Michelle Wie’s health struggles continued this week as she posted on social media that she will be taking more time away from professional golf in the hopes that she can return when she is fully healthy and pain-free.
Wie had surgery on her right hand in October 2018 to treat an avulsion fracture, bone spurs and nerve entrapment in her right hand. After making a handful of starts with middling results, Wie has been once again put on the shelf.
“Had an encouraging visit with my doctor, however, we both think it’s in my best interest to take some time away to allow my body to heal properly and get stronger,” Wie wrote on Instagram on Tuesday. “Health is my top priority right now and hopefully I can get back to being pain-free real soon. Thank you everyone for staying patient with me. I appreciate y’all.”
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Had an encouraging visit with my doctor, however we both think it’s in my best interest to take some time away to allow my body to heal properly and get stronger. Health is my top priority right now and hopefully I can get back to being pain free real soon. Thank you everyone for staying patient with me. I appreciate y’all ❤️
Wie returned to the LPGA Tour four months after her surgery, but in her second event back — a title defense of the HSBC Women’s World Championship — she was forced to withdraw due to lingering pain in her surgically repaired hand.
Wie returned to the course a few weeks later, but after a missed cut at the first major championship of the year as well as another setback at last week’s LOTTE Championship, she has decided to take some time off.
Despite vowing to allow her body to heal properly, her coach, David Leadbetter says she already has a return date in sight, although he’s advising against it.
“She’s more than just a student to me,” Leadbetter told GolfChannel.com. “She’s almost like a daughter, I’ve known her so long. You hate to see this. It’s tough to watch. This is pretty serious. Your hands are everything, and you don’t want this to become career ending.
“I’m trying to talk her out of (playing in the U.S. Women’s Open in five weeks.) Who knows how the U.S. Women’s Open will be set up, but you would think there is going to be thick rough. I’ve been advising her to take as much time off as she needs and get this right, because there’s no point in coming back and reinjuring it, where you could be right back at square one.”
Leadbetter revealed that Wie saw a hand specialist in Los Angeles on Monday who had previously worked with her, and the doctor advised her to take a month off without touching a golf club.
Her longtime coach is thinking about her future, telling GolfChannel.com that when Wie is able to return to competitive golf, he will advocate for some tweaks to her swing that will alleviate the stress her current move puts on her body.
“The only way Michelle is going to be successful going forward is if she’s reasonably injury-free,” Leadbetter said. “So, I think that’s going to be a case of A, pacing herself and managing her game, and B, creating a technique that doesn’t put so much stress on her body.
“That’s something we talk about. You look at the swing she won the U.S. Women’s Open with [in 2014], there was a very conscious effort to set the wrists and hold the angle. If you’ve got weak wrists, susceptible to injury, that’s not the way to go. I think she has to look at a couple different options if she’s going to play going forward.”