Wie inspired to play through the pain

Michelle Wie, cousins Celeste and Eugenie Bouchard taking a wefie during Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on June 10. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Michelle Wie, cousins Celeste and Eugenie Bouchard taking a wefie during Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on June 10. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MINNEAPOLIS • Golfer Michelle Wie returns from injury at today's Women's PGA Championship in Minnesota, inspired she said by a close-up look at the National Basketball Association Finals.

The former child prodigy had a courtside seat alongside her close friend, Canadian tennis player Eugenie Bouchard, during Game 5 of the series between the Golden State Warriors and the ultimately victorious Toronto Raptors, from where she saw how much of a contact sport basketball can be.

"You just see a lot, and when you're there behind the scenes, you really notice a lot of small things," said Wie, who is engaged to Jonnie West, the director of basketball operations for the deposed NBA champions Warriors and the son of league great Jerry.

"Steph (Curry) dislocated his finger and came back, and taped his hand. You saw the picture of the finger going out in different directions, and him coming back, and fighting through and putting up all those shots.

"You also notice that being an athlete, you're never going to be a 100 per cent, always going to go through something and it was a confirmation to me, it's OK that you're hurt... you just have to go through it and find a way to compete."

And compete she will at the third women's Major of the year at Hazeltine, where the 29-year-old makes her return after a two-month break to recover from a trapped nerve in her right hand and wrist.

The 56th-ranked American admitted she was disappointed after being forced to skip the US Women's Open, the only Major she won in 2014, three weeks ago.

Wie added: "I'm just doing everything I can to get the inflammation down. Also working on different bio-mechanics and trying to make my swing more sound, and trying to use different parts of my body so that it takes a load off of the hands.

"I started hitting balls last week. Unfortunately, these Majors are all really close together. I'm running on a schedule that's not ideal."

Wie has had a myriad of injuries during her decade as a professional, with her wrist issue just the latest setback to a career that has not quite reached the heights many expected.

But she is still "very proud of everything that I've accomplished".

She said: "I've accomplished two of my biggest dreams, graduated from Stanford (University) and won the US Open. I'm very grateful I was able to do that, (but there is) still so much more I want to accomplish."

REUTERS


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2019, with the headline 'Wie inspired to play through the pain'. Print Edition | Subscribe