Michelle Wie West keeping busy with video series, LPGA host
LOS ANGELES (AP) — To ask Michelle Wie West what she is up to these days is not likely to yield a short answer.
When she is not chasing around 2-year-old daughter McKenna or learning to grow vegetables in her garden, the former U.S. Women’s Open champion is keeping a steady presence in business and in golf, and they don’t always intersect.
Her latest venture is a project with corporate partner PitchBook and Front Office Sports. It’s called “Driven with Michelle Wie West,” a series of 12-minute videos in which she interviews athletes about their drive and how they choose to invest.
Her guests so far have featured two-time WNBA All-Star Chiney Ogwumike (they were at Stanford together) and beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings.
“A lot of them I knew personally,” Wie West said. “It’s a chance to learn about their journey. We’ve known these women and we know what they can do. This is more about the investment side.”
The first season was filmed in one day.
“A lot of wardrobe changes, a lot of research,” she said. “It was really fun, really organic.”
Wie West remains best known for close calls in LPGA majors when she was in high school, missing the cut by one shot on the PGA Tour at age 14, and her five LPGA victories that include the Women’s Open at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2014.
She also split time as an LPGA Tour player and a college student, and those years at Stanford inspired her.
“It was an interesting in Silicon Valley,” said Wie West, who graduated with a communications degree in 2012. “One of our classmates started Snapchat. It was an amazing place where cool ideas were coming out, and you were inspired to do the same.”
She is mostly retired from competition, though she plans to play the U.S. Women’s Open one last time when it goes to Pebble Beach this summer for the first time.
Wie West also is tournament host of the Mizuho Americas Open, a new LPGA Tour event in which 24 female juniors will compete in their own American Junior Golf Association event while playing alongside a 120-player LPGA field.
Most telling is the venue, Liberty National across the Hudson River from New York City, a course that prefers to host only special events. It has held a FedEx Cup postseason event and a Presidents Cup.
Wie West, who married Golden State Warriors basketball executive Jonnie West (son of Jerry West) in 2019, still has a sponsorship with Nike and said she travels to Nike headquarters in Oregon to take part in a think tank with other women to talk about issues and initiatives.
She also joined the Royal & Ancient to be an ambassador in trying to broaden the game’s appeal.
“I am strangely busy,” she said with a laugh.