HARRISON, N.Y. – Michelle Wie limped out of the scoring area Friday at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship after a closing birdie helped to soothe her ailing left hip.
Wie birdied two of the last four holes in a rally that looked like it would assure she makes the cut and gets to play the weekend. She shot a 1-under-par 72, leaving her at 147, which was right on the cut number with the afternoon wave out.
Wie, 25, has been playing this week with a significantly narrowed stance designed to relieve the strain she puts on her left hip, which is riddled with bursitis. It’s causing pain through her entire left leg. She has support tape on her left thigh and behind her left knee and is also wearing an ankle brace. She said the new swing isn’t a temporary fix. It’s a long-term change she and coach David Leadbetter have been working on to reduce some of the torque that puts so much strain on her body.
Doctors told Wie the inflammation she’s experiencing could’ve been worse.
“They said I was on the way to a tear,” Wie said. “I made a lot of swing changes. Not as limber as what I used to be is what everyone is telling me.”
Wie’s stance with a driver is almost half as wide as it used to be.
“It a complete overhaul, but it is kind of what I had to do,” she said. “This was definitely a warning sign for my body.”
Wie said she’s also trying to stop her wraparound finish with her driver because of the strain that creates, but sometimes she can’t hold back.
“Swing changes are always tough, especially the week of major, but it’s starting to feel really comfortable,” Wie said.
With all the steep inclines at Westchester Country Club, Wie has struggled up some hills.
“There are moments where it feels great,” Wie said. “There are moments where I want to cut it off.”
Wie withdrew after the first round of the Kingsmill Championship a month ago with pain in her hip. She played through the pain and missed the cut at the ShopRite Classic two weeks ago and then withdrew from last week’s Manulife Classic before the event began. Wie and Leadbetter have been at work on the swing changes for a couple weeks now, but Wie confessed they are changes Leadbetter has been trying to get her to make for a long time.
“Ever since I was like 13, he's been trying to get me to narrow my stance,” Wie said. “I guess I must be the most stubborn person in the entire world ... We were laughing about that and how I never listen to him.”