Since she was a pre-teen, Michelle Wie West’s name has been among the biggest in women’s golf.
She burst onto the scene at the age of 10 as she became the youngest ever to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links. She made the cut at the U.S. Women’s Open at the age of 13, and then became the youngest woman to make the cut in an LPGA event. Her game was so explosive and awe-inspiring that she even teed it up on the PGA Tour, missing the cut by a single stroke at the Sony Open at the age of 14.
Her professional career never quite lived up to the colossal hype she’d built up during her teenage years, but she still remains a household name in the sport.
Wie West’s career didn’t feature quite as many trophies as many predicted, but she’s still able to call herself a major champion. At the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open, she broke through for the biggest win of her career as she took the national title at Pinehurst No. 2.
The win came with plenty of drama. Although Wie West held a three-shot lead early in the final round, her coronation turned into a dogfight near the end of the round.
Still clinging to a three-shot lead on the 16th hole, Wie West hit her second shot into the par-5 into the native area lining the fairway. After a lengthy search, she was able to locate the ball, but had to take an unplayable lie. After a pitch onto the green and lag putt past the hole, she faced a seven-foot comebacker for double bogey.
“This was a pivotal moment in my career,” Wie West said on the Golf, Mostly podcast. “I can feel Stacy Lewis on the driving range. I can feel her walking out.”
Wie West, a self-proclaimed over-thinker, had all the possible outcomes racing through her mind. After a lifetime of work toward a major championship, her fate rested in her hands as she sized up a seven-foot putt.
“It was a pivotal moment, because I talked to myself,” she said. “I was like, ‘Hey, you can either be nervous and give yourself a 60 percent chance of this going in. You miss it, how bad are you going to feel? You didn’t give it your all. You didn’t believe in yourself 100 percent. Ok, second scenario, I can give it 100 percent and not even think about the negative that can happen. [If] I miss the putt, I will feel so much better about it.’”
The positive self-talk seemed to work. Wie West poured her putt in the center of the cup, birdied the next hole and enjoyed the walk up 18 as she put the finishing touches on her first major title.
“I just didn’t care about the result at that point,” Wie West said. “I knew that I would feel better if I gave it 100 percent. So I think that was a pivotal moment for me.”
You can listen to the entire podcast here.