After nearly two decades in the spotlight, Michelle Wie West has become one of the most notable personalities in women’s golf.
Now 32 years old and a mother to Makenna, her two-year-old daughter, Wie West announced in June that she’ll be stepping away from the LPGA Tour.
Luckily for fans of the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open champion, Wie West is staying active in the golf space through her involvement as an investor in companies like LA Golf, Sportsbox AI and Tonal.
In recent years, Wie West has also become a vocal advocate for the importance of mental health, especially in women’s athletics.
On this week’s episode of Nike’s No Off-Season podcast, Wie West told the host, Dr. Shairi Turner, about the struggles she faced during her competitive days.
“I felt like when I started, mental health wasn’t really talked about,” Wie West said. “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.”
That mentality was especially apparent when Wie West was forced to confront injuries. She said that she believed that acknowledging the pain and difficulty would mean she wasn’t a champion golfer anymore.
“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,” she said. “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.”
Wie West said she appreciates the greater transparency athletes can enjoy now when it comes to their mental health.
“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,” Wie West said.
For more from Wie West, including the tools she utilizes to minimize her anxiety, check out the full podcast episode below.