Home Golf At Pebble Seashore, golf is saying goodbye to 1 star, howdy to a different

At Pebble Seashore, golf is saying goodbye to 1 star, howdy to a different

At Pebble Seashore, golf is saying goodbye to 1 star, howdy to a different


This week is Michelle Wie West’s ultimate U.S. Ladies’s Open. It is also Rose Zhang’s first U.S. Ladies’s Open as a professional.


PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — The primary two slots on the U.S. Ladies’s Open press convention docket on Tuesday had been two of the most important names within the discipline: Michelle Wie West and Rose Zhang.

Wie West’s identify has lengthy been one of many weightiest within the recreation. Ever since her early teenagers, she’s been within the highlight. She gained a USGA championship, performed a number of PGA Tour occasions and have become the primary girl to qualify for a USGA males’s championship — all earlier than she may legally drive. By the point she turned 16, she was prepared to show professional.

In a recreation determined for a brand new star within the girls’s recreation, Wie West was the chosen one.

Almost 20 years later, Zhang’s identify is held in the same regard. She dominated in junior golf, successful the U.S. Ladies’s Beginner and U.S. Women Junior (in that order, extremely), after which continued her success on the collegiate ranks. She gained 12 instances at Stanford — together with back-to-back NCAA particular person titles — and added a victory on the Augusta Nationwide Ladies’s Beginner. She turned professional at a barely older age than Wie West, ready till she turned 20, after which promptly gained in her first begin.

In a recreation as soon as once more trying to find a transcendent star, Zhang appears destined to fill that function.

This week at Pebble Seashore, the 2 stars’ paths meet. For Wie West, it’s the tip of the highway. For Zhang, it’s the start.

Michelle Wie West, Rose Zhang and Marina Alex pose for a photograph on the famed seventh gap at Pebble Seashore.


Wie West was supposed to be the subsequent dominant star within the girls’s recreation, however it didn’t precisely pan out that method. She gained simply 5 instances on the LPGA Tour — together with a significant title on the 2014 U.S. Ladies’s Open — by no means fairly residing as much as the outsized expectations positioned on her from a younger age. Golf is a fickle recreation, even for essentially the most proficient stars.

After scuffling with accidents for a lot of her prime, Wie West introduced final summer time that this 12 months’s U.S. Ladies’s Open could be her ultimate match.

“It was bittersweet to announce that,” Wie West mentioned. “[But] it’s been an incredible journey, and I’m very excited for what occurs subsequent.”

Zhang, very like Wie West, is supposed to be the subsequent dominant star within the girls’s recreation. Her beginner document speaks for itself, and in simply two professional begins, she’s already residing as much as the hype, with a win and one other top-10 end to her credit score. She’s already performed in two U.S. Ladies’s Opens as an beginner, however this week will mark her first begin within the championship as a professional.

“I actually felt that my recreation was prepared for the subsequent degree,” Zhang mentioned. “So right here I’m.”

It’s arduous to argue primarily based on her dash out of the gates. However at this degree, there aren’t any ensures.

Michelle Wie West and Rose Zhang play a observe spherical forward of the U.S. Ladies’s Open.


Zhang and Wie West share a administration firm, so there’s a lot overlap between them. Zhang gained Wie West’s match, the Mizuho Americas Open, in her first begin. And with every having attended Stanford, it’s an ideal recipe for a mentor-mentee relationship.

When Zhang took the rostrum at Pebble Seashore Tuesday morning, Wie West was only a few hundred yards away on Golf Channel’s “Stay From” set. As they talked to the media, every spoke glowingly of the opposite.

“She’s unbelievable,” Zhang mentioned. “That is her final stretch, however I’m actually honored to have the ability to simply be part of it.” Mentioned Wie West: “She’s actually completed all of it on her personal. I actually hope that I is usually a sounding board for her.”

As Zhang stepped out of the interview space behind Pebble’s 18th inexperienced, Wie West was there to greet her. The 2 shared a fast hug as Wie West headed to her press convention and Zhang was whisked away to her subsequent media obligation.

A few hours later, they met on the first tee for a observe spherical. Though Zhang holds the ladies’s course document at Pebble Seashore, there was nonetheless a lot to be taught from Wie West.

“It’s been good that Rose has undoubtedly requested me questions,” Wie West mentioned. “She’s requested me to in a while assist her together with her match schedule and with like faculty schedule and match that up. I simply wish to be a sounding board for her.”

As Zhang and Wie West performed their observe spherical, alongside Marina Alex, their entourage swelled. Brokers, gear reps, media and relations dotted the gallery. Wie West’s husband, Jonnie West, was on the bag, as their daughter, Makenna, squealed with glee as she watched the seals on the seashores under. By their fourth gap, they’d attracted the biggest crowd on the course.

Wie West was fast to supply recommendation when referred to as upon, and Zhang even shared a few of her personal — her favourite spot in Carmel for clam chowder.

“I’m super-excited for what she’s doing to come back, as a result of she has quite a lot of huge issues forward of her,” Zhang mentioned. “[And] not simply from golf. That conjures up me.”

When the three gamers reached the seventh tee, a photo-op was so as. Wie West and Zhang posed on the elevated tee field, together with Alex, as dozens gathered round and snapped footage.

With Wie West stepping away, rounds like these will quickly be a factor of the previous.

Thankfully for golf, there’s one other star able to take her place.

Zephyr Melton

Golf.com Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com the place he spends his days running a blog, producing and modifying. Previous to becoming a member of the group at GOLF, he attended the College of Texas adopted by stops with the Texas Golf Affiliation, Workforce USA, the Inexperienced Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all issues instruction and covers beginner and ladies’s golf. He may be reached at zephyr_melton@golf.com.



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