Throughout Michelle Wie West's career, she experienced the highs and lows of stardom.
The former world No. 1, who gave birth in 2020, announced in June that she would be stepping away from the LPGA at 32 years old. The only other event she is planning to play is the 2023 U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach.
After winning the 2014 U.S. Women's Open, Wie West battled wrist injuries, causing her to play periodically or halt competing completely for long periods.
During those difficult times, Wie West felt she couldn't open up about her struggles because a champion in society is expected to do whatever it takes to win.
"I felt like when I started, mental health wasn’t really talked about," Wie West said on this week’s episode of Nike’s No Off-Season podcast. "What was talked about was having a champion mindset, being strong, being a warrior. That included never breaking. That included never resting. That included laser-focus. So in my mind, seeing that, I felt like to be a champion golfer, I had to have that mindset. I had to have that mindset that never broke, never complained."
Wie West later added: "I remember not telling the media really honest answers about my injuries, kind of hiding it, just because I didn’t want to feel weak. And later on in my career, when I was going through more injuries, just being honest about it. You know, being like, this hurts. I don’t know how much longer I’m going to play. It was kind of freeing because I felt like I didn’t have to put up a front during my hardest times."
In recent years, more star athletes have opened up about their mental health struggles. Naomi Osaka, Simone Biles, Michael Phelps, Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan are a few.
Wie West is happy to see that things are changing since her playing days.
"I'm really glad that athletes now are really stepping out and showing that you can be a champion but also admit that you’re fragile and you’re not perfect," she said.