picked your assistants, can you please consider me?'” Hurst said. “I know what she’s like. I know she’s very patriotic, loves the red, white and blue just like I do, and her intensity is there. All the players love her. They respect her, and what’s what I need.”

Hurst was an assistant the last three times and twice was in charge of small groups that included Wie West, who referred to her as the “pod mom.”

Wie West made her Solheim Cup debut in 2009 as a captain’s pick and led the American team in points, going 3-0-1 at Rich Harvest Farms in the Chicago suburbs as the U.S. won. She played five times, three of them winning teams, and finished with a 8-9-1 record.

Hurst previously named Angela Stanford an assistant. Stanford, 42, is a veteran of six Solheim Cups.

“I think being on the younger side for being an assistant captain and still playing a lot, I’m hoping that I can relate to the players,” Wie West said. “Because I’ve experienced it all … playing well in a Solheim, playing bad in a Solheim, feeling very comfortable and confident going into a Solheim to feeling very uncomfortable going to a Solheim.

“I think I’ve experienced a lot of it, so whatever our players are going to be experiencing, hopefully I can guide them and use my experiences to help them.”

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