Since she was a teenager, Michelle Wei West’s name has been among the biggest names in women’s golf.
She burst onto the scene when she was 10 years old, becoming the youngest ever to qualify for the U.S. Amateur Public Links. She made the cut in the US Women’s Open at the age of 13, then became the youngest woman to make the cut in an LPGA event. Her game was so explosive and spectacular that she tried it out on the PGA Tour, missing the cut by one stroke at the Sony Open at the age of 14.
Her career never quite lived up to the massive hype she built during her teenage years, but she remains a household name in the sport.
Wie West’s career hasn’t been marked by as many awards as many expected, but she still manages to call herself a major champion. At the 2014 US Women’s Open, she had the biggest win of her career as she captured the national title at No. 2 Pinehurst.
The win came with a lot of drama. Although Wie West led by three shots early in the final round, her culmination turned into a dogfight near the end of the round.
Still holding on to a three-shot lead at the 16th hole, Wie West fired her second putt at par 5 into the original area lining the fairway. After a lengthy search, she was able to locate the ball, but had to take an unplayable lie. After hitting the putting green and past the hole, she faced a seven-foot runner for double bogey.
“This was a pivotal moment in my career,” said Wie West on a golf, mostly podcast. “I can feel Stacy Lewis on the driving range. I can feel her walking.”
Wie West, a self-proclaimed overthinker, had all the possible outcomes in her mind. After a life long career of working toward a major championship, her fate rested in her hands as she hit a seven-foot size.
“It was a pivotal moment, because I got to talking to myself,” she said. “I was like, ‘Hey, you can either be nervous and give yourself a 60 percent chance of that happening. You missed it, how bad would you feel? You didn’t give it your all. You didn’t believe in yourself 100%. Well, scenario two, I can give it 100 percent and not even think about the negativity that could happen. [If] I miss the knockout, I’ll feel so much better about it.”
Positive self-talk seems to have worked. Wie West poured her putt into the center of the cup, holed the next hole and enjoyed a walk to the 18th as she put the finishing touches on her first major title.
“I didn’t care about the outcome at that point,” Wee West said. “I knew 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.