Players express gratitude for Michelle Wie, who steps away from LPGA

Michelle Wie West watches her tee shot on the 11th hole during the final round of the Tournamen ...

LPGA players sent their best wishes and gratitude to Michelle Wie after the former U.S. Women’s Open champion announced she was stepping away from the LPGA on Thursday.

Wie will play the U.S. Women’s Open next week in North Carolina and is saving a spot on the calendar for the 2023 edition at Pebble Beach. Other than that, Wie told Golfweek she is through with competition.

“I actually feel like I’m about to tear up,” Emma Talley said of the news. “She came out here and she really made the LPGA what it is today. I think she’s done so much for the game. I know she will continue to do so much for the game.”

Injuries got the better of Wie’s once promising career, but she leaves the LPGA with five career titles and four appearances on the U.S. Solheim Cup team. She was an assistant captain last year, and seems likely to be in line to lead the team at some point in the future.

“She’s die-hard USA for sure,” Jennifer Kupcho said. “Being on the team with her last year, being an assistant captain, she’s all about it. I think, yeah, she would be a great captain.”

Carlota Ciganda, who had a few Solheim Cup battles with Wie over the years, called her an outstanding role model and a great person.

“I think maybe being a mom changed her perspective in life and goals,” Ciganda said of Wie. “So you just have to respect whatever you feel.”

Overcoming obstacles

Nanna Koerstz Madsen has been one of the hottest golfers on tour this season, getting her first victory in Thailand in March and losing a playoff in the following event in Carlsbad, California. But she arrived in Las Vegas with low expectations, having never seen Shadow Creek before, fighting a cold and having a preference for stroke play over match play.

You’d never know any of that looking at her scorecard Thursday when she won 6 and 5 over Elizabeth Szokol. Koerstz Madsen won seven holes on the front nine to take a 6-up lead at the turn.

It’s the confidence boost she needed as she tries to sneak into the weekend knockout matches.

“I’m just trying to win as many as I can,” she said.

Champion bounces back

Defending champion Ally Ewing rebounded Thursday with a 3-and-2 win over Jasmine Suwannapura, a victory that gives her a mathematical chance of catching Jodi Ewart Shadoff to advance out of her pod to the weekend.

“Match play is just completely up to you controlling what you have in front of you,” Ewing said. “What goes on in the other match is completely out of my control. I did what I could do today, and tomorrow will be a different battle.”

Greg Robertson covers golf for the Review-Journal. He can be reached at grobertson@reviewjournal.com.