JOHNS CREEK, Georgia – Michelle Wie West heard a baby chatter on the Atlanta Athletic Club’s Highlands Course on the 18th and felt herself tear apart.
“I thought to myself, pull yourself together,” she said with a laugh.
This week marks the first time Wie West competes outside the state of California in 2021, let alone the other side of the country. Daughter Makenna is pampered by her grandparents, while Wie West starts her sixth season at the KPMG Women’s PGA.
“The guilt is real,” she said. “You go out there and how am I really supposed to be that far away from her here?” You just have to fight your way through and know that she is having fun and all. “
After Wie West opened at KPMG with a 5 over 77, her husband Jonnie gave a brief cheer.
“He told me to get my head out of my ass, I did,” Wie said, calling him her sports psychologist. “I played, got my head out of my ass, and played a little golf today.”
Photos: KPMG Women’s PGA Championship 2021 at the Atlanta Athletic Club
Like West, used four birdies on the first seven holes to try to turn things around. Her 3 under 69 is her low round for the season, and 3 over she is currently at a percentage of 56.
“It was the first time in a long time that I felt like every hole looked like a birdie hole to me,” she said.
Wie West made her first cut of the year two weeks ago at the LPGA Mediheal Championship, which was played on her new home course at Lake Merced. She said it took some time to get used to the fact that her ball flew 15 meters further in warm conditions.
It was two years ago at that event when Wie West didn’t know how much longer she could play the game. She hobbled around Hazeltine with ice packs and opened with an 84, which was her highest round as a professional. In one rare display of sentiment, Wie West collapsed after the round in front of a small group of reporters.
Like West managed to shoot 82 in the second round, then announced that she would take the rest of 2019 off to heal her right hand and wrists. She got married, had a baby, and came back to the tour in March.
A cut at the Atlanta Athletic Club would be her first weekend at a major since the KPMG Women’s PGA 2018 when she finished 28th.
“It’s pretty crazy to think of Hazeltine and where I have been and where I am now,” she said. “I’m just eternally grateful that I have the chance to come back.”