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Michelle Wie West Was Ready to Retire From Golf — Until She Became a Mother

Paul Ellis – AFP – Getty

Eighteen months ago, Michelle Wie West stepped away from professional golf when severe pain from her latest injury left little to no enjoyment for her out on the course. Turning her focus to joyful events in her personal life, she got married a few months later (to partner Jonnie West), and then the duo became a trio when their daughter Makenna arrived this past June.

In a recent conversation with Kelley O’Hara on the Just Women’s Sports podcast, Wie West revealed she had always planned to retire from professional golf once she started a family. While there are countless surprises for new mothers in their first year of raising a small human, one that is often confounding is how you’ll feel about your career and your level of desire to return to it. One surprise for Wie West has been a newly re-lit competitive fire. (And we hope it’s not the lack of sleep or breastfeeding endorphins talking.)

By far the toughest moments of Wie West’s career have been the onslaught of injuries she’s had to overcome. She’s dealt with neck, back, hip, knee and ankle issues over the years, but the real demon has been the ongoing problems with her wrist resulting from a fracture that never healed correctly back when she was seventeen. It was intrusive pain from this thirteen year-old wrist issue that left her in tears after her last attempt to return to form in a June 2019 tournament.

It’s no wonder Wie West always felt like her body was against her.

“I just got to the point where I expected it, I expected the worst from my body,” she tells O’Hara. But the experience of pregnancy and new motherhood completely changed her relationship with her body. Creating a whole new human being and bringing it into the world left her in awe of what she was physically capable of. Instead of an adversary in the way of her athletic goals, she began to see it with an entirely new perspective.

“It definitely taught me to be a lot more forgiving of my body,” she explains to O’Hara, “I have so much more respect for my body now.”

An even bigger spark in relighting her competitive drive came when Wie West found out she was having a girl. As a youngster, Wie West learned about toughness and perseverance from her own mother. Her mom, Bo Wie, had been a serious golfer, dancer, and pageant contestant for many years.

“My mom had a very competitive side to her too and I really looked up to her for that,” she tells O’Hara. “She would tell me stories about how many blisters she got on her feet from training all day long and I kind of saw that as a badge of honor. I was like, ‘That’s so cool. I should be doing that.’”

This early impression of what it means to be a strong woman, combined with a 5’7” and 165 lb physique at age 10, resulted in Wie West confidently competing in a variety of youth sports even when she was the only girl. Her enjoyment at bridging the athletic gender gap was evident later on during the numerous times she accepted invites to play in PGA tournaments, starting when she was just 14 years old.

Now with a daughter of her own she’s realized she’s not quite done transforming the public perception of what sportswomen are capable of.

“The moment I found out that my baby was a girl really changed my perspective on the world and how I want to leave the world for her,” she tells O’Hara. “I want to lead by example, and that’s the driving force now to get back.”

The final piece of kindling fueling this comeback fire is the joy Wie West has experienced out on the course with her new family of three. As a kid, her favorite thing to do was spend the weekends golfing all day with her parents. Now, golfing with her new husband and their even newer baby girl is helping her reconnect with the reason she fell in love with the sport in the first place.

“It’s definitely brought that childhood joy back,” she tells O’Hara with a smile in her voice. “Having that inspiration, I think it drives you in a very different way.”

Consider it another chapter in Wie West’s ongoing story. First the child prodigy, she’s now the resurgent mother.

Listen to Michelle Wie West’s full conversation with Kelley O’Hara on the Just Women’s Sports podcast here.

Sofia Huerta signs contract extension with Seattle through 2027

(Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports)

Former Oregon soccer players detail instances of verbal abuse from former USWNT assistant

(Chris Pietsch/The Register-Guard via Imagn Content Services)

Members of the Oregon women’s soccer team are saying they received harsh treatment and even verbal abuse from head coach and former USWNT assistant Graeme Abel. 

During the 2023 season, the team had zero wins, and upon its conclusion a total of 12 of the team’s 29 players departed the team. Former players told The Oregonian that Abel would verbally attack them, threaten to kick them off the team and at times would even throw objects.

"When I’d make a mistake at practice, it felt like he made it a job to embarrass you to the point where you just wanted to walk off the field,” one player said. “He’d stop the practice – and I know it’s college soccer, it’s very competitive — but he’d stop practice and just keep going nonstop on this one thing."

In total, the Oregonian spoke with 14 former players – including 12 who agreed to be interviewed in depth. All said that they experienced verbal abuse. Six of the players were among those who transferred following the season. 

One instance of Abel’s tirades included him throwing a water bottle that narrowly missed players’ heads. 

