It didn’t quite end the way Michelle Wie West wanted, but that didn’t stop her from acknowledging a group of fans.
She failed to qualify for the closing rounds of the US Women’s Open in Southern Pines, North Carolina. She missed the cut ending Friday five over par and well off the leader board.
As she walked toward the 18th fairway, she paused to spend some time with a family who had come specifically to watch her play- a mom, dad and 23-year-old daughter.
“My daughter’s disabled,” Michael Rheaume said to the News Observer. “She loves golf and has always liked Michelle Wie, so we kind of gravitate towards her.”
Wie West knelt down to the daughter in a wheelchair and handed her the ball, the same one she had just played 17 with. She wrote the girl’s name on the ball along with a heart emoji.
The stunned family then watch Wie West move on to 18 as they each took turns admiring the ball.
“That’s why we love that lady,” said Michael Rheaume.
“We came here to follow her because we know this could be her last U.S. Open in the area,” he said, “and we wanted to at least cheer her on.”
“I really like the ball she gave me,” said her daughter McKenna.
The tournament marked the end of Wie West’ full time playing career. She plans only to play in one more tournament-the US Women’s Open the following year. After that, she has no definitive plans to play.
Wie West, however, has not ruled anything out.
“Today started off on a great high. I did Wordle for the first time and guessed the word on the second try,” said Wie West to LPGA.com. “I thought I was undefeatable after today, and then it was a gradual decline after that.”
She plans to devote her time to her daughter and dive into projects she has not had time to work on.
“It’s definitely a bittersweet week. I wish I would have ended on making the cut and all of that. Obviously, no matter what, missing the cut sucks, but overall, I had a very positive experience,” she said to Sports Grind Entertainment.
She played professionally for 16 years and won five times-her biggest victory being the 2014 U.S. Open in Pinehurst.
“I would say I have zero regrets in my career,” Wie West said to ABC. “There’s always that inkling of wishing I had done more. But I feel like no matter what, no one’s ever going to be 100 percent satisfied. And I’ve definitely had an up-and-down career. But I’m extremely proud of the resiliency I’ve shown.”
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