“He kicked all of our staff out of the locker room, kicked a trash can, threw a white board, sat on the trash can and started screaming,” one player recounted. “He wanted us to tell him what we thought went wrong in the game. Me and another player spoke up, and he said, ‘You’re just (expletive) wrong.’ And that if we didn’t want to be in this program, we could all quit, and he’d sign our release paperwork tomorrow.”

While Abel was not made available for an interview, he did say in a statement that “at no point have I used threatening statements or financial repercussions as a part of coaching.”

Instances of emotional distress stemming from Abel’s alleged harsh treatment date back to 2021 – his first full year leading the team following an abbreviated 2020 campaign.

One former player contacted by The Oregonian detailed positive overall experiences, and described his style as “normal coaching.”

Others, like USWNT players Becky Sauerbrunn and Lindsey Horan, did not respond to requests for comment, although Sauerbrunn wrote in 2019 that she had a “great relationship” with Abel. 

Still, multiple players interviewed had similar stories, with one saying that girls would be “crying in the locker room” after practice because of what he would tell players. Attempts to speak with the administration about his behavior, players say, was “discouraging.”

“His office is like the scariest place,” one player said. “You’d have to sit there while he’d belittle you and say all these nasty things, and gaslight you into believing you’re not good enough. ... Our team fell apart because of the environment he created. We were just trying to get through the day. There was no way we could focus on soccer.”

Multiple players said they experienced suicidal ideation while playing at Oregon. In part of his statement, Abel wrote that “at no time do we put our student-athletes in any danger.”

Abel is currently in his fifth and final year of his contract at Oregon.

Gotham FC unveil Championship rings ahead of banner reveal

Gotham FC players celebrate Lynn Williams' goal in the first half of the 2023 NWSL Championship. (Ray Acevedo/USA TODAY Sports)

Gotham FC has unveiled their 2023 NWSL championship rings — and safe to say, they deliver.

The reveal has led to a little bit of trash talk ahead of the team’s matchup with Kansas City this weekend, as both teams have NFL owners. While the Current are co-owned by Patrick and Brittany Mahomes, former Giants quarterback Eli Manning is a co-owner of Gotham. 

On Wednesday, Manning took to Sportscenter to give Mahomes a bit of a hard time.

“He may have one more Super Bowl ring than me, but he does not have a NWSL championship ring like I do,” Manning joked.

“Come Sunday night at Red Bull Arena, April 14th, we’re dropping the banner on Kansas City. We got the ring ceremony, the players get their rings and their championship afterwards. This is it, I’ve got something to talk a little trash to him about because I can’t do it about football anymore, I gotta find something else.”

The appearance came after Manning posted to social media, inviting Mahomes to “come see [the championship ring] up close this Sunday.”

Mahomes responded in kind, writing that “we’ll see y’all Sunday!”

Gotham takes on current league-leaders Kansas City on Sunday at 6pm ET. The game is available on NWSL+.

Oregon State hit by transfer portal again as Raegan Beers departs

ALBANY, NEW YORK - MARCH 31: Raegan Beers #15 of the Oregon State Beavers shoots a free throw during the first half against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the Elite 8 round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament at MVP Arena on March 31, 2024 in Albany, New York. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Oregon State leading scorer and rebounder Raegan Beers announced on Thursday that she is entering the transfer portal. 

"Thank you for all of your endless love and support these past two years," she posted on social media. "I will never forget my time at OSU and I am thankful for the opportunity I had to meet and play with incredible people. My journey as a Beav was a special one and I am grateful for my teammates, coaches, fans, and friends who have changed my life throughout my time here."

A sophomore forward, Beers is a two-time All-Pac-12 selection who averaged 17.5 points per game last season while shooting 66.4 percent from the field. She also added 10.3 rebounds en route to earning third-team All-American honors from the AP. 

She’s the fourth Oregon State starter – and seventh player overall – to hit the portal this offseason. She joins Talia von Oelhoggen and Timea Gardiner in the transfer portal, as well as starting freshman Donovyn Hunter. 

Beers and Gardiner were both top-10 recruits in ESPN rankings coming out of high school. 

With the dissolution of the Pac-12, the program will join the WCC next season and no longer be a part of the Power 5.

Conference realignment is hitting the team hard, with coach Scott Rueck saying during the tournament that he knew it could seriously affect his team moving forward. 

"That's reality," Rueck said. "I can't control that, other than just keep doing what I'm doing. I think the opportunity within that for a leader provides a discipline that you'd better be on your A-game all the time. You'd better take care of people, and you'd better provide a great experience. That's the approach going forward and what happens, happens. We'll find a way."

